Sex-abuse victims rally in Rome, meet with papal spokesman
November 01, 2010
Several dozen sex-abuse victims rallied in Rome on Sunday evening in a “Reformation Day” demonstration, and joined in a candlelit march toward the Vatican, but were stopped by Italian police before they could enter St. Peter’s Square. Representatives of the group later were escorted to the Bronze Door of the apostolic palace to leave letters for the Pope, and met privately with the head of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi. After the meeting, Father Lombardi reported that he had encouraged the protesters to work together with the Church in the battle to prevent sexual abuse. Why acknowledging grave problems, he observed: “Not only the Pope but many Church communities in various parts of the world have done and are doing a lot” to address the problem. “Your cry today is an encouragement to do more,” he added. In what might have been a subtle reference to the organizers’ decision to stage their demonstration on Reformation Day—a day when Protestants celebrate their break with the Catholic Church—Father Lombardi reminded the protesters that many people “are indeed very happy that all the attention if focused on the Church.” Meanwhile, he said, sexual abuse remains unchecked in other institutions. Media coverage of the demonstration was heavy, although only about 75 people participated in the candlelit march. Most reports did not mention that the handling of the marchers was not unusual; staged demonstrations are never allowed in St. Peter’s Square. The coverage included a few other curious claims. National Public Radio said that the rally was the “first such gathering at the heart of the Catholic Church,” although there have been several previous meetings of sex-abuse victims. On the other hand CNN referred to “alleged victims of sexual abuse,” although in some cases the abuse has been acknowledged by Church officials and established by secular courts.
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Nov. 01, 2010 7:18 PM ET USA
Strange that National Public Radio would suggest that Rome is “first such gathering at the heart of the Catholic Church,” I thought the heart of the Chruch is where the Gospel is proclaimed, the poor taken care of, the prisoners freed, where the Kingdom is being built up.