The Latest: Chile says no topic off limits during pope visit

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The latest on Pope Francis’ visit to Latin America (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

Government officials in Chile say no topic will be off limits when Pope Francis meets with President Michelle Bachelet late Monday.

Government spokeswoman Paula Narvaez says Bachelet views the visit like any head of state.

Many Chileans have expressed concern in recent weeks that Francis may openly support Bolivia’s push for a piece of land from Chile to connect that landlocked country to the Pacific Ocean. The topic is a sensitive for Chileans, who feel that giving Bolivia a slice of land would compromise their national borders.

There has also been talk about whether the pope would bring up proposals to legalize abortion in the Andean nation. Currently abortion is only legal if the life of a woman is at risk, if pregnancy results from or if a fetus is not viable.

Politically, the Roman Catholic Church has had a strong influence in Chile, managing to keep some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws in effect.

The pope will be in Chile until Thursday, when he travels to Peru.

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4:30 p.m.

Hours before Pope Francis is set to arrive in Chile, activists on issues related to sex abuse by priests are calling for sanctions against both abusers and anyone who helped cover up their actions.

About 200 people attended the first of several planned meetings and protests aimed at making priest abuse a central topic of Francis’ first visit to the Andean nation since becoming pope.

Priestly abuse in Chile is an open wound. That’s in part because of Francis’ decision to appoint a bishop with close ties to the country’s most notorious abuser, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Juan Carlos Cruz, who was abused as a child by Karadima, says it’s time for the pope to ask for forgiveness and take action.

This post originally appeared on Townhall

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