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Brenda Noriega (center left, pink blouse) has lunch with Pope Francis Brenda Noriega (center left, pink blouse) has lunch with Pope Francis  (Vatican Media)

WYD Panama: Pope calls sexual abuse ‘a horrible crime’

At lunch on Saturday with 10 young participants in WYD in Panama, Pope Francis responds to a question from a US pilgrim regarding the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

By Devin Watkins

“The Holy Father reminded us that it is important to accompany the victims [of clerical sexual abuse], that it is important to walk with the people and to be present to them, that it is important for us to be a united Church.”

That was how a young WYD pilgrim from the US described Pope Francis’ response to her question about the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

“He called it a horrible crime,” she said.

Brenda Berenice Noriega, a youth minister in the Diocese of San Bernardino, California, was speaking at a press conference on Saturday.

As part of the US delegation of young people attending World Youth Day in Panama, Ms. Noriega had lunch with Pope Francis, along with 9 others, in St. Joseph Major Seminary.

“For me as representative of the US and a minister of young people, it means a lot. It’s to keep in mind that all the victims of the sexual crisis are heard,” she said, “and that the Church is committed to supporting them, and that the Church is committed to walking with them.”

Ms. Noriega said it was important for her to hear the Pope express “his affirmation about the support of the Church to the victims.”

Listen to Brenda Noriega's statement
26 January 2019, 21:06