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Pope Francis' First Day in Chile

IN PICTURES: The pontiff expressed concern about sexual abuse by Catholic priests, met with President Michelle Bachelet and visited a women's detention center. 

On the first day of his papal visit to Chile, Pope Francis told authorities, civil society and diplomats assembled at La Moneda Palace: "I cannot help but express the pain and shame, shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children by church ministers."

Pope Francis' tour has been protested by critics of the numerous abuse scandals which have rocked the Catholic Church, as well as campaigners highlighting economic and territorial issues in the predominantly atheistic nation.

A public mass at O'Higgins Park was attented by at least 400,000 people while a demonstration was staged nearby. About 50 people were arrested by police, who used water cannons to stop the protest.

The pontiff also visited a women's detention center, delivering messages of redemption and dignity to the 620 female inmates at San Joaquin Women's Penitentiary Center.

The meeting took place in the prison's gym, where one of the convicts described how she became incarcerated and how her life as a mother had developed inside the detention center.

Pope Francis asked the women to resist being objectified and to preserve their human rights, saying that being deprived of liberty does not mean they can be deprived of dignity.

"We might make a mistake, but each day we're invited to start again somehow," Francis said before quoting the Bible: "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone."

Pope Francis also encouraged the inmates to keep "social reintegration" as their goal.

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Nuns wait at O
Nuns wait at O'Higgins Park where Pope Francis was due to hold a mass in Santiago, Chile. Photo:Reuters/Jose Luis Saavedra
Pope Francis and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet review honour guards at La Moneda Presidential Palace during his visit in Santiago.
Pope Francis and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet review honour guards at La Moneda Presidential Palace during his visit in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Rodrigo Garrido
Nuns take a selfie at O
Nuns take a selfie at O'Higgins Park ahead of a scheduled mass in Santiago. Photo:Claudio Santana
Chile
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet exchanges gifts with Pope Francis at La Moneda Presidential Palace. Photo:Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters
Protesters against sex abuse in the Catholic church hold banners reading "Neither lefties nor fools, Osorno suffers, Bishop Barros, accessory after the fact."
Protesters against sex abuse in the Catholic church hold banners reading "Neither lefties nor fools, Osorno suffers, Bishop Barros, accessory after the fact." Photo:Reuters/Carlos Vera
Demonstrators take cover from a police water canon during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago.
Demonstrators take cover from a police water canon during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza
Demonstrators hold a banner reading "Pedophile accomplices" during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago.
Demonstrators hold a banner reading "Pedophile accomplices" during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza
Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at O
Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at O'Higgins Park in Santiago. Photo:Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters
Couples kiss at the end of Pope Francis
Couples kiss at the end of Pope Francis' mass in O'Higgins Park. Photo:Reuters/Ricardo Rojas
A woman is detained during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago.
A woman is detained during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza
A demonstrator holds up a Mapuche Indian flag during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago.
A demonstrator holds up a Mapuche Indian flag during a protest against the papal visit in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza
A demonstrator is detained during a protest against Pope Francis
A demonstrator is detained during a protest against Pope Francis' tour of Chile in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza
Pope Francis greets inmates at the San Joaquin women
Pope Francis greets inmates at the San Joaquin women's prison in Santiago. Photo:Reuters/Alessandra Tarantino/Pool
Pope Francis greets people at San Joaquin women
Pope Francis greets people at San Joaquin women's prison in Santiago. Photo:Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters
Rosaries made by inmates for the visit of Pope Francis are displayed in Santa Monica prison in Lima, Peru.
Rosaries made by inmates for the visit of Pope Francis are displayed in Santa Monica prison in Lima, Peru. Photo:Reuters/Pilar Olivares
A priest blesses inmates during a ceremony where they present religious icons for the visit of Pope Francis, in Santa Monica prison in Lima, Peru
A priest blesses inmates during a ceremony where they present religious icons for the visit of Pope Francis, in Santa Monica prison in Lima, Peru Photo:Reuters/Pilar Olivares
Pope Francis meets with bishops in the Cathedral of Santiago, Chile.
Pope Francis meets with bishops in the Cathedral of Santiago, Chile. Photo:Reuters/Luca Zennaro/Pool
 Mapuches walk to the Nielol hill before the arrival of Pope Francis in Temuco, Chile.
Mapuches walk to the Nielol hill before the arrival of Pope Francis in Temuco, Chile. Photo:Juan Gonzalez
Published 16 January 2018
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