Pope meets with survivors of sex abuse

April 17, 2008 at 9:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 17 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI met privately Thursday in Washington with several victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston diocese, a papal spokesman said.

Benedict also brought up the abuse scandal in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church during a mass for thousands of people at the Washington baseball stadium.

The 25-minute meeting, which was not announced in advance, was held at the papal nuncio's residence in Washington, The New York Times reported. It was arranged by Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope asked for the meeting and talked and prayed with each of the victims in attendance.

"It was absolutely emotional," Olan Horne, one of those who attended, told CNN.

The 10 a.m. mass for 47,000 was held under tight security. Authorities said people began arriving at the stadium at 5 a.m.

"No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse," Benedict said in his homily at the mass. "It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention."

Also Thursday, the pope addressed 200 Catholic college presidents and school superintendents and held an interfaith meeting in the evening.

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