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Published:April 18th, 2008 05:23 EST
Pope Benedict XVI meets with abuse victims

Pope Benedict XVI meets with abuse victims

By Ana P.

According to Vatican speaker Federico Lombardi, Pope Benedivt XVI engaged in a private meeting on Thursday, 17th April, with six child abuse victims of Catholic priests. Pope Benedict XVI prayed with the now adult victims and made them hope for the future. According to Lombardi, some of the victims came out with tears in their eyes after they spoke with the Pope.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests " spoke of a positive step on a very long road. "

Since the 1950s, more than 4,000 priests in the USA have been accused for sexual abuse of children. The church has paid more than two million dollars in compensation to the victims.

A US spokesman for victims abused by priests, Gary Bergeron, said his attempts to meet Benedicts predecessor, Johannes Paul II, some years ago in Vatican failed. The meeting Benedict is a " longexpected step in the right direction," said the 45-year-old. The Catholic church is built partly on symbolism, and I think the symbol would have gone out from it, if he (Pope Benedict) had not met victims which would have been devastating," said Bergeron.