VATICAN CITY -- In his letter to Irish Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI promised to meet victims of clerical sexual abuse, but the Vatican said it would not turn such a meeting into a media event.
Like similar meetings the pope has had with victims in the United States and in Australia, a potential meeting with Irish victims would occur quietly and in an atmosphere of prayer without a public announcement ahead of time, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.
"For the pope, these are not media events. They are human and spiritual encounters. While they are significant, you should not expect them to be announced and propagandized," Father Lombardi told reporters March 20 during a briefing on the pope's letter.
The spokesman also announced that the Vatican had opened on its Web site a new page -- http://www.vatican.va/resources/index_en.htm# -- with the text of the pope's letter, past papal speeches touching on sexual abuse and related documents.
Directly addressing victims in his letter, Pope Benedict wrote, "I humbly ask you to consider what I have said."