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 Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims

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gaboman

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PostSubject: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:22 pm

Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims
By Philip Pullella

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, in a dramatic surprise, held an emotional meeting on Thursday with victims of sexual abuse by priests, consoling them and promising them his prayers.

The 25-minute meeting, believed to be the first time a pope has met with victims of sexual abuse by the clergy, took place in the chapel of the Vatican's embassy and was kept secret until after it was over.

The encounter dramatically capped three days of comments the pope has made expressing shame about the scandal that has rocked the U.S. Church.

"They prayed with the Holy Father, who afterward listened to their personal accounts and offered them words of encouragement and hope," a Vatican statement said. "His holiness assured them of his prayers for their intentions, for their families and for all victims of sexual abuse."

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, the city where the scandal first broke in 2002, accompanied the group, which a Vatican source said was made up of about a half a dozen middle-aged men and women.

Representatives of victims welcomed the meeting but called for more action.

"This is a small, long-over due step forward on a very long road," said Joelle Casteix of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Chief Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said there was a lot of emotion in the room and some victims cried. Each victim then chatted personally with the pope.

Benedict spoke "affectionate words" to the group and Cardinal O'Malley gave the pope a notebook with the names of about 1,000 abuse victims in the Boston archdiocese, so that the pope could pray for all of them, Lombardi said.

O'Malley replaced Boston's former archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in December 2002 over the scandal.

"POSITIVE STEP"

"It's a positive step. Maybe the pope has learned more on this trip about the evil of clergy sexual abuse," said Mitchell Garabedian, who successfully settled with Boston's archdiocese on behalf of 86 alleged victims of clergy abuse.

Just hours earlier, at a Mass for some 45,000 people at Washington's new Nationals Park baseball stadium, the pope acknowledged the "indescribable pain and harm" caused by the pedophile priests scandal, which has cost U.S. dioceses $2 billion in damages and caused a handful to declare bankruptcy.

The scandal first erupted in Boston, where priests who abused minors were transferred to other parishes instead of being defrocked or reported to police.

At the stadium, advertisements flanking the scoreboard were covered by U.S. flags. A large yellow and white papal flag fluttered in left field and a papal seal covered home plate as the pope said Mass from a towering altar platform in center field.

"It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention. Nor can I adequately describe the damage that has occurred within the community of the Church," he said during Mass.

The pope asked U.S. Catholics to foster healing and reconciliation with victims and added: "Also, I ask you to love your priests, and to affirm them in the excellent work that they do."

The Church's position has always been that an extremely small number of priests -- less than one percent -- were abusers, while the overwhelming majority were faithful to their vocation and protected children.

The pope later addressed Catholic educators, telling them that Roman Catholic universities and schools that ignore Church teachings in the name of academic freedom betray their identity and risk causing moral confusion among their students.

He then met with leaders of other U.S. religious groups.

Benedict travels to New York on Friday to address the United Nations, visit the site where the World Trade Center was destroyed in the September 11 attacks, and say Mass at Yankee Stadium before returning to Rome on Sunday.

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PostSubject: Re: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:22 pm

I'm impressed.

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PostSubject: Re: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:18 am

Yeah, and if there's another holocaust maybe they could codemn the guilty party this time around.

Ohhhhhhhhhh snaps!

Please.

Pointy hats and gold staffs do not impress me much. Unless it's on a spaceship, on TV.

-HECK!

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PostSubject: Re: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:55 am

True that, but I was pretty miffed that we got a nazi as a pope (we being everybody who isn't me, and is Catholic) and now he's at least making a stand on something that is a big deal in the Catholic church. At least they're coming out of the dark ages.

Hopefully China take a page out of this dude's book when the protests are going on around their precious flame.

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PostSubject: Re: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:07 am

I just don't get into the Catholic religion, at all. I'm not impressed with the "Holy Father" or whatever they call some old geezer, living in the lap of f'n luxery, being treated like some god. He isn't the Lord... and I hate the way that they live, and are treated. I would respect the Catholic church a lot more if they just got down to earth, and dealt with all of the sex scandals by letting the priests be punished for their crimes... instead of covering it all up over the years.

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PostSubject: Re: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:37 am

But, I mean, that's the point... that's what this guy's doing now. He's only new to the job, but he seems committed to doing it right.

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PostSubject: Re: Pope, in dramatic move, comforts sex abuse victims   Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:37 pm

Well, lets hope so. Time will tell.

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