The Pope needs a miracle in Chile to offset the mistakes there with pedophile clergy. Once thought the reformer needed in corrupt conditions, he himself has become buried in controversy involving a high ranking Chilean clergy who abused and was covered for by other clergy. The Pope believes a sincere apology will suffice.
According to the link, distrust of the Church is widespread in Chile. To see what can happen amidst distrust we need only look to Ireland. Ireland saw dramatic drops in church numbers and political influence. Efforts to legalize abortion followed quickly and a national vote will be held in 2018.
Some who have commented on the Pope’s visit to Chile say an apology is not enough. A restructuring of the church hierarchy is needed the thinking goes. We’ve discussed here before how the notion of being above the law has affected clergy behavior.
The story in Chile is typical. A high ranking clergy in a wealthy church fondled teenage girls. His supervisor later admitted he knew about the complaints but kept the criminal in clergy work. On the street, Catholics believed many other clergy know of the misdeeds. Pope Francis promoted one of those who denied knowing but whom the public thinks is lying.
Catholic numbers are said to be plummeting in Chile. We can expect its political influence to fade as they did in Ireland.
With his church mostly unable to change, the Pope is heaving a long pass in hopes something good will happen.