April 27, 2918
By NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis opened several days of talks Friday with Chilean sex abuse survivors in what the Vatican said was a climate of “reparation for suffering,” after the pope deeply wounded them by discrediting their claims of abuse cover-up by a bishop.
The three men — Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo — are staying at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel as guests of Francis. Their VIP treatment is evidence of the complete about-face that Francis has made after admitting he made “serious errors of judgment” in the case of Bishop Juan Barros.
Over the coming days, the men are to meet individually and collectively with the pope, though the Vatican said Friday there are no fixed schedules or pre-established agenda items.
In a statement, spokesman Greg Burke said Francis himself asked that the Vatican release no information about the content of the encounters because “his priority is to listen to the victims, ask their forgiveness and respect the confidentiality of these talks.”
“In this climate of confidence and reparation for suffering, Pope Francis’ desire is to let his guests speak for as long as necessary,” Burke said.