Pope to meet six survivors of clerical sex abuse
Meeting will be first for pontiff
In a meeting announced by the pope himself on the papal plane on the way back to Rome after his May pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the pontiff will meet six survivors – two Irish, two British and two German.
The survivors are expected to attend Mass in the pope’s Vatican residence at the Domus Santa Marta early this morning before meeting the pontiff.
First such meetingWhile this will be the first time that Francis, as pope, has met clerical sex abuse survivors, this is not the first time that such a meeting with a pope has taken place.
Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, met survivors during trips to Australia, Malta, the UK and Germany.
He also met Canadian abuse survivors in the Vatican in April 2009.
It seems the timing of today’s meeting was linked to the fact that Boston cardinal, Seán O’Malley, head of the Vatican’s fledgling Child Protection Commission, is currently in Rome.
Cardinal O’Malley is also a member of the so-called “G8” council of cardinals who have been summoned by Pope Francis to advise him on reforming the governance of the Catholic Church. They had a four-day meeting in Rome last week.
Marie CollinsCardinal O’Malley and other members of the Child Protection Commission, which includes Irish survivor Marie Collins, are expected to attend the papal Mass this morning.
An Argentine group linked to US lobby Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) sent an open letter to the pope and complained that no Argentine survivor had been invited to the meeting.
“This hurts because you know of the many cases that have occurred here and of the long struggles of victims and also you know about the many new cases coming to light only now. . . ”