For the first time since the sexual-abuse scandal came to light months ago, Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican today to meet with a small group of victims of sexual abuse by priests. The pope was reportedly brought to tears during the meeting in Malta, where he met with eight Maltese men who said they were molested by priests when they were children living in a Malta orphanage. According to the Vatican, the pope “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,” the Vatican statement continued.
It would appear the scandal is taking a visible toll on the pope, as he was spotted briefly falling asleep at mass this morning after the meeting.