Pope may meet abuse victims

POPE Benedict XVI could meet with 10 victims of paedophile priests during his state visit to Britain, a press officer for the British bishops’ conference said.

The Pope “could meet with 10 people” who were victims of abuse, “likely in London”, because of his tight schedule, said Jack Valero, spokesman of the Catholic Church in England and Wales during a brief- ing to media ahead of the September 16-19 visit.

The 10 victims, all of them British, would remain anonymous, he said.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said: “It’s a possibility. I can’t rule it out, but I can’t announce it officially at this time.”

“The Pope has already met with abuse victims, but (the meetings) were never announced. They come about in a discreet manner, because events of this kind should not be surrounded by hype that might not be appreciated by those taking part” in the meeting, Lombardi said.

Archbishop of West- minster Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England, said such a meeting, should it take place, would remain private and would not be announced officially.


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