Pope meets with survivors of abuse during visit to Chile

Pope Francis reaches out to a baby as he visits a women´s prison in Santiago Chile

Nine churches were attacked in recent days, with three attacked on Monday night, including two in Araucania, an economically disadvantaged region the pope is scheduled to visit on Wednesday. The other fire was at the parish of the Mother of Divine Providence at Puente Alto, on the outskirts of the Chilean capital.

As reporters boarded his plane bound for Chile, Vatican officials handed out a photograph taken in 1945 that shows a young Japanese boy carrying his dead brother on his shoulders following the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki.

Pope Francis smiles at the faithful from the popemobile in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 15, 2018.br /br The pope is visiting Chile from Jan. 15 to 18, where he will celebrate Mass ceremonies in the cities of Santiago, Temuco and Iquique, before heading to Peru from Jan. 18 to 21.

Pope Francis began his visit to Chile Tuesday by pleading for forgiveness for the "irreparable damage" done to children by the church's sex abuse scandal.

The pope, who studied in Chile as part of his Jesuit training, nonetheless gets a low approval rating there and, more generally, the Karadima scandal has been responsible for a big drop in the number of people in the country who identify as Catholic.

"I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again" Francis said, according to AP.

Catholics have been upset with Francis' 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to head the small diocese of Osorno in south-central Chile.

"I wanted to have it reprinted and distributed because an image like this can be more moving than a thousand words".

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They left a note at one site warning the Pope Francis "the next bomb will be in your robe", according to Latin American broadcaster Telesur.

Karadima has denied the allegations and Barros said he was unaware of any wrongdoing. Protesters carried signs with messages reading "Burn, pope!" and "We don't care about the pope!" "It is surprising that the pope and his entourage don't understand that they need to be more forthcoming on this issue".

Other groups also called for demonstrations against the pontiff.

"I think it won't be an easy trip, but it will truly be a passionate one", Parolin said.

Chileans' disenchantment has even affected their views of the pope himself.

Francis made his comments during a visit to President Michelle Bachelet's official Moneda Palace residence, drawing applause from pilgrims watching on giant screens in a Santiago park where he later celebrated an open-air mass for some 400,000 people.

The pope will try to inject new energy into the church during his visit, which includes sessions with migrants, members of Chile's Mapuche indigenous group and victims of the 1973-1990 military dictatorship.

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