Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli spoke with Joseph Magro, 38, one of eight victims of clerical abuse who met with Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to Malta. Magro said the meeting “was truly a most beautiful gift, after all this suffering, we all cried, even the Pope.”
In the interview published by the Italian daily Il Giornale, Magro, who proudly showed the rosary he was given by the Holy Father in Malta, shared details about his meeting with the Pope.
“I did not have any faith in priests. Now, after this moving experience, I have hope again. You people in Italy have a saint. Do you realize that? You have a saint,” he said, referring to Pope Benedict XVI.
Later, explaining his discussion with the Holy Father, Magro said, “When I told him my name was Joseph, the Pope’s eyes grew wide and he said, ‘Joseph, like me!’ Then I asked him: ‘Why did the priest do this to me, why did he abuse me?’ He replied that he prays for me and we then prayed together.”
Magro said he could see that the Pope “felt great sorrow. I could see he was suffering with me. I didn’t want to make him suffer, I didn’t tell him about the abuse that I suffered, but he wept with me, even though he had no fault in what happened.”
After admitting that he did not expect to have this emotional encounter with the Holy Father, Magro said, “This was a great gift for me, to be welcomed in this way and to be listened to by him. I heard his speech at the airport, on Saturday afternoon. He did not say anything about the problem of abuse. But this morning (Sunday, April 18), at 9:00 a.m., I received a call: I was to go to the bishop’s house because I was going to see the Pope.”
“I finally have a little bit of peace thanks to this encounter. He gave me a rosary which I now wear around my neck,” Magro said.