Benedict Sees Abuse Victims

Unprecedented move underscores pope's determination to heal from scandal
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2008 4:34 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI conducts a Papal Mass, Thursday, April 17, 2008, at Washington Nationals baseball Park in Washington.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI met this afternoon with victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, the Boston Globe reports, an unprecedented move by the pontiff. The five are from the Boston area, the center of the scandal that has rocked the church. Though Benedict has already addressed the scandal several times on his US trip, the meeting was kept secret.

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley brokered the meeting, the Globe reports, and accompanied the five men and women to the Washington audience. "This is a huge step forward,'' one theologian said. "We basically were told before he arrived that he would probably address this topic at one event … and now we've had three references, plus this meeting, which is hugely significant."