Pope meets with victims of clerical sexual abuse in Portugal

Pope meets with victims of clerical sexual abuse in Portugal

Meeting with 13 victims lasted over an hour

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - Pope Francis held a private meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse in Portugal on Wednesday.

The pope met with 13 victims at the Apostolic Nunciature “in an atmosphere of intense listening and lasted over an hour,” according to the Vatican News.

“This evening, after concluding his institutional and ecclesial encounters, Pope Francis received in the Nunciature a group of 13 victims of abuse by members of the clergy who were accompanied by several Church organizations committed to the protection of minors,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office.

In February 2023, the Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in the Catholic Church in Portugal released a final report validating testimonies of abuse cases between 1950 and 2022, highlighting over 4,800 victims.

Francis has repeatedly urged everyone in the church to support the victims and fight against the “scourge” of abuses.

The pontiff convened the first global summit at the Vatican in February 2019 to tackle the abuse problem. He has since made several adjustments to canon law to penalize offenders, promote a change in attitudes and protect young people and the vulnerable.

The pope will continue his week-long visit to Lisbon for World Youth Day through Sunday.

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