Pope Expected to Meet With Abuse Victims in Ireland

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Francis is expected to meet with victims of sexual abuse during his weekend visit to Ireland and speak out about the problem.

Spokesman Greg Burke effectively confirmed the meeting during a briefing Tuesday. He said Francis always meets with victims when he visits countries where abuse “is a reality” and that any information would be released after the fact, based on what the survivors themselves decide.

He said: “The important thing for the pope is to listen.”

Francis is under enormous pressure to speak out strongly against abuse given Ireland’s devastating history of Catholic priests who raped and molested children, and bishops who covered up for them. The trip is likely to be dominated by the issue given recent revelations in the U.S., Chile and beyond.

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