'I was part of the problem,' Pope quoted telling Chile abuse victims

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"For me, the pope was contrite, he was truly sorry", Cruz said.

In an age when technology is ever-evolving, Catholic news organisations must be willing to adapt to effectively proclaim the Gospel to all, Pope Francis said. But, he said, he named clerics who knew "that Karadima touched and abused minors", and he told Francis about "the toxicity" of Chilean churchmen who had "duped" the pope. But he never faced civilian justice because of the statute of limitations. But he said that the pope was now "really well-informed", and that he was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and wait for change.

While in Chile at the beginning of the year, Francis demanded proof of their allegation that a bishop he appointed to a diocese there, Juan Barros, was aware of their abuse.

James Hamilton, one of three clergy abuse survivors the pope invited to Italy after he discounted some of their assertions, tweeted that his more than two hours of conversation with Francis were "enormously constructive".

In his letter to Chilean bishops last month, Francis said there had been a "lack of truthful and balanced information" about the situation in Chile before he sent the Vatican's most experienced investigator of sexual abuse, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, to investigate.

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Each of the three men met with Pope Francis individually with no time limit over the weekend, and then again as a group on Monday.

"For nearly 10 years we have been treated as enemies because we fight against sexual abuse and cover-up in the church", the three men said in a statement on Wednesday.

The three survivors, who have been outspoken about the Church's handling of abuse cases, welcomed Pope Francis's letter and accepted his invitation to meet so he could ask "forgiveness of all those I have offended". "In this regard, they discussed with Pope Francis the "pathological and unlimited exercise of power" as the cornerstone of such events and told him that that the Church should be an ally and a guide in the fight against abuses and a refuge for victims, 'something that does not happen currently".

Three Chilean abuse survivors who met with Pope Francis said his apology to them must be accompanied by concrete actions, not only against those who commit sexual abuse, but against those who cover it up. They said the pope had been "very attentive, receptive and empathetic" to their concerns and criticisms of the Catholic Church.

During the audiences, the pope also asked the men for their opinion on both "specific and theoretical" aspects of the issue, and asked to stay in touch with them to hear their thoughts and recommendations for the future.