news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | July 5, 2014 | 22.58 pm IST

In a gesture aimed at sharing the concerns and expressing his solidarity with people abused by priests worldwide, Pope Francis will meet six victims on Monday. 

Six victims from Germany, Ireland and Britain with talk with the head of the Roman Catholic Church at his private residence near St. Peter’s Basillica in Rome. 

Paedophilia and the Church has been a deeply disturbing debate for years and was brought into sharp focus when a United Nations (UN) body against torture asked that full light be thrown on what was considered to be one of the deepest secrets held by the Church.

The private meeting — the first with abuse victims since Francis was elected in February last year — is hotly awaited by victim support groups who have criticized the Argentinian for not acting earlier.

Francis has been slow to speak out on an issue which has hugely damaged the Catholic Church for over a decade, but in May he branded the sexual abuse of children by priests a crime comparable to a "satanic Mass" and promised "zero tolerance".

Monday's meeting which will follow a mass in the pope's private chapel, will come a day after a meeting of the commission set up by Francis to advise him on the sexual abuse crisis and draw up protocols for the pope to consider.

Composed of experts from eight countries, the body includes campaigner Marie Collins — who was assaulted as a 13-year-old by a hospital chaplain in her native Ireland — as well as British and French psychiatrists, a German psychologist and an Italian cannon law professor. Read Here

With Agencies

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