AP PHOTOS: Pope draws crowd to Chile Mass, also protests

January 16, 2018

Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the San Luis Beltran church on his way to the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. Francis flew in to Chile’s capital Monday night for a visit expected to be met with protests over sexual abuse by priests and confronted by many Chileans deeply skeptical about the Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A smiling Pope Francis drew a big crowd at an outdoor Mass in the Chilean capital Tuesday during the first full day of his six-day visit to Chile and Peru.

Smaller groups of demonstrators also were out to protest several issues, from the sex abuse scandals in Chile’s Roman Catholic Church to treatment of people in the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

Francis started the day with a speech in which he pleaded for forgiveness for the “irreparable damage” done to children who were raped and molested by priests.

The pope celebrated Mass in O’Higgins Park before a crowd estimated at about 400,000 people. He later brought some inmates to tears during an emotional visit to a women’s prison.

His final public event was a meeting with priests and nuns at in a full Cathedral of Santiago ablaze with lighted candles.

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