Pope expresses ‘sorrow and shame’ over child abuse

Published 19 September 2010
The Pope apologised again for the Catholic Church’s handling of child abuse in a meeting with victims yesterday.

The Pope spent 40 minutes yesterday with five people who had been abused by Catholic priests as children.

The Pope spoke of his “sorrow and shame” suffered by victims and prayed with them.

A spokesperson for the Pope said: “He was moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame over what victims and their families had suffered.

“As he has done on other occasions, he prayed that all the victims of abuse might experience healing and reconciliation, and be able to overcome their past and present distress with serenity and hope for the future.”

The Pope also sought to assure the victims that the Catholic Church was continuing to implement “effective measures” to ensure the safety of young people in its care and that it was continuing to collaborate with civil authorities in bringing suspected abusers to justice.

The meeting followed on from the Pope’s strongest apology for the scandal yet, in a mass at Westminster Cathedral on Friday in which he expressed his “deep sorrow” at the “immense suffering” caused by paedophile priests.

Later in the day, the Pope met safeguarding professionals and volunteers responsible for child protection.
The Pope told them of the need for preventative measures to be “maintained with vigilance” and any allegations of abuse to be dealt with “swiftly and justly”.

He said: “It is deplorable that, in such marked contrast to the Church’s long tradition of care for them, children have suffered abuse and mistreatment at the hands of some priests and religious.

While insisting that there should never be grounds for complacency, the Pope said the efforts by the Catholic Church in Britain and elsewhere in the last ten years to ensure the safety of children and young people “should be acknowledged”.

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