Pope prays with abuse victims

2010-09-18 19:56

London - Pope Benedict XVI has met with victims of priestly sexual abuse and prayed with them even as abuse survivors and thousands of people opposed to his visit marched in central London in the biggest protest of his five-year papacy.

Bill Kilgallon, chairperson of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission - a church group that organised the encounter - said five people met with the pontiff for about 30 or 40 minutes on Saturday.

Vatican spokesperson Reverend Federico Lombardi said the pontiff was "moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame".

During a Mass in Westminster Cathedral, Benedict said he hoped the church's humiliation would help victims heal and help the church purify itself and renew its commitment to educating the young.