Catholic News Service
Pope waves to worshipers at St. Peter's Square.
Catholic News Service
Pope waves to worshipers at St. Peter's Square.
The secular press was abuzz with stories about Pope Francis meeting six victims of clergy sex abuse.

“Why has it taken so long for the pope to meet with them?” “Were there abuse cases in Buenos Aires when he was a cardinal there?”  reporters asked.

So many concerns about about cover up and scandal, but Pope Francis showed us in his homily at a Mass for the victims what this meeting was really about: healing.

He acknowledged and expressed sorrow for the emotional and spiritual pain suffered on the part of the victims. He recognized the seriousness of the damage done by offending priests — how many of the victims suffered depression that eventually led some to suicide.

He called for higher vigilance in priestly formation, accountability from bishops in regards to the protection of minors.

He begged for forgiveness.

But in true pastoral fashion, Pope Francis also offered hope for healing; hope for light out of darkness.

“I am grateful for this meeting. And please pray for me, so that the eyes of my heart will always clearly see the path of merciful love, and that God will grant me the courage to persevere on this path for the good of all children and young people.

“Jesus comes forth from an unjust trial, from a cruel interrogation and he looks in the eyes of Peter, and Peter weeps. We ask that he look at us and that we allow ourselves to be looked upon and to weep and that he give us the grace to be ashamed, so that, like Peter, 40 days later, we can reply: ‘You know that I love you’; and hear him say: ‘Go back and feed my sheep’ — and I would add — ‘Let no wolf enter the sheepfold.’”