Abuse victims say Pope didn't do enough

April 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Following Thursday's mass at Nationals Stadium in Washington D.C., Pope Benedict XVI did something no pontiff has ever done. He sat down face-to-face with several men and women who were molested by catholic priests. While the Pope took part in this emotional meeting, some Bay Area Catholics believe it isn't enough.

It was an extraordinary encounter with the pontiff. There were prayers, tears and a measure of reconciliation. However, two Bay Area men are disappointed, saying that when Pope Benedict had the chance years ago to do the right thing, he didn't.

Pope Benedict addressed the abuse scandal in front of more than 45,000 people at an open air Mass in Washington D.C.

"No words of mine could describe the pain," said Pope Benedict.

He then spent about 25 minutes in a much more personal setting, meeting in the Chapel of the Papal Embassy with five or six abuse victims from the Boston area.

"He first apologized and I didn't think I needed an apology. I thought I had them and they rang hollow, but there's a great sense of hope that came here," said lan Hornae, a sex abuse victim.

"And then I told him he has a cancer growing in his ministry and needs to do something about it and I hope he hears me right and I touched his heart and he nodded," said Bernie McDaid, a sex abuse victim.

"It's like a slap in the face, basically," said Dominic Delucca from Daly City.

Delucca says he was was not impressed. Currently, he is a member of a group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Now 42, he says at the age of 12 he was molested by San Francisco Monsignor Patrick O'Shea. Delucca has a tattoo that spells out "faith." Faith in humanity, he says, not in the church and not in Pope Benedict's handling of sex abuse reports.

"If they don't remember, he was second in command and he was in charge of all of these cases. Hundreds of cases sat on his desk without him doing anything," said Delucca.

"The hypocrisy hasn't stopped," said Wayne Presley, a sex abuse victim from Foster City.

Presley says he was abused by Monsignor O'Shea as an altar boy in the early 70's. He was glued to the T.V. following news reports of the Pope's meeting.

"The Pope has a responsibility to discipline the bishops who have covered up and continued to cover up these cases of abuse. He should have fired any bishop or priest involved in any cover up," said Presley.

Father Mark Wiesner is spokesman for the Oakland Diocese.

"Hopefully over time they will see how very sincere we are and how hurt we feel for the hurt we caused them and the serious steps we're taking to change that," said Father Weisner.

Both of the men we spoke with settled legal cases with the church. On Thursday in Washington, the Pope received a notebook listing the names of more than 1,000 abuse victims from the Boston Archdiocese. The pope said he would pray for them.

On Friday, Pope Benedict will be in New York, where he'll address the United Nations General Assembly.


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