In just 3 days, the Pope will embark on his 22nd Apostolic journey. This time he travels to Chile and Peru where he hopes to bring a message of hope and comfort to people on the margins of society, particularly the indigenous people. However, when he embarks on what will be his fourth visit to South America, he will face the enormous task of restoring trust and encouraging healing, after scandals in both of those countries left many wounded and angry at the Catholic Church. The Pope’s recent foreign trips saw him tackle some of the world’s most difficult geopolitical issues.
In September for example, he traveled to Colombia to show support for an unpopular peace deal with guerilla militants. In November, he went to Myanmar to focus global attention on the government’s persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority.
Now, the on the eve of his trip to Chile and Peru, its speculated that the Pope will shift the focus from politics, to the problems within the church community itself, in an effort to regain the Church’s credibility and to start the healing process.
In Peru, members of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a popular Catholic movement, with members throughout South America, US and Italy, were subjected for many years, to psychological and sexual abuse by its founder, Luis Fernando Figari and group leaders.
Now, less than a week before the pope's visit, the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, named a Colombian bishop to be the trustee of the scandal-plagued movement which has drawn some outrage in Chile.
Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office told reporters earlier today that the Pope's formal schedule for Chile and Peru does not include a meeting with sexual abuse victims or with the people still protesting the appointment of the vatican trustee. “Sexual abuse is clearly an important theme," Burke said, adding adding that, "the best meetings are private meetings."
There will be many of those during this trip. The Pope's formal agenda includes many private meetings with the Bishops of each country and also with his fellows jesuits where it's speculated that he will tackle this issue head on.
Here in Canada, the famous incorrupt relic of St. Francis Xavier is continuing its 14-city cross-country tour making a 1-day stop at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica here in Toronto, tomorrow morning. It will be on display for one day only from 10:30am to 5pm then again from 6:30pm to 10pm, after which it will make its way to St. Francis Church in Mississauga for a day before returning back to toronto for a viewing at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sherbourne St.
There will be a press conference tomorrow with Cardinal Collins where he’ll talk about the significance of the relic and its history. We will be on the ground to cover that and bring you some images next Monday. Now the relic will travel across the country so to check to see if it’ll visit a parish near you, can visit the CCO website listed here.
Finally tonight, Catholic Relief Services, an agency that has been serving the Church since 1943 is now celebrating their 75th anniversary. I leave you tonight with a brief look at this amazing organization, their history, and where they are going in 2018.
That is all that we have time for this week. Join us again on Monday, when I bring you more of the latest news and stories through the Perspectives of a catholic lens. Thanks for joining us.
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