14 Jul 2008

NZ inclusion in Papal apology not yet known

6:08 am on 14 July 2008

The Catholic Church says it doesn't know whether New Zealand will be acknowledged in an apology by Pope Benedict XVI to sex abuse victims in Australia.

Pope Benedict arrived in Sydney on Sunday afternoon. While en route, he confirmed he will apologise during his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day for abuse committed by Australian priests.

The Christchurch-based Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust says it's important New Zealand victims are also acknowledged.

Lindsay Freer, of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, is not sure if they will be included but says it's important that the Pope is apologising on behalf of the whole church.

She says New Zealand bishops will meet Pope Benedict during his visit and she's sure they will raise the issue.

Australian bishops issued an apology for past abuses in 2002.

Benedict XVI, 81, is the third pontiff to visit Australia after Pope John Paul II (1995 and 1986) and Pope Paul VI (1970).

It is the pope's ninth trip outside Italy.