All that changed after the pope received a 2,300 page report on the Chilean situation. In a letter, Pope Francis admitted last month that he had made “grave errors” in the handling of the sexual abuse crisis in Chile, and he publicly apologized.
He also invited Mr. Cruz, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Murillo to stay at the hotel inside Vatican City so that he could speak with them individually, and ask for forgiveness. The three men have been among the most outspoken victims of Father Karadima, who counted bishops and priests among his disciples.
“For almost 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. “These days we met the friendly face of the church, completely different from the one we had seen before,”
Mr. Cruz said he believed Francis had been misinformed about Bishop Barros’ case. “The question is,” he said, “who badly informed the pope?”
Mr. Cruz said he had not pressed the pope on “what he knew and what he didn’t know.” 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.
“We spoke in great detail and pain,” Mr. Cruz said, “and it was very raw. And the pope was receptive.”
While the three men said they had not made specific demands of Francis — “we are not ones to give ultimatums to the pope,” Mr. Cruz said — they were clear that the ball was very much in the pope’s court.