In a Vatican Radio broadcast on Friday, one Rev. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, announced that Pope Benedict XVI is ready to hold “new meetings” with victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members, but at least one victims’ group with the highly memorable acronym of SNAP views the pope’s latest move as a self-serving strategy rather than a magnanimous gesture. —KA
The Washington Post:
Benedict has already met with abuse victims during trips to the United States and Australia in 2008 and with Canadians at the Vatican the following year.
In a letter to the Irish in which he apologized for decades of unchecked child abuse by priests, nuns and other clerics, the pontiff said he was sorry for the suffering of the victims. He told the victims, “I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured.”
But the pope himself has come under fire for the handling of cases that date to his tenure as archbishop of Munich and as a Vatican cardinal in charge of the office dealing with abuse cases. And the Vatican’s offer of new meetings was dismissed by one group of abuse victims as a meaningless symbol.
“Any meeting the pope may have with victims helps him look good while doing nothing noteworthy,” said Barbara Dorris, the outreach director of US-based victim lobby SNAP.