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Pope meets with six victims of sexual abuse for over three hours at the Vatican

2014-07-07

Pope Francis met for over three hours with six victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, three men and three women, from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.

He met individually with each person for about half an hour, to listen to their stories and experiences.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
"It's not a superficial meeting, even the length of this meeting shows his commitment and intentions to listen, to understand. If was a mere formality, it would have been much shorter.”

The Vatican spokesperson explained that each individual meeting was highly moving, not just for the victims, but also for the Pope.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
"I can tell you that the feeling was mostly deep, positive and serene. We saw people that were deeply touched, happy and grateful for the chance to live out this moment, this meeting. Towards the end, I saw the Pope very emotional. Any person, any priest, any pastor that experiences a meeting of this nature, with people who have suffered greatly, with the wounds of the pain they've lived through, it's always an extremely taxing encounter.”

The six victims began arriving to Santa Marta on Sunday. Some were joined by their families. During dinner, the Pope greeted them briefly. On Monday, they took part in the morning Mass at Santa Marta, which also included the members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors.

This group, led by Boston Card. Sean O'Malley, met at the Vatican over the weekend. According to the Vatican spokesperson, they talked about naming delegates to other continents, as well as establishing work groups. The Commission will meet again in October. 


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