Pope Benedict in Malta meets with victims of clerical sexual abuse

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.


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  1. gmaskell says:

    “Brick by Brick”

  2. MWP says:

    A wonderful article. Let’s pray this happens in other countries too.

    Am I mistaken in thinking this story won’t make it to the front page of the NYT and London Times? The reconciliation and forgiveness of this event just so disproves the prevalent discourse of hatred and intransigence in the “mainstream” media. Can someone send them a link please?


  3. Magpie says:

    That’s a good story. I think that the genuine hurt of the innocent is usually very lost in the bile and hatred of the MSM who take advantage of what has happened. I bet the Holy Father had tears in his eyes. God bless the victims and the Holy Father.

  4. Craig says:

    I find that John finds the situation “Pastoral rather than political” utterly brilliant. Can you imagine the readers of NCR apoplectic after reading that, His Holiness being Pastoral.

    Seriously though, the Holy Father is doing this correctly, staying away from the MSM who will find anything he does food for slander. He could whip himself bloody in the middle of St. Peter’s crying out for forgiveness, and they would say his was being dramatic. Just ignore the MSM, act like the pastor you are and keep moving forward.

  5. Athelstan says:

    The eight victims in the meeting were all male, he said.

    Somehow, I’m not surprised.

  6. Marcin says:

    Marcin (MWP),

    No, the story simply shows that the Church still hold its (sic!) grip strong over the minds of many victims. The believers have been brainwashed. (end-of-sarcasm)


  7. Magpie says:

    Two Marcins in one thread. What are the chances of that?

  8. Miseno says:

    This Pope knows how to lead. I can’t imagine any other leader in the world making themselves this vulnerable to people as he does. Viva il Papa!

  9. isabella says:

    This is why I love this Pope. There was actually a sympathetic article about this in a UK paper (no link because I don’t know what papers are reliable) as well. And it’s not surprising that the victims were male, even though I would be pilloried for “hate speech” if I said that openly here in the US.

    And contrary to the people trying to destroy the Church in my own country, they weren’t after a bezillion dollars. They wanted to pray with the Pope and know that God’s vicar wept with them. God bless Pope Benedict.

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