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Pope meets with Chilean bishop and victims’ advocate over Church sex abuse

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – Pope Francis met in Rome on Friday with a Chilean bishop and a victims’ advocate to discuss the Church sex abuse scandal in Chile and measures being taken to prevent it in the future.

FILE PHOTO -  Pope Francis looks on as he leads the general audience at the Paul VI Hall in Vatican, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi/ MANILA BULLETIN

FILE PHOTO – Pope Francis looks on as he leads the general audience at the Paul VI Hall in Vatican, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi/ MANILA BULLETIN

Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez of San Bernardo and Ana Maria Celis Brunet, president of the Chilean National Council for the Prevention of Abuse and Accompaniment of Victims, met with the pope at the Vatican, it said in a statement.

The scandal has rocked the Church in Chile. In June, the country’s 34 bishops were summoned to Rome by the pope after Vatican investigators produced a 2,300-page report alleging that senior Church officials in Chile had failed to act on abuse claims and in some cases hid them.

Pope Francis has accepted resignations by five of those bishops.

The Vatican said that the pope has been closely following actions being taken by the Church in Chile to address the crisis.

Chilean prosecutor Emiliano Arias said on Thursday that the office of Bishop Santiago Silva, who serves as bishop to the armed services, had been raided as part of investigations into accusations that senior Roman Catholic Church officials covered up claims of sexual abuse by clergymen in Chile.

The raid was one of eight on offices of senior church figures as prosecutors search for evidence of accusations of sexual abuse by clergy not reported to the civilian police, and evidence of cover-ups, according to Arias.

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