Pope meets victims of sexual abuse before leaving Sydney

Sydney, Australia, Jul 20, 2008 / 10:48 pm (CNA) .- Pope Benedict XVI met four victims of child sex abuse this morning at a private Mass held at St. Mary’s Cathedral House. Two women and two men, who wished to remain anonymous, celebrated Mass with the Pope, who then listened to their stories and offered consolation.

Assuring them of his spiritual closeness, the Holy Father promised his continued prayers for them, their families and all victims, according to a press statement released today by the Holy See Press Office.

“Through his paternal gesture, the Holy Father wished to demonstrate again his deep concern for all those who have suffered sexual abuse.”

This meeting followed the Pope’s apology those who had been sexually abused by members of the Catholic Church in Australia, where he said he was “deeply sorry,” for the pain and suffering victims had endured.

The Archdiocese of Sydney says its Professional Standard Office nominated four victims to meet with the Holy Father. “The Holy Father’s meeting with victims reflects the continuing commitment of the whole church in Australia to bring healing and justice to those who have been terribly hurt by sexual abuse.”