- Title: MALTA: Man in alleged church abuse case wants pope apology
- Date: 16th April 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAWRENCE GRECH, MAN SUING CHURCH FOR SEXUAL ABUSES SAYING: "I wish to meet the Pope. The Pope. The Pope knows the truth. Ok. And I wish apologise for the victims in Malta because he went in Australia, America. He apologised . Ok. So I don't think it's going to be hard to do the same thing in Malta."
- Embargoed: 1st May 2010 13:00
- Location: Malta
- Country: Malta
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVADLBCD7EAXDWI82JE9GUKNVEAN
- Story Text: Lawrence Grech, one of ten men suing three priests for alleged child abuse said on Thursday (April 15), Pope Benedict XVI's should apologise when he visits Malta on Saturday (April 17).
Grech said he requested a private meeting with the pontiff to discuss abuses he suffered from two priests and a brother at St. Joseph Catholic orphanage in the Maltese town of Santa Venera.
"In the morning he used to come to wake me up 6:30 in the morning. By touching my, you know, my genitals. OK. And he used to masturbate me. And after seven o'clock, you know, we go downstairs, to say the, for the mass. And you see him celebrating the mass. Imagine how you feel," he said.
"This abuse stays for one year and a half maximum. After it stops. After he starts to show me like a real priest. You know what I mean. Stops the abuse and starts to love me and buy me things. OK but his idea is to start with something younger. Because another orphans starts coming in. You know, and being there, this is, this priest was there 30 years," he added.
Thirty-seven-year-old Grech , who is now married with two children, started a legal battle against the Catholic church in 2003 for abuses he said he suffered from the age of 11.
"I was lucky. I find a wife to understand. And I was lucky I came out of this problem. And now I use this powerful thing inside of me to fight and fix. I show my face I show my name in front of multi-media. Now I have the opportunity I show the same thing to the international. Thank God. And but what upsets me is, in Malta this Priest who did. This Church is powerful. He should be behind, behind bars," he said from his home in Malta.
Malta, a staunchly Catholic country will receive the Pope on Saturday for a two-day visit where he may address the sexual abuse scandal shaking Roman Catholicism.
Earlier on Thursday, the pope said priests should focus on penance for abuse cases, a clear contrasts to senior churchmen's recent emphasis on defending the Church and the pope from what they portray as an campaign orchestrated by hostile news media.
Accusations that the Catholic church mishandled and even covered up sexual abuse of children by priests in the United States, Ireland, Germany, Italy and elsewhere, have landed on Benedict's own doorstep, especially because in his previous job at the Vatican he was in charge of disciplining wayward priests.
Grech said the pope should take the time to apologise to the victims during his visit.
"I wish to meet the pope. The Pope. The Pope knows the truth. Ok. And I wish apologise for the victims in Malta because he went in Australia, America. He apologised . Ok. So I don't think it's going to be hard to do the same thing in Malta," he said.
The Vatican has denied any cover-up over the abuse of 200 deaf American boys by Reverend Lawrence Murphy from 1950 to 1974. The New York Times reported that the Vatican and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, were warned about Murphy but he was not defrocked.
The Vatican has also said the pope, when he was Archbishop of Munich, was not aware that a German priest who underwent therapy after sexually abusing children was later allowed to return to the ministry. The priest later abused children again.
With new cases surfacing almost daily, the Catholic church has said the guilt of individuals who committed crimes, however heinous, cannot be shifted to the pope or the entire church.
"This chapter one day is going to close. OK. I'm fighting. I've been fighting since 2003. It's nothing happened. Now, with the Pope now. All the media, another appeal to everybody. Then justice," said Grech.
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