Catholic World News

Vatican spokesman: Pope never received request to meet with Australian abuse victims

March 04, 2016

Pope Francis never received a request to meet with Australian sex-abuse victims who were in Rome this week, according to Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office.

The papal spokesman said that although the Australian group—which had traveled to Rome to witness the testimony of Cardinal George Pell before an Australian investigating commission—had made several public statements about their hope to meet with the Pontiff, a request never reached the Pope’s desk.

The Australian victims showed reporters a copy of a note that they had sent on Monday to the prefecture of the papal household, asking for a meeting prior to their return flights to Australia on Friday. Both the Secretariat of State and the Pope’s secretaries said that they had not received the note, Father Lombardi said.

Father Hans Zollner, a member of the papal commission on sexual abuse, did meet with the Australian victims, and exchanged thoughts with them about the role of that papal commission and the best means of protecting children from sexual abuse.

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