Pope meets with abuse victims as thousands protest – Yahoo! News

LONDON – Pope Benedict XVI apologized Saturday to five people who were molested by priests as children in his latest effort to defuse the sex abuse crisis shaking his church, as thousands of people angered at the Vatican’s response marched in central London in the biggest protest of his 5-year papacy.

Benedict met for about 30-40 minutes with the victims — four women and a man from Scotland, England and Wales — at the Vatican’s ambassador’s residence in Wimbledon and expressed “his deep sorrow and shame over what the victims and their families suffered,” according to the Vatican.

Bill Kilgallon, chairman of Britain’s National Catholic Safeguarding Commission who helped organize the meeting, told the BBC that the victims got “something between 30 and 40 minutes.”

Asked if the victims were angry, he said: “No, I wouldn’t say they were angry. I think there is anger in them … But anger can be very constructive if they work for change.”

“He prayed with them and assured them that the Catholic Church is continuing to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people, and that it is doing all in its power to investigate allegations, to collaborate with civil authorities and to bring to justice clergy and religious accused of these egregious crimes,” it said.

Across town, abuse victims and demonstrators opposed to the pope’s stance against homosexuality, abortion and using condoms to fight AIDS marched peacefully from Hyde Park to Downing Street, the major protest of Benedict’s controversial four-day state visit.

They carried banners reading: “The pope is wrong — put a condom on” and “Pope protects pedophile priests.”

Later Saturday, though, an estimated 80,000 people massed in Hyde Park cheering the pope as he celebrated an evening vigil.

The Vatican statement was similar to ones it issued after Benedict met with abuse victims over the past two years while visiting the United States, Australia and Malta. But continued revelations of abuse — the latest in Belgium — have failed to placate critics demanding that the pope and other Vatican officials take personal responsibility and crack down on bishops who covered up abuses by their clerics.

For the first time, Benedict also met with a group of professionals and volunteers who work to safeguard children and young people in church environments, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters.

Pope’s UK visit “my shame and humiliation”


Pope Benedict XVI yesterday issued his strongest apology yet for child abuse by the clergy, denouncing it as an ‘unspeakable crime’.

In a sermon at Westminster Cathedral, the Pope expressed his ‘deep sorrow’ to victims of sexual abuse by priests, and said the scandal had shamed him and the Church.

‘I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers,’ he told the congregation. 

Papal visit: Pope expresses his ‘deep sorrow’ for abuse


The Pope asked the congregation to show concern for victims of child abuse

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his “deep sorrow” for the “unspeakable crimes” of child abuse within the Catholic Church.

The strongest public apology yet over the scandal was offered during a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on the London leg of his four-day state visit.

The Pope then conducted a prayer vigil with thousands of people in Hyde Park.

Later it was confirmed that the Pope had met five people who had suffered abuse at the hands of the clergy.

Speaking to hundreds of members of the Catholic Church, including senior clergy, the Pope said he was gravely concerned by “the immense suffering” caused by the abuse, especially by Church ministers.

He also acknowledged “the shame and humiliation” caused by “these sins”.

“Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives,” he told the congregation.

He said he hoped this “chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people”.

“I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.”

Pope Benedict XVI needs to do more than apologize 


Pope Benedict XVI has been apologizing for the Catholic Church’s shameful, decades-long cover up of sex abuse during his state visit to Britain. Catholic pedophile priests have brought the Church into disrepute. It is unfortunate that Pope Benedict XVI covered up numerous instances of Catholic priestly sex abuse during his time as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Now, he is apologizing. Some Catholics believe that it would have been better if the Pope had chosen to apologize before the public outcry at the recent Catholic sex abuse scandals around the world rather than after it. To apologize only after a global outrage has been created brings pain and mental anguish to the hundreds of victims of Catholic priestly sex abuse worldwide.

An earlier public apology would have appeared far more genuine and far less politically motivated. Nevertheless, one positive outcome of the global outrage towards pedophilia in the Catholic Church is that the Pope is promising to take better care of the young so as to protect them from the watchful eye of a potential Catholic priestly predator.

British Catholics are just as disgusted with the sex abuse in the Catholic Church as non-Catholic Britons are. There are many who believe that an apology simply is not enough, and that Pope Benedict XVI should be promptly arrested and put on trial for his role in the decades-long cover up of Catholic sex abuse.

However, Pope Benedict XVI is a well-respected academic and philosopher who can play a major role in reconciling the Catholic faith and modernity. He should be encouraged to reform and modernize the Catholic faith so that it will play a positive role (rather than a negative role) in the lives of the billion-strong global Catholic community.

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