Listening to one another, praying together, summoning the courage to acknowledge the wounds that have caused so much pain and shame. This weekend in the Vatican, Pope Francis takes another step towards healing and reconciliation when he meets privately with a second group of abuse victims from Chile.
They are accompanied by five priests who have been providing spiritual support to victims of abuse committed by some members of the clergy.
The Holy See Press Office released a statement on Saturday detailing the encounter. It said Pope Francis would begin the meetings by celebrating Mass with the priests at the Casa Santa Marta.
"The aim of this meeting convoked by Pope Francis is to examine the situation experienced by a part of the Chilean faithful and clergy. With the help of these five priests, the Pope will endeavour to remedy the internal rupture in the community. In this way it may be possible to begin to reconstruct a healthy relationship between the faithful and their pastors, once everyone has become aware of their own injuries," the statement said.
Acknowledging the pain
Separately, in a letter addressed to all the people of Chile, Pope Francis says the Church cannot go forward “ignoring the pain” of those who have suffered because of this abuse.
The current process of acknowledgement and purification, he writes, is possible “thanks to the effort and perseverance of specific individuals who, contrary to all hope and shame, have never tired of seeking the truth”.
Sustained by prayer
Pope Francis has constantly asked for prayerful support as the Church continues along this painful and difficult journey. He repeated that request during his meeting with the Chilean Bishops in the Vatican last month.
Echoing that appeal, the Permanent Council of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference is urging everyone to "reflect and act” in order to overcome what it calls “the culture of silence and abuse".