An unscheduled meeting

By  Catholic News Service
  • April 17, 2008

It's not clear whether Pope Benedict XVI expected he would have to concentrate so much on dealing with the fallout of the clergy sexual abuse on this, his first visit to the United States. But he is devoting a significant part of his time to trying to heal this very open wound. Besides his three strong public comments on it, he also met privately with a small group of abuse victims on April 17.

Sandwiched quietly in between his two main public events Thursday — an outdoor Mass at the Nationals Stadium and a speech to Catholic university presidents at Catholic University of America — he met at the papal nunciature (embassy) with abuse victims from Boston, the centre of the 2002 scandal that so rocked the church.

This news came in the form of a very short statement from the Holy See Press Office. The statement noted that at 4:15 p.m., Pope Benedict met in the chapel at the nunciature with the group, brought to him by Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

They all prayed together. Afterwards, each victim was able to tell his or her personal story to the Popel. He offered them "words of encouragement and hope."

"His Holiness assured them of his prayers for their intentions, for their families and for all victims of sexual abuse." 

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