- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008

Five survivors of the Catholic church sex abuse scandal have met privately with Pope Benedict XVI on his full last day in Washington.

The half-hour visit with the victims was coordinated by the Archdiocese of Boston and kept secret, even as some had protested that the pontiff was not taken time to hear their stories.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley joined the pope at the meeting, which was held in the chapel of the Vatican Embassy. A papal spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope told survivors he would pray for them. Some were moved to tears.

Hoping to move beyond the controversy, which rocked the faithful, the pope acknowledged it head-on in his homily as he said Mass for 46,000 faithful gathered at Nationals Park this morning.

“I acknowledge the pain of the Church in America is experiencing as a result of sexual abuse of minors,” Benedict said, urging parishoners to reach out to victims with love and compassion.

Cardinal O’Malley reportedly passed along to Pope Benedict during the afternoon meeting a book bearing the names of more than 1,000 victims of sexual abuse from the Boston Archdiocese.

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