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Pope Francis during a press conference on board a plane back to Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto / AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis apologized to victims of clerical sex abuse Sunday, stating that he was sorry for having "wounded many" when defending Chilean bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of covering for a pedophile, reports Reuters.

Yes, but despite his apology, Pope Francis maintains that Barros is innocent. Last week, the pope told a reporter that "[t]here is not a single piece of evidence against him. It is all slander. Is that clear?”

Timing:

  • Barros has been accused of covering up sex abuse committed by his former mentor.
  • The pope defended Barros last week, prompting backlash from abuse survivors and even Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston and the pope’s top adviser on clerical sex abuse. O'Malley said Saturday that the pope's comments had caused “great pain.”
  • On Sunday, during his flight back to Rome, Francis said, “I know how much they (abuse victims) suffer in hearing the pope say to them ‘bring me a letter with the proof,’ I realize that it is a slap in their faces, and now I realize that my expression was an unfortunate one.”
  • But Francis added on the plane that he cannot condemn Barros without evidence, and that the Chilean bishop will remain in his position unless proof surfaces.

Go deeper

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.