By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Over the weekend, Pope Benedict XVI met privately with a small group of victims of sexual abuse by priests, during a visit to Malta.
According to the New York Times, the Pope “was deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered,” the Vatican said in a statement after Benedict met with eight Maltese men who said they were molested by priests as youths in a Malta orphanage.
“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 to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future,” the statement continued.
This was the first foreign trip that the Pope has made since the latest scandal erupted, and it’s a good sign that he met with victims and “expressed his shame and sorrow.” For those of us who have been concerned by the Church’s response to the sex abuse scandal, this is progress--and we should say so. Maybe if the Church hears some positive feedback when it reaches out and tries to repair the harm that’s been done, it will continue to do so in bigger and better ways. This was a solid first step, and I hope there are more meetings, both private and public, to follow.