Background: Meetings by Popes with Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis's first meeting with victims of clergy sexual abuse took place at the Vatican in July 2014. His second known meeting occurred in Philadelphia on September 27, 2015, on the morning of the last day of his visit to the United States. He met for thirty minutes with three men and two women who had been sexually abused as minors by clergy, family members or teachers.

Previously, in his 21 years as bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had declined to meet with victims, although several had sought his help.  

Pope Benedict met with victims at least five times in his papacy, beginning in the United States in April 2008. 


Pope Francis's Meetings with Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

United States, September 2015

Remarks by Pope Francis During Meeting with Victims of Sexual Abuse, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, September 27, 2015

Pope Francis finally met with sex abuse survivors but more action is critical, activists say, by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Abby Ohlheiser and Terrence McCoy, Washington Post, September 27, 2015

Victims Suggest Pope is Shifting on Abuse, by Vivian Yee, New York Times, September 27, 2015

Vatican, July 2014

Homily of Pope Francis, Holy Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel with a group of clergy sex abuse victims, July 7, 2014

Pope Francis meets abuse victims, begs forgiveness for church, by Claudio Lavanga and Cassandra Vinograd, NBC News, July 7, 2014

Pope Francis ‘begs forgiveness’ of victims of sex abuse, by Jim Yardley, New York Times, July 7, 2014

Pope Benedict XVI's Meetings with Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Germany, September 2011

Pope meets with German sex abuse victims, by Melissa Eddy & Victor L. Simpson, Associated Press (in Forbes), September 23, 2011

"Shaken" Pope holds Mass after meeting abuse victims, Radio Netherlands, September 24, 2011

Pope meets abuse victims during German trip, by Philip Pullella and Sarah Marsh, Reuters,September 24, 2011

United Kingdom, September 2010

My Shame and Humiliation: Pope's Emotional Apology over 'Unspeakable' Child Abuse As He Meets Five British Victims, Daily Mail, September 19, 2010

Pope meets victims of sex abuse in London, Rome Reports, September 18, 2010 [video]

Malta, April 2010

Victim in Malta: Pope had 'tears in his eyes,' by John L. Allen Jr., National Catholic Reporter, April 18, 2010

"He was deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered. 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."

Vatican text: Pope meets with sex abuse victims in Malta, April 18, 2010

Pope meets sex abuse victims on Malta visit, Deutsche Welle, April 18, 2010

Holy Father's meeting with some victims of sexual abuse, Apostolic Nunciature, April 18, 2010 [in Italian]

Australia, July 2008

Pope meets sex abuse victims: Vatican, ABC, July 21, 2008

Pope meets clergy abuse victims, BBC News, July 21, 2008

United States, April 2008

Pope meets with victims of sex abuse by clergy, apologizes, by Eric Gorski, Associated Press, April 18, 2008

'Unfiltered access' to pope: Interview by Campbell Brown of Bernie McDaid, Faith Johnston, and Olan Horne, CNN , April 17, 2008

"This is a new start, I believe, we're at the beginning of a new start. And there's real hope this time; it's not just words. I think there's going to be action following this moment now."
- Survivor Bernie McDaid to CNN after meeting with Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Visit to the United States and His Discussion of Sexual Abuse, compiled by, April 2008

Excerpts: Pope Benedict's comments about sexual abuse by clergy during his visit to the U.S., April 2008





















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