.- Pope Benedict XVIâs visit and his recognition of the problems of clerical sexual abuse have prompted many alleged sexual abuse victims to come forward, Newsday reports.
Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivorâs Network of Those Abused by Priests said her 8,000-member organization has been âinundatedâ with calls. "Several are saying that they never told anyone."
"It was because the topic was addressed and for some people [who came forward] it was because they're angry," Blaine said, according to Newsday. "Others just want to be counted."
Addressing the bishops of the United States on Wednesday, the Pope said the sexual abuse scandal had been âvery badly handled.â He later met with victims of sexually abusive clergy, an historic first.
According to Newsday, Blaine said it would have been âfar betterâ if the Pope had accompanied his statements with actions like sanctioning bishops who failed to report and discipline priests.
Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful, an organization seeking Church reforms, responded to Pope Benedictâs actions, saying, "It's a start." He continued, claiming, âthe underlying issues that caused the sexual abuse crisis in the first place remain unaddressed."
Father Robert Hoatson, the New Jersey co-founder of the abuse victimsâ group Road to Recovery, Inc., said the organization has received calls from five new victims in the last three days.