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Pope holds quiet, emotional meeting with abuse victims in Malta

Catholic World News - April 19, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI held an emotional meeting with victims of clerical abuse on April 18 during his pastoral visit to the island nation of Malta.

Participants reported that the Pontiff had tears in his eyes, and many of the victims wept openly, during the private session. A spokesman for the victims' group said that after speaking and praying with the Pope he would that he could "feel like a convinced Catholic again."

The Vatican said that Pope Benedict "was deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered. He prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future."

The Vatican had indicated last week that the Pope was likely to meet with abuse victims during his trip, but the meeting would not be open to the press. As he did in meeting quietly with abuse victims during his visit to the United States in 2008, the Pope chose to hold the conversation away from the glare of publicity, emphasizing that the session was for the benefit of the victims and of the Church, not for the media.

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