Victims of clergy sexual abuse gathered at the Vatican on Sunday. NPR reports on this historic gathering to show victims around the world that they are not alone. The rally asked the Pope to listen to the stories of those who suffered and act to prevent abuse in the future.
In the first such gathering at the heart of the Catholic Church, victims of clerical sex abuse from around the world gathered Sunday night outside the Vatican to demand justice. But police blocked them from bringing their protest under the windows of Pope Benedict XVI.
Close to 100 sex abuse victims carrying torches were outnumbered by paramilitary police who cordoned off the main avenue leading to the Vatican. Only two protesters were allowed to approach Vatican soil and deposit sealed letters addressed to the pope from abuse victims.
Italian paramilitary police blocked a boulevard leading to the Vatican Sunday to prevent a march by some 100 survivors of clergy sex abuse from reaching St. Peter's Square, but later allowed two protesters to leave letters from the abused at the Holy See's doorstep.
The two also left a dozen stones near the obelisk in St. Peter's square Sunday to mark a symbolic path so other survivors might know they have company in their suffering.
The candlelit protest was the first significant demonstration in the shadow of the Vatican by people who had been raped and molested by priests as children, and organizers said it would be repeated until the Holy See takes decisive action to ensure children are safe