- Title: ITALY: Abuse victims group meet in Rome ahead of march on to Vatican
- Date: 31st October 2010
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (OCTOBER 30, 2010) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) ROME'S SPANISH STEPS VARIOUS MEMBERS OF VICTIMS OF ABUSE 'SURVIVORS GROUP' AT SPANISH STEPS WEARING T-SHIRTS READING 'ENOUGH' T-SHIRT IN BAG SURVIVORS MEMBER PUTTING T-SHIRT ON SURVIVORS MEMBER MARGARET KENNEDY/T- SHIRT (SOUNDBITE) (English) SURVIVORS MEMBER FROM IRELAND, MARGARET KENNEDY, SAYING: "I think it's very symbolic almost to come back home, to Rome. But unfortunately we are not allowed to go in all together and we're not allowed to film in there and that makes me quite angry because Survivors should be allowed to express our pain and our suffering in St Peter's which is the centre and we're not allowed to do that publicly because they won't allow us to have the cameras there." SURVIVORS GROUP STANDING IN FRONT OF SPANISH STEPS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SURVIVORS MEMBER FROM BOSTON, DAVID FURDON, SAYING: "I'm not sure he's (Pope Benedict XVI) fully aware of how this cancer, if I can use that term, has affected us. He apologises all over the world but he's not doing anything about it. He needs to step up a little bit and say 'enough', like we're saying, 'enough'." SURVIVORS FOUNDER BERNIE MCDAID WEARING SURVIVORS T-SHIRT AND SAYING 'ENOUGH' IN ITALIAN AND ENGLISH (SOUNDBITE) (English) SURVIVORS FOUNDER BERNIE MCDAID, SAYING: "St Peter's square is for all people, it is the people's church, they should have opened the doors welcoming us, instead of what they're doing, in my opinion. But we're coming anyways, we are here from all over the world right now and we are standing up. We have nothing to hide, nothing to be guilty or ashamed of, the world needs to change how we look at this problem." SURVIVORS MEMBER HOLDING T-SHIRT SURVIVORS GROUP IN FRONT OF SPANISH STEPS
- Embargoed: 15th November 2010 12:00
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVAECFC36UDMNJYJXNB4RV7S9IKL
- Story Text: Members of abuse victims group Survivors met at Rome's Spanish Steps one day before leading a candlelit march on to the Vatican to call for more effective action by the Church against sex crimes committed by priests.
Victims of abuse by Roman Catholic priests gathered on Saturday (October 30) at Rome's Spanish Steps, one day ahead their march on the Vatican on Sunday evening to call for a more effective action by the Church against sex crimes.
Bernie McDaid and Gary Bergeron, founders of www.survivorsvoice.org, also said they would seek a U.N. resolution declaring paedophilia a crime against humanity.
McDaid, 54 and Bergeron, 47, were abused by the same priest as children in different parishes in different cities in the Boston area some seven years apart. Both were altar boys and both said they were abused in church sacristies and other locations in their parishes by a priest who was first known to be an abuser in 1962 but was shifted from parish to parish instead of being defrocked.
They met as adults in 2002 when the first sexual abuse scandal, whose epicentre was in Boston, swept the United States.
They will lead two days of activities in Rome along with other victims of abuse from 12 countries, culminating on Sunday. They have dubbed it Reformation Day, falling on the anniversary of the day 1517 when Martin Luther began the Reformation.
After gathering in nearby Castel Sant' Angelo on the Tiber River, they plan to lead a candlelight march to the Vatican.
Italian police have denied them a permit for the last leg of the demonstration but they say they will carry it out anyway.
"St Peter's square is for all people, it is the people's church, they should have opened the doors welcoming us, instead of what they're doing, in my opinion. But we're coming anyways, we are here from all over the world right now and we are standing up. We have nothing to hide, nothing to be guilty or ashamed of, the world needs to change how we look at this problem," said McDaid.
Both McDaid and Bergeron say the Vatican missed a chance to take a firm stand against sexual abuse eight years ago when the first scandal swept the United States.
This year, a new chapter in the scandal came to light as victims in other countries, including Ireland, Austria, Italy and the pope's native Germany came forward. Bishops in several European countries have resigned either because they had abused children or because of their mishandling of abuse cases.
Pope Benedict has several times apologised for the abuse and the Vatican has assured that tougher measures have been put in place to screen out seminarians who could become abusers. But victim groups want the Vatican to publish a list of all known abusers.
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