MSN news, 21 Jul 2008

Pope Benedict XVI met victims of child-abusing clergymen before flying out of Australia on Monday after a visit in which he made a historic apology for the scourge of paedophilia in the church.

The pope, who two days earlier had publicly expressed his “shame” over the “evils” of sex abuse committed by members of the order, held mass with four Australian victims and offered them consolation, the Vatican said.

“Assuring them of his spiritual closeness, he promised to continue to pray for them, their families and all victims,” a statement said.

“Through this paternal gesture, the Holy Father wished to demonstrate again his deep concern for all those who have suffered sexual abuse.”

The pontiff met two male and two female victims at St Mary’s Cathedral House in Sydney shortly before flying out after a nine-day visit during which he led hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in World Youth Day celebrations.

(read more)