Three brave victims who were abused by a Catholic priest in Chile, met in a private meeting with Pope Francis in Rome. Juan Carlos, James Hamilton Sanchez, and Jose Andres Murillo, spoke for five days with the Holy Father at Casa Santa Marta in Vatican City. The three men strongly urged Pope Francis to take action against the “networks of abuse” that takes place in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis appeared most remorseful as he asked for the men’s forgiveness stating that, “I was part of the problem. I caused this and I apologize.”

The Holy Father admits to have defended Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who victims have accused him for covering up and being an eyewitness to the abuse by pedophile priest, Rev.

Fernando Karadima. Rev. Fernando was found guilty in 2011 of child sex abuse.

With such critical accusations against Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, the Holy Father still appointed him bishop of Osorno in southern Chile in 2015. Pope Francis had clear knowledge of the bishop ties to Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest, but despite the protest among the faithful, Pope Francis still appointed Barros Madrid.

Pope Francis previously stated that the lack of evidence against the bishop was reason to not hold him accountable. The Holy Father stated, “I am also convinced he [Barros Madrid] is innocent.” (New York Times)

Before Wednesday’s meeting, Cruz hoped that the encounter with the pope would result in immediate actions to alter pedophila within the Catholic church.

Pope Francis asks for forgiveness

No pope that came before has ever acknowledged their faults and taking ownership over sexual abuse claims, besides Pope Francis. Admitting that he was apart of the problem by appointing a bishop who had knowledge of the pedophilia scandal. Cruz stated, “I believe he was sincere,” (Guardian) after his meeting with the pope.

Cruz firmly believes that the pope was misinformed about the case involving Bishop Juan Barros.

In January, Francis still defended the bishop in his trip to Chile, calling the accusations a “calumny.” Pope Francis also stated that he has never heard of any ill mentions of Barros, despite receiving a letter from Cruz in 2015, detailing the sins of the bishop.

Cruz does not know when the pope came to acknowledge the truth, but all that matters to him is getting the justice he and the two other brave men deserve. Cruz also warned the pope to beware of those who surround him during the conference. Cruz stated that the pope had been “duped” by those in the church.

Hamilton Sanchez stated that the pope is now very well informed. Hamilton furthered his statement saying that the reason behind the pope’s invitation, is because he wanted to know the truth. “Everyone deserves a second chance,” said Hamilton about the pope. (CNN)

Where does the Catholic Church go from here?

After admitting his wrongdoings, Pope Francis has promised the men to settle the matter. Whether or not that ends in terminating Bishop Barros position, the pope did not elaborate on details explaining what he will do next. Though, the men stated that this meeting will not end in vain.