Pope to receive more victims of Chile paedophile priest

Vatican City (AFP) –


Pope Francis is to meet with a second group of victims of a notorious Chilean paedophile priest, the Vatican announced Tuesday, as the pontiff bids to make amends for a child abuse scandal that has come to haunt his papacy.

The Vatican said that Francis would hold private meetings with abuse victims, including five priests, at the Vatican from the 1-3 June.

All accuse priest Fernando Karadima of sexual abuse. He was forced into retirement in 2011 after being found guilty by the Holy See of being a serial abuser of minors.

"With this new meeting, Pope Francis wants to show his closeness to the abused priests, to accompany them in their sorrow and to listen to their valuable opinion in order to improve the current preventive measures and the fight against abuses in the Church," a Vatican statement said.

The announcement comes just weeks after the pontiff received three other victims of Karadima at the Vatican.

Earlier this month Francis promised "changes" to the Chilean church to "restore justice" after reading an extensive report on the child abuse.

Several members of the church hierarchy in Chile are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.

On Friday, all of Chile's bishops, summoned to the Vatican by Francis, announced their resignation over the scandal saying they "wanted to ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims".

The pope has yet to announce whether he will accept their resignations.