Malta Prelate Meets With Abuse Victims

Papal Meeting Still Possible, Though Unlikely

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By Serena Sartini

ROME, APRIL 16, 2010 ( Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta met on Tuesday with a group of men sexually abused by religious in the 80s. 

The victims are hoping for a private meeting with Benedict XVI when he is on the island this weekend. However, given the Holy Father’s tightly scheduled, 26-hour visit, it seems unlikely he will have a chance to meet with the group.

«Yesterday afternoon the archbishop held a private meeting with a small group of victims,» Kevin Papagiorcopulo, spokesman of the curia of Valletta, told ZENIT. «The meeting took place in the archbishop’s See in Attard, and it lasted close to two hours. The meeting was of a private and reserved nature precisely as the victims had requested.»

That same day, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, left open the possibility of a papal meeting with abuse victims in Malta. However, he affirmed any such meeting would take place «in a climate of recollection and reflection, not under the pressure of» the media.

Archbishop Cremona praised the victims for going public with their cases, affirming that justice needs to be done, the Times of Malta reported. He also decried certain sectors of the international media aiming to «form» the people against the Church, rather than «informing» them of the facts.

In Malta, for more than 10 years there has been a response team to deal with allegations of sexual abuse within the Church.

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