Pope must make amends, say British abuse victims
(Photo: Mark Fabbro, Chris Daly, Sue Cox, Margaret Kennedy and Peter Saunders (L-R), who said they were survivors of abuse by Catholic priests, pose after a news conference in London September 15, 2010/Toby Melville)
Victims of abuse by Catholic priests urged the Vatican on the eve of Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain to hand over lists of suspected offenders to the police to prevent further cases of clerical sex crimes.
Speaking in London on Wednesday, a group of victims and activists said the Vatican should go beyond verbal apologies and offer concrete steps to make amends over clergy abuse.
“The pope is the boss. He has the capacity to do these things. Words must be backed up by actions,” said Peter Saunders, chief executive of a charity called the National Association for People Abused in Childhood. “We need the pope to say: ‘I will hand over all information I have about abusing priests, wherever they are in the world, to the authorities of the countries where these people are being protected’.”
In an open letter in the Guardian newspaper, more than 50 British public figures said the pope should not “be given the honour of a state visit” and accused him of failing to address cases of child abuse as well as other issues.