Pope expresses grief, compassion for German abuse victims

.- Pope Benedict was moved and “deeply shaken” by his meeting with clerical sex abuse victims in Germany, expressing his profound grief and compassion for their suffering.

On the evening of Sept. 23 at the seminary in Erfurt, the Pope held a private audience with the victims and their families, on the second day of his Sept. 22-25 visit to Germany.

“He assured the people present that those in positions of responsibility in the Church are seriously concerned to deal with all crimes of abuse and are committed to the promotion of effective measures for the protection of children and young people,” the Vatican press office said.

“Pope Benedict XVI is close to the victims and he expresses the hope that the merciful God, Creator and Redeemer of all mankind, may heal the wounds of the victims and grant them inner peace.”

The Pope also met with victims of clerical sex abuse during his 2008 trip to the U.S. and his 2010 visit to Malta.

Earlier in the day, the Pope participated in a gathering with Muslims, an ecumenical prayer service, a meeting with Lutherans bishops, and presided over an outdoor vespers service at the Etzelsbach Marian shrine.

On Sept. 24, he will travel to Freiburg, where he will meet with representatives of the Orthodox Churches along with seminarians at the local St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Chapel. That evening, he will attend a prayer vigil with young people at Frieburg's trade fair grounds.

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