Dunedin abuse survivor fails to meet Pope

abuse survivor

Dunedin sexual abuse survivor, Darryl Smith, has been unsuccessful in his attempt to meet Pope Francis.

“We were blocked by the Swiss Guard who dismissed the letter from Bishop Dooley”, writes Spokesman for the Auckland-based Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions, Dr Murray Heasley.

Heasley is in Rome with Smith.

Writing on Facebook, Heasley reports,”They looked at us as if we were crazy, even thinking such a meeting was possible”.

Heasley says the Swiss Guard told them that to get an audience with the Pope they had to follow a long and time-consuming protocol.

“It was of no importance that a survivor be given priority in Survivor Week, despite a 40 hour flight from Dunedin”, he wrote.

After a demonstration in St Peter’s Square with massive international media attendance, (pictured) Smith was interviewed by ABC (Australia).

Smith flew to Rome with a letter of introduction from Dunedin bishop, The Most Reverend Michael Dooley.

Dooley also helped pay for his trip.

Speaking at Auckland Airport before his departure on Tuesday night, Smith said he was both excited and nervous ahead of his long flight.

He expected the nerves would be joined by a feeling of anger as he finally met with church officials at the Vatican.

“It depends what they have to say. If they’re negative, I’ll tell them what I think of them.

“It’s going to be quite a big step to go and see these people and actually talk to them,” Smith said.

This last weeks some 190 participants, including New Zealand’s Cardinal John Dew, were in Rome at the request of Pope Francis to discuss the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the church.



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News category: New Zealand.

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