Three victims of sex abuse are going to Rome to meet with the Pope. They have no appointment and no contact with Vatican officials. I guess they’re just going to show up at the Vatican and ask for the Pope. I think what most people don’t understand is that the Pope is not like your pastor, or even your bishop. Trying to see him unannounced is like trying to get in to see the US President or the Queen of England under the same circumstances.
(Although my friend Zoe over at HMS Blog has an interesting story of doing just that.)
They say the Archdiocese of Boston, the US bishops conference, and the papal nuncio have not provided any help. Probably because they’re not sure what these guys will do or say once in the presence of the Pope. But also because the Pope, now that he is in failing health, restricts his private audiences to a select few and as the Supreme Pontiff, there are many who want to have that time with him.
The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, [editor of America magazine,] and author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church,” said it is difficult to imagine the group winning an appointment with John Paul. Most people who have private meetings with the pope are high-ranking government officials who arrange appointments through an ambassador or high-ranking church officials who arrange appointments through the Vatican, Reese said.
“It is very difficult to get an appointment with the pope, and to go to Rome without already having had an appointment arranged is really a waste of time,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen that way.
“Everybody in the world wants to meet with the pope,” Reese said, “and, especially now with his health reduced, he simply can’t see everybody.”