The Pope’s 22nd Apostolic Voyage to Chile and Peru came to a close yesterday; the Holy Father left Peru after his last official event, the much-anticipated closing Mass at Las Palmas Air Base.
Over 1.3 million people lined the streets in the city’s blazing hot sun, to partake in the liturgy, many of whom, arrived during the night to participate in the Mass and hear the Pope’s message of hope.
During his homily, the Pope reminded the crowds that, “Jesus continues to walk on our streets in order to awaken and rekindle hope - a hope that frees us from empty associations. "The kingdom of heaven is among you. It is there wherever we strive to show a little tenderness and compassion. God will never tire of setting out to meet his children. Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city -in your city. Rejoice, the Lord is with you!"
It is without a doubt that this past Apostolic visit invoked a wide range of emotions for the people of Chile and Peru. Over the past six days, he touched upon everything that his papacy stood for and stood against. He raised issues such as corruption, consumerism, environmental devastation, organized crime, violence against women, the plight of indigenous peoples and their lands, and of course, the migrant issue.
CNS now has this report which looks back at some of the messages of the Popes visit.
In his final farewell to the country, the Pope told the people to, “discover in the wisdom of their grandparents and their elders, and the DNA that guided their great saints.” “Do not lose your roots and do not to be afraid to be the saints of the 21st century.”
On the flight back to Rome, Pope Francis spoke to journalists and apologized to victims of clergy sex abuse, saying that he unknowingly wounded them by the way he defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse.
The Pope explained that he only realized later, that his words erroneously implied that victims' accusations are credible only with concrete proof. "To hear that the Pope says to their face: Bring me a letter with proof, is a slap in the face," he said.
The Pope was referring to a response he gave in Iquique on Jan. 18th when local reporters asked him about his support for Bishop Juan Barros, given accusations that the bishop may have been aware of abuse perpetrated by another priest.
"The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him", the Pope had told the reporters in Iquique then. He said he meant to use the word "evidence," not "proof." The way he phrased his response, he said, caused confusion and was "not the best word to use to approach a wounded heart."
Among the other comments to the journalists on board, the Pope also said that he really appreciated the statement made by Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, acknowledging the pain survivors of abuse felt, because of the pope's statement about Bishop Barros.
Well, that concludes our summary coverage of the Pope’s 22nd Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru.
That is all that for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.
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