Vatican Spokesman Meets With Abuse Victims

Stresses Church's Commitment to Protect Youth

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI, the Holy See and the Church are committed to stopping the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy, said a Vatican spokesman who met with victims on Sunday.



Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, met with eight representatives of Survivor's Voice, at the headquarters of Vatican Radio.

Members of Survivor's Voice gathered in Rome on Sunday along with others from various countries to protest the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy.

Father Lombardi, in addition to the meeting with the victims, wrote a letter to the leaders of the group of protesters, assuring them that the Church is committed "to do everything that is necessary so that the horrible crimes of sexual abuses will no longer take place."
 
In his letter, publicized by L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican spokesman affirmed that "the Church has done and is doing much -- not only the Pope with his words and his example, but also many communities of the Church in different parts of the world" are working "either in listening to the victims or in prevention and formation."
 
Father Lombardi then confirmed that sexual abuse, especially of minors, is "one of the great plagues of today's world," which "has involved and touches the Catholic Church."

He added that "what has happened in the Church is a small part of what has happened and is happening in the world."
 
For this reason, the priest continued, "the Church must first of all free itself of the evil and give good example of the fight against abuses in itself, but then all of us must fight, knowing that it is an immense plague, which develops more easily and better the more it remains hidden.

He noted that "also today many rejoice that attention is concentrated on the Church, because they can continue more undisturbed."
 
This battle, Father Lombardi said, is fought "together, joining forces against this plague, which today uses new means and ways to spread itself, facilitated by the Internet and the new forms of communication, by the crisis of families, by tourism and sexual trafficking that exploits the poverty of people in the various continents."
 
The Vatican spokesman concluded by expressing the hope that what the Church is learning and the initiatives it is undertaking "to purify itself and become a model place of safety for young people" may "become useful for all."

He thus invited the victims to see in the Church an ally and not an adversary.