VIDEO: Pope cries with Maltese abuse victims; says Church will protect children
Pope Benedict XVI had a tearful meeting with alleged victims of sexual abuse in Malta, reports BBC News. Benedict met with eight Maltese men who were allegedly abused by four priests when they were under the care of a Catholic orphanage when they were younger. The Pope "expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered," says the Vatican.
Video from the Associated Press
Following the heels of clerical abuse scandals which surfaced earlier this year, the private meeting took place at the end of the Pope's 2-day visit to Malta. "He prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future," reads a statement from the Vatican.
Victims' advocacy groups, however, have demanded concrete actions from the Vatican and remove abusive priests from the clergy. "Not a single adult should feel relieved until strong steps are actually taken, not promised, that will prevent future child sex crimes and cover-ups," says Peter Isely, the Midwest director for the US victims group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.