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Pope Francis and previous meetings with the victims of abuse

The Organizing Committee of the February meeting on the protection of minors in the Church has invited Bishops to meet survivors of abuse. Both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have made similar gestures in the past.

By Vatican News

The United States, Great Britain, Malta, Australia, Germany: these are some of the places Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI met with groups of abuse survivors, listening to them, praying with them. These meetings have always taken place in a strictly private form in order to respect the pain and privacy of the victims.

Most recently, Pope Francis met a group of abuse survivors in Dublin, following the World Meeting of Families in August. During the in-flight press conference on the way back to Rome, the Pope said he had felt it was important to “listen” to those involved and, as a result, to be able to “ask for forgiveness” at the public Mass.

Earlier this year, in January, at the Nunciature of Santiago de Chile, Pope Francis met another group. On that occasion he both prayed with them and cried with them. In April and again in June, he received several people who had suffered abuse as minors in Chile, at the Casa Santa Marta, where he lives. A note from the Vatican Press Office confirmed that those present were encouraged to speak for as long as they felt necessary.

There are meetings that are made public, and others that are not.

Speaking to members of the Jesuit Community at the Hurtado Center in Santiago, Chile, in January this year, Pope Francis again stressed the importance of “listening” to those who have suffered abuse. On that occasion, he admitted to the Chilean Jesuits that he continues to meet privately with individuals and groups of abuse survivors, although these encounters are not always made public.

In his "Letter to the People of God", published in August this year, Pope Francis states clearly that: “The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults”.

18 December 2018, 16:56