Published: Sep 18, 2010 8:31 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 18, 2010 5:31 PM EDT

LONDON (AP) - Thousands of people have turned out in London to protest Pope Benedict's visit. The peaceful march was the largest protest of Benedict's five-year papacy. Many of the marchers waved gay pride flags, while others protested the Vatican's handling of sex abuse by priests.
      
The pope met for 30 to 40 minutes today with five victims of priestly sexual abuse and prayed with them. Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pontiff was "moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame."
      
During a Mass in Westminster Cathedral, Benedict said he hoped the church's humiliation would help victims heal and help the church purify itself and renew its commitment to educating the young.