The Pope has held an emotional meeting with eight sexual abuse victims during a visit to Malta.
The 83 year-old pontiff was said to have been reduced to tears, promising the Vatican was doing ‘all in its power’ to bring paedophile priests to justice and protect the young.
The Catholic church has been engulfed by a new wave of lurid allegations and Benedict reportedly expressed his ‘shame and sorrow’ to the men.
Alleged abuse victim Lawrence Grech said: ‘‘He told me I’m gonna pray for you because you’ve got the power to show your face and tell the story. I said, Pope, you pray for me and I hope you feel the emptiness which other priests like you took from me for at least 25 years because I lost faith.’‘
“I used to believe the pope is hiding something. When you see the Pope himself in tears, I don’t think he tries to hide something,’‘ Grech added.
The Pope’s visit to Malta was a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St Paul. News that the Vatican wants to bring in effective measures to stop predator priests is the clearest sign yet that it may be willing to cooperate with civil authorities.