Pope Offers Apology for Church Sex Abuse and Presides Over Beatification While In England

Pope Benedict XVI (2005)

Pope Benedict XVI (2005)

While in England, Pope Benedict XVI held a private meeting with victims of abuse by Catholic priests and other religious people.  The pope assured those he met with that the Church is doing what they can to bring justice to members of the church accused of the atrocious acts.

The Pope expressed “deep sorrow and shame” for the suffering the victims endured at the hands of Church officials.

The meeting took place on Saturday at the home of the Vatican’s Ambassador to Britain in London.  The 30-minute long meeting was held only hours after the Pope publically apologized for the sexual abuse allegations against the Church, calling them “unspeakable crimes” that had brought “shame and humiliation” upon the Church.

The public apology is thought to be the closest to an acknowledgment of the Church’s culpability in the sex abuse scandal involving priests and other clergy members.  The victims the Pope met with were all in their 40’s or 50’s and selected to meet with the Pope by the local church.  The meeting took place as the allegations continued to follow the Pope on his visit to the country.

While on his visit, the Pope also presided over the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a 19th century theologian.  Newman was originally an Anglican priest with a profound influence over the Church of England however; he converted to Catholicism in 1845.  In 1879 he was named Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII and was the first Rector of the Catholic University in Dublin.

Thousands turned out to watch the beatification of the Cardinal.  Newman will now be known as the Blessed John Henry Newman, bringing him a step closer to attaining sainthood.

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