Behind the Pope's Meeting with Abuse Victims

For those who were moved by the pope’s meeting with abuse victims from Boston, here is an interview from The Boston Pilot, the archdiocesan newspaper, with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, on how the meeting came about. Q: Can you explain your involvement in that unannounced meeting in Washington that brought together the Holy Father with five local victims of sexual abuse by clergy? A: After it was announced that the Holy Father was going to Washington and New York and that Boston was not included, the bishops of the region joined me in writing a letter to the Holy Father asking him to reconsider and talking about the pastoral needs that we have in New England. Then the response came back that, given the very taxing nature of the trip, that they (Vatican officials) really hesitated to add anything else. So I wrote back again asking if the Holy Father would meet with victims and after that the Holy Father responded and asked me to make the necessary arrangements. Q: Why was this meeting not part of the official schedule? A: We did our best to keep it a very discreet meeting because we did not want to turn it a media circus and we were afraid that if people found ahead of time that that was just what would happen. Also, some of the survivors who accompanied us wished to remain anonymous and it would have made it impossible for them to participate under the public scrutiny. So, I am just thankful that we were able to carry it off without becoming public before hand. Read the full interview here James Martin, SJ

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