Five survivors of clergy sex abuse met with Pope Benedict on Saturday.
The meeting lasted between 30 and 40 minutes.
The chairman of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Bill Kilgallon says he spoke to the victims before hand and said they were "understandably quite emotional."
Vatican Press office director Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, described the meeting as "very, very discreet," adding "They wished that practically no one was present, only an interpreter to help the Pope to understand better." He also said the atmosphere was of "profound, touching, intense emotion."
The meeting was held in the Westminster area in central London.
The Holy See Press Office released a statement on the meeting:
PRESS RELEASE OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
FOLLOWING THE MEETING OF THE HOLY FATHER WITH VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY MEMBERS OF CLERGY
On Saturday 18 September 2010, in the Apostolic Nunciature in London, the Holy Father met a group of persons who had been sexually abused by members of the clergy.
He was moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame over what victims and their families had suffered. He prayed with them and assured them that the Catholic Church is continuing to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people, and that it is doing all in its power to investigate allegations, to collaborate with civil authorities and to bring to justice clergy and religious accused of these egregious crimes.
As he has done on other occasions, he prayed that all the victims of abuse might experience healing and reconciliation, and be able to overcome their past and present distress with serenity and hope for the future.
Following this meeting, the Holy Father will address a group of professionals and volunteers dedicated to the safeguarding of children and young people in church environments.