Bono Meets With Pope After Backing Abortion; Talks Child Sex Abuse, 'Pain' on Francis' Face

Bono and Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican on September 19, 2018. | (Screenshot: Reuters)

Bono, the lead singer of rock group U2, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Wednesday where the two talked in part about the multiple child sex abuse scandals.

Bono spoke with the Roman Catholic Church leader for more than 30 minutes, the Catholic News Agency reported, where the singer said that Francis was "incredibly gracious with his time, his concentration."

He told journalists that the two "let the conversation go where it wanted to go," and that they discussed big themes, such as sustainable development and environmental goals.

The Irish icon admitted that they also touched upon the sex abuse scandals that have been sweeping through the Catholic Church around the world for decades, including in the U.S. and Ireland.

Bono said that he and Francis "inevitably" spoke about "the pope's feelings about what has happened in the Church."

The U2 lead singer told the pontiff that to some, it looks like "the abusers are being more protected than the victims." He said that "he could see the pain" in the Vatican leader's face about the issue.

"I felt he was sincere, and I think he's an extraordinary man for extraordinary times," Bono said.

Fresh accusations that major church figures shielded priests accused of sexually abusing children have scandalized the Catholic Church this year, with Francis himself also caught up in the scandal.

The pope was accused by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who previously served as the Vatican's ambassador to the United States, of knowing about the long list of accusations against former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The latter has been accused of taking sexual advantage of young seminarians.

Viganò insists that Francis "knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator," but instead of punishing him, decided to cover for him and even elect him to a position of a trusted counselor.

Francis has yet to respond to the allegations in public. When asked about the situation by journalists in August, the pontiff simply said: "I will say sincerely that I must say this, to you and all of you who are interested: Read the document carefully and judge it for yourselves."

"When a little time has passed and you have the conclusions, perhaps I will talk," he added.

Bono, on the other hand, was criticized by many Christians back in May for supporting an advocating for the legalization of abortion in Ireland, which the Catholic Church also opposed. The singer urged Irish citizens to vote "Yes" on the national referendum on significantly expanding the cases in which abortion is allowed.

Some, such as Pastor Daniel Darling, vice president for communications at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted at the time: "Man, I'm so disappointed with Bono. I'll still listen to his music but I'm just sad that, having poured out his voice for the vulnerable, he is turning his back on those precious souls who have no voice."

Reuters meanwhile noted that during Wednesday's meeting, Bono and Francis also talked about some topics they have shown a shared passion for. They discussed initiatives to tackle climate change and fight for a more equal distribution of the Earth's resources.

"We have to re-think the wild beast that is capitalism. Although it is not immoral, it is amoral and it requires our instruction and he (the pope) is very keen on that," Bono urged.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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