From The Times of Malta:
One of the eight child abuse victims who met the Pope this afternoon said that the meeting had given the group peace in their hearts.
The group, now in their 30s and 40s, had a 35-minute meeting with the Pope at the Apostolic Nunciature.
Malta’s bishops shed tears during their meeting, Lawrence Grech said.
“I admire the Pope for his courage in meeting us. He was embarrassed by the failings of others.”
One of the victims told the press that it had been a deeply moving meeting, at the end of which the Pope presented all victims with rosary beads.
One asked the Pope how this abuse could have happened.
The Pope replied: “I will pray for you”.
The Vatican earlier this afternoon said the meeting had been a deeply moving experience for the Pope.
The meeting also meant a lot to the victims, they told the media.
“We now have peace in our hearts, even because the Pope found time to meet us. We now look forward to the end of the court case, and closure of this chapter.”
The Pope blessed the victims and promised them his prayers.
See Vatican statement here.
John Allen reports here that:
One of the eight victims of sexual abuse who met Pope Benedict XVI today in Malta described the encounter as “very emotional,” saying most of those present were crying, and even the pope had “tears in his eyes.”
“I made peace with the church,” said Joseph Magro, one of the victims who met the pope.
Magro has been among the most outspoken of ten Maltese men who recently came forward to say they were abused by Catholic priests at a church-run orphanage in the 1980s and 1990s. The revelations shocked this tiny island nation, in part because another of the victims linked his abuse in the orphanage to a horrific murder he committed in 1991, in which he killed a homosexual man with a hammer and then cut his body into pieces with a broken bottle.
Another victim who met the pope, who asked to be described as “Immanuel,” said that the victims “will continue the fight for justice,” and insisted that they do not want money from the Catholic church.
This was Pope Benedict’s third meeting with victims, after previous encounters in the United States in April 2008 and Australia later that same year.
In a briefing today for reporters, the Vatican spokesperson, Fr. Federico Lombardi, described the meeting as “intense” but “serene.” The eight victims in the meeting were all male, he said.