Pope Francis arrived in Santiago Monday night time and can maintain a carefully watched assembly with members of Chile’s under-fire clergy and a Church beset by intercourse abuse scandals.
The pope was acquired by leftist President Michelle Bachelet — an agnostic who has confronted down conservative opposition, together with from the Church, to spearhead social reform.
Bachelet’s socialist authorities has ushered in recognition of same-sex civil unions, decriminalized abortion and launched a invoice on same-sex marriage.
Bachelet, who will meet Francis on Tuesday, has referred to as on Chileans to welcome the pope, although a constructive reception will not be common.
The once-dominant Catholic Church has seen its affect decline, by no means extra so than now, within the aftermath of a wave of sexual abuse scandals involving clergymen.
After his arrival in Santiago, the 81-year-old pontiff moved together with his delegation to the parish of San Luis Beltran to pay homage to the “Bishop of the Poor” determine.
He then boarded the “Popemobile” for the drive to the Vatican property the place he’ll spend three nights whereas in Chile.
The religious spotlight of Francis’s go to will happen Tuesday — a large open-air mass for some 400,000 pilgrims on the metropolis’s O’Higgins Park.
Several teams protested close to Argentina’s embassy over the price of the journey, together with a bunch of people that climbed onto a crane, an incident that led to 5 arrests.
Other demonstrations towards intercourse abuse within the Church and from members of the homosexual neighborhood had been anticipated, amid heightened safety.
In an indication of rising exasperation at Church inaction, activists from a number of international locations assembly in Santiago on Monday launched a brand new international group, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA).
The group “seeks to stop child sexual abuse by the clergy,” stated one in every of its founders, Jose Andres Murillo.
The physique goals to kind a bunch of prosecutors “to bring to court these crimes against humanity,” stated Sara Oviedo, former vice-president of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
It additionally plans to arrange a world database of kid abuse instances and current it to the United Nations.
“In Chile there are bishops who have been involved in cover-ups and who should be in jail,” stated Juan Carlos Cruz, a member of the group.
“Specifically here in Chile we are asking the pope for action — not forgiveness.”
US-based monitoring group BishopAccountability.org stated forward of the go to that just about 80 Roman Catholic clergy members had been accused of sexually abusing kids in Chile since 2000.
The group, which cited court docket and media data, stated the checklist represented “a fraction of the total number of accused clerics who would be known if Chile’s church leaders were required to report to law enforcement.”
Victims of paedophile clergymen have campaigned for higher openness from the Church in coping with offending clergymen, and Francis himself has declared a “zero tolerance” coverage in direction of those that prey on kids, one thing he’s prone to reiterate in his speech to the clergy on Tuesday.
Read extra: AFP