Francis meets abuse victims and vows to punish the perpetrators

PHILADELPHIA — For the second time in the United States and the seventh time overall, a pope has met with victims of sexual abuse. This time, it was Pope Francis, who held a private meeting with five survivors in Philadelphia Sunday morning and pledged to hold those responsible accountable.

“I carry in my heart the stories, the suffering, and the pain of the minors that have been sexually abused by priests,” Francis said. “I’m overwhelmed by the shame that people who were in charge of caring for those young ones raped them and caused them great damages.”

“God cries!”

He vowed that crimes against minors will not be hidden: “I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.”

Pope Francis confirmed the meeting while addressing the world’s bishops in Philadelphia. The Vatican said the pope met with three women and two men who were abused by clergy, relatives, or teachers, for about 30 minutes. Each one was accompanied by a relative. Francis prayed with them, and listened to their stories individually.

SPEECH TEXT
Pope Francis’ remarks to sexual abuse victims

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