One of the eight victims of clerical sex
abuse who met Pope Benedict in Malta has spoken to the media about their 20-minute
gathering. It had been the first time that the Pope had met victims since the
controversy began. The men had been abused systematically at St Joseph’s
orphanage in the town of Santa Venera in the 1980s and 1990s.

“It was a really wonderful gift, after
all this suffering, we all cried, even the Pope wept,” said 38-year-old Joseph
Magro, who was abused in an orphanage between 1988 and 1990.  He told Andrea Tornielli, the
“Vaticanista” for the Italian newspaper Il Giornale,
that the meeting gave him
new hope.  “I had more faith
in the priests now moving after this experience that happened to me, I started
to hope. You have a saint in Italy. Capito?
Got it? You have have a saint. ”

“I was very impressed that he felt great pain. You could see he was
suffering with me,” he said. “I finally had a little peace from this meeting.”

No journalists were present at the
meeting with the Pope, but the Vatican later said that “He prayed with
them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in
its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for
abuse, and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people
in the future.”

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.