Over the weekend Pope Benedict XVI met with victims of priestly abuse
while in Malta. The meeting was reportedly emotional, and some observers found
the news encouraging. Yet many commentators were unimpressed
with Benedict's gesture.
- 'Uplifting News,' says Catholic publication America's Austen Ivereigh.
"According to abuse victims who spoke afterwards, the meeting was very
emotional: there were tears in everyone's eyes--including Pope
Benedict's. One of them later said the 45-minute meeting with the Pope
had given him huge spiritual courage." Ivereigh also adds that "It
would be extremely surprising if [Benedict] did not meet abuse victims
in the UK when he arrives in September."
- All Talk "It's
difficult to see what is significant about the Pope's meeting with a
small number of victims in Malta," counters Colm O'Gorman,
an abuse victim himself, at The Independent, unimpressed by Benedict's
continued efforts to hide behind "sovereign immunity." His conclusion:
"Meetings are all very well, but surely honesty and a commitment to
justice would be much more meaningful?"
- Response Still Indirect, Ambiguous Politics Daily's David Gibson gives a hint of skepticism in his analysis:
for the rest of Benedict's 24-hour stopover in Malta, it was largely
marked by a pattern that has held throughout these months of growing
crisis: Aides and officials around the pontiff address the scandals
directly, if often defensively, while Benedict himself makes indirect
references at best, or statements so ambiguous they could be spun many
ways and in different directions.
- Pope Fell Asleep? New York Magazine's Josh Duboff
has one of the lighter, more sympathetic take on Benedict's visit. He responds to photos showing the Pope nodding off during a Maltese mass: "It would
appear the scandal is taking a visible toll on the pope."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
hhorn at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.