Chiara Bonello // The Malta Independent
Face to face Pope Benedict XVI was very different to the way he was often portrayed in the media, Lawrence Grech, one of the priestly abuse victims said, following the meeting with the Pope earlier yesterday.
Mr Grech, who described the meeting as extraordinary and out of this world, said that it was not fair that Pope Benedict XVI was being made to face the music for the mistakes that others had made before him.
He admitted that when hearing about his ordeal during the meeting, he had seen real tears come to the Pope’s eyes. However, Mr Grech added that the meeting was an emotional one for all those involved, including the Archbishop’s of Malta and Gozo. The meeting helped to ease some of the damage that had been caused by other persons, he said.
Mr Grech said he had asked the Pope to pray for him, so that the void which had been left by the abuse may be filled. Pope Benedict XVI told him that he would pray for him, after commending him for being brave enough to speak up about the ordeal that he had gone through.
Despite the fact that those involved knew about the meeting beforehand, the victims were only advised of it around an hour before. When the call came that the meeting would be held, he said, he almost fainted. In fact he had missed his daughter’s birthday, because he felt sure the meeting would be held. Mr Grech described the meeting as a step in the ‘process of healing’.
During Mass in the morning, the issue was the subject on everyone’s lips and most people were of the belief that the Pope would meet the victims.