One of the eight child abuse victims who met the Pope this afternoon said that the meeting had given the group peace in their hearts.

The group, now in their 30s and 40s, had a 35-minute meeting with the Pope at the Apostolic Nunciature.

Malta's bishops shed tears during their meeting, Lawrence Grech said.

"I admire the Pope for his courage in meeting us. He was embarrassed by the failings of others."

One of the victims told the press that it had been a deeply moving meeting, at the end of which the Pope presented all victims with rosary beads.

One asked the Pope how this abuse could have happened.

The Pope replied: "I will pray for you".

The Vatican earlier this afternoon said the meeting had been a deeply moving experience for the Pope.

The meeting also meant a lot to the victims, they told the media.

"We now have peace in our hearts, even because the Pope found time to meet us. We now look forward to the end of the court case, and closure of this chapter."

The Pope blessed the victims and promised them his prayers.

See Vatican statement at:

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