Nightly News   |  April 18, 2010

Pope meets with abuse victims in Malta

In a private meeting in Malta, the Pope confronted emotional charges from men who were abused as a children. The Vatican also says the Pope gave assurances the Church is doing all it can to bring those responsible to justice. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> krakow .

>>> there was a dramatic and emotional development today in the ongoing crisis facing the catholic church over allegations of child abuse by priests. the pope, who has faced questions about his own handling of the crisis , today met with victims of abuse and promised them justice would be done. here's nbc 's ron allen .

>> reporter: the pope's visit to malta brought him to a largely catholic nation, struggling with allegations of priests abusing young men and boys. in a private meeting, the pope confronted those emotional charges face to face .

>> promise you're going to pray for me. he told me, i'm grateful to you, you have the courage to show your face . it was emotional.

>> reporter: lawrence says the pope had tears in his eyes as he listened to his story of being molested repeatedly as a child by priests at an orphanage. he was one of eight men the pope met and prayed with. a vatican statement said the pope was deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered. grets says meeting the pope restored his lost faith.

>> this is an experience that's going to change my life. you know, now i can -- i believe, you know.

>> pope benedict has met with victims on at least two other occasions. in australia and here in the u.s., but that was before new allegations this year that the church covered up or did nothing about known cases of abuse.

>> no one, you know, unless their heart is of stone, can listen to these stories and not be moved.

>> reporter: father thomas reese suggested the pope listen to more stories, everywhere he goes.

>> the church has to continue to condemn the abuse and apologize, apologize, apologize.

>> reporter: the vatican also says the pope gave assurances the church is doing all it can to bring to justice those responsible for abuse. there were no specifics.

>> and i tell, i say, listen, i don't want to make damage to the pope. i am doing this for awareness, you know? he told me, i'm proud of you, the pope.

>> reporter: and as more allegations have come to light, many of the faithful think the pope must address the crisis more directly and for all to hear. ron allen , nbc news, new york .

>>> we have an update now