Pope cries with abuse victims in Malta

Uplifting news from Malta, where Pope Benedict recently concluded his visit by a surprise private meeting with eight clerical sex abuse victims.

A Vatican statement said the Pope "was deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered. He prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future."

The statement went on: "In the spirit of his recent Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, he prayed that all the victims of abuse would experience healing and reconciliation, enabling them to move forward with renewed hope".

According to abuse victims who spoke afterwards, the meeting was very emotional: there were tears in everyone's eyes -- including Pope Benedict's.

One of them later said the 45-minute meeting with the Pope had given him huge spiritual courage.

Speaking on local television, Lawrence Grech said he was now a lapsed Catholic, after his childhood experiences. But he said he thought the Pope should not carry the guilt of others.

"I made peace with the Church," said Joseph Magro, another of the victims.

This was the first time Benedict XVI has met with abuse victims this year, but the third time on his foreign trips -- he met abuse victims in 2008 in the US and Australia.

It would be extremely surprising if he did not meet abuse victims in the UK when he arrives in September.

 

Juan Lino
6 years 10 months ago

Kate,
Are you trying to imply that the Holy Father did this intentionally?  If yes, do you have proof that there were women victims that wanted to meet with the Holy Father and were denied the opportunity?  Or is your remark generated by bias and bigotry?
Just curious.
Juan
 
Kate Smith
6 years 10 months ago
Did you notice that the pope only met with men?
 
I am keeping track of everything that comes out of Rome and America Magazine.
Michael Barberi
6 years 10 months ago
This recent meeting was a very important first step.However, the moment of truth will be the specific reforms Pope Benedict XVI communitcates and implements.  Without effective change that addresses the broader and specific issues, the cries of the faithful will continue.  Let's pray the Church does not wait too long.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

“Amoris Laetitia” addresses the reality of Catholics in “non-legitimate unions” and opens the possibility for them to receive the Eucharist under certain conditions.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 22, 2017
Immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 21, 2017
El sistema de libre empresa es compatible con nuestra preocupación por los desfavorecidos, escribe un economista y católico converso.
Arthur C. BrooksFebruary 21, 2017
The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017