Expect papal meeting with UK sexual abuse victims — Patten

September 7, 2010

pattenOne regular but regularly unannounced feature of papal trips in recent years has been the private meeting with local Catholics who were sexually abused as youths by priests. Journalists only find out about them after they’ve taken place. Just such a meeting seems to be on the cards during Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain next week, but of course it does not appear in his official schedule. Chris Patten, the prime minister’s special representative for the papal visit,  said as much on Monday in an interview with BBC television (quote at the end of the clip):

“On several previous visits, the pope has met victims of abuse. He has never said he was going to meet them before he did and his meetings have always, for very understandable reasons, been private. I would be surprised if in this visit or any future visit he behaved in any different way.”

When our London correspondent Avril Ormsby asked about any possible meeting with victims in an interview with him last week, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “It will not be announced beforehand, and it will take place in private, if that is going to be the case. But precisely because of those rules, it is not clear.”

(Photo: Chris Patten, July 5, 2010/Peter Macdiarmid)

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The Pope meet with victims here in the United States in April of 2008. He has meet with victims in several other countries as well. He has said to do everything possible to help victims heal and to protect children. Instead of or in addition to meeting with more victims he should establish a global registry of all credibly accused priests, encourage secular investigations into child sex crimes within the church and punish bishops who cover up the sexual abuse of children. Meeting with a few victims is a just another gesture and talking about doing everything possible are just words what we need to see is action,accountability and openness.

Posted by BIanni | Report as abusive

Great. So he will create a media circus because he meets with 5 or 6 victims (out of tens of thousands). He’ll say ‘this was grievous crime’, ‘we will do whatever we can for victims’ and/or ‘these pedophiles have no place in church ministry’. And the he’ll go home to the Vatican. Promote people like Cardinal Law, pour awards on bishops who hide pedophiles, fight statutes of limitations and accuse the press of a liberal bias. Oh and don’t forget – it is all the Jew’s fault and also a result of secularism.

No thanks – heard this song before

Posted by snapbowie | Report as abusive

I agree with the previous two comments. Meeting with a small group of hand-picked victims to pray and extend sympathy is a symbolic gesture which needs concrete action to back it up. The pope met with the US victims for a mere 1/2 hour. They have never had any follow-up contact with his staff. Let’s see the church leaders actually walk the walk, not just talk empty talk.

Posted by madeline1970 | Report as abusive