Perhaps already in malta

Benedict XVI. Is ready to meet with abuse victims. The Vatican reiterated this on Tuesday. Such an encounter, however, must take place in a "climate of gathering and reflection, not under media prere," he said. Perhaps it already comes to a meeting on the weekend.

Spokesman Federico Lombardi would neither confirm nor deny whether the pope would already personally speak to victims of sexual violence by clergy during his trip to Malta this weekend. The spokesman referred to the dense program of the one-and-a-half-day visit to the Mediterranean republic. If necessary, "the pope's intention to meet will find other expressions". He said whether there would be a meeting with abuse victims in the short term would be left to the free decision of the church leader. Lombardi, however, warned against harboring great expectations of surprises during the Malta trip on Saturday or Sunday.

Abuse on Mal The two diocesan leaders of Malta had last week expressed their regret about the abuse cases, some of which date back to the 1970s, and underlined the will to clarify the matter without reservation. Meanwhile, the bishops announced that since a commission of inquiry was set up in 1999, 45 of the island's 850 priests have been accused of abuse. In 19 cases, the commission, headed by a former judge, found no evidence of wrongdoing, they said. 13 cases are still pending in the commission, in 13 other cases it has pronounced itself in favor of canonical proceedings. They said there have been four convictions by the Vatican so far, three trials are still underway in Rome; four diocesan investigations have only recently been completed and have not yet been transferred to the Curia; two priests have died in the meantime. In cases of sexual offences against minors, the Maltese Church will waive any statute of limitations, the bishops emphasized. The archbishop of Malta, Paul Cremona, had announced Monday that he would meet with 10 abuse victims. The meeting should take place close to the time of the pope's visit. The participation of the responsible church lawyer of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Charles Scicluna, who himself comes from Malta, is also planned. The ten men who were abused by priests when they were boys originally wanted a meeting with Benedict XVI. demanded. At the same time, they condemned attacks and protests against the head of the church, which have become loud in Malta in recent days.

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