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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI is ready to hold more meetings with victims of clerical sex abuse, his top spokesman stated on Friday (April 9).
“The pope has written that he is available for new meetings with (victims), taking the same path as the whole community of the church,”
wrote the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, on the Web site of Vatican Radio.
Lombardy also called for continued application of internal church discipline against clerical sex abusers and “collaboration with the civil authorities … taking into account the specific laws and situations of different countries.”
Last month, in an open letter to Irish Catholics regarding the church’s sex abuse crisis, Benedict recalled that “on several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future.”
“I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them,” Benedict wrote.
Over the last two years, Benedict has met with abuse victims from Australia, Canada and the United States.
Earlier this week, two of the five victims who met with the pope during his April 2008 visit to the U.S. announced plans for a demonstration in Rome this October to call for more action to prevent sex abuse and help victims.
“It’s been two years now, and little has been done,” Bernie McDaid, one of the victims, told the National Catholic Reporter.
On Friday, an advocate for abuse victims dismissed the pope’s willingness to hold further meetings as insignificant.
“Kids need and deserve immediate protection and dramatic reform, not public relations ploys and photo ops,” said Barbara Dorris of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “They need substance, not symbols.”
— Francis X. Rocca
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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