Pope Benedict XVI. Has met with five victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in London. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the pope was shocked to hear the accounts of those affected and expressed "deep pain and shame for their suffering". The BBC broadcaster reports, Benedict XVI. had tears in his eyes when he apologized to the victims.
Three of the victims are from Yorkshire in northern England, one from London and another from Scotland. National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) President Bill Kilgallon described the meeting as "highly emotional" in a BBC interview. Still, he said, victims are glad for the opportunity to "tell him about their experiences". The length of the encounter was also very telling, Kilgallon said. The pope devoted more time to them, 30 to 40 minutes, than to the prime minister, he said. Observers see it as significant that the pope called the incidents a "crime" and not a "sin" as he had previously done. In doing so, he put the events in a secular context, according to the BBC's religion correspondent Robert Piggott.
As he had on the outbound flight to Scotland, Benedict XVI. Earlier in the day, again expressed his "deep regret" to victims of sexual abuse. He felt "shame and humiliation" in the face of these "indescribable crimes," the pope said at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral. The fallout from the scandal should serve as "punishment for the healing of the victims" and "for the purification of the Church".
Vatican spokesman Lombardi further reported that the pope prayed with the victims at the London-Wimbledon nunciature for the affected victims to experience healing and reconciliation and to overcome past and present fears for the future. He ared them that the Catholic Church was taking effective measures to prevent such incidents in the future. He also said it was doing everything it could to clarify the allegations.
It wants to cooperate with the civil authorities and bring to justice those clerics and religious who are accused of such serious crimes, he said. After the meeting, the pope still planned to meet with a group of professionals and volunteers who work to ensure effective protection of children and young people in church institutions.
The BBC reports that the media were deliberately not informed in advance in order to preserve the privacy of the victims and leave it up to them whether they wanted to go public.
Pope meets with experts against abuse
Benedict XVI then met with. with a group of professionals and volunteers who care for victims of pedophile clergy and the prevention of such offenses. Meeting outside his visit program in London, the pope thanked them for their service. It was deplorable that wards had to suffer abuse and mistreatment by priests and religious. This, he said, is in sharp contrast to the church's long tradition of education and youth work.
Benedict XVI. referred to the "Nolan Report" and the so-called Cumberlege Commission on Child Protection, on whose recommendations the initiative was formed. On this basis, the experts and volunteers perform an important service in creating a safe environment for children and young people.
Their work helps "ensure that the preventive measures in place are effective, that they are followed with care, and that any allegations of abuse are investigated promptly and objectively," the pope said. Any allegation of abuse would thus be dealt with swiftly and fairly. "On behalf of many children in your care and their parents, I want to thank you for the good work you have done and continue to do in this area," Benedict XVI said.