"I cannot begin to express the pain and shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children on the part of Church ministers," he said.
"We have to work hard to make sure this does not happen again," he added.
The US-based NGO Bishop Accountability last week said ahead of the visit that almost 80 Roman Catholic clergy members had been accused of sexually abusing children in Chile since 2000.
Activists from several countries meeting in Santiago on Monday launched a new global organization, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA). The organization "seeks to stop child sexual abuse by the clergy," said one of its founders, Jose Andres Murillo.
It is necessary to listen to native peoples, "often forgotten and whose rights and protected culture must be taken into account," said the pontiff in his address to political authorities.
He made no specific mention of the Mapuche, with whom he is scheduled to meet Wednesday during a visit to Temuco.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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