Pope Benedict to make Easter speech amid abuse crisis Skip to main content

Pope Benedict to make Easter speech amid abuse crisis

Pope Benedict XVI holds a candle during the Easter vigil Mass in 
St Peter's Basilica, Rome, 3 April 2010
The Pope made no mention of the crisis during Saturday's Easter vigil
Pope Benedict XVI is set to deliver his key Easter speech at the Vatican amid a child sex-abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church.
The Pope did not refer to the crisis during Saturday's three-hour Easter vigil Mass in Saint Peter's basilica.
Some Catholic leaders have defended the Pope against what they describe as defamatory attacks by the media.

But senior clerical figures in Europe have called on the Church to be more transparent over the crisis.
Pope Benedict has not made any explicit comment on the issue since he penned a letter apologising for child-abuse in the Irish Church late last month.
The global Catholic Church has been engulfed by sex abuse scandals this year - many dating back decades - in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, the Pope's native Germany and the US, as well as Ireland.
Earlier, the head of the global Anglican community, Archbishop Rowan Williams, was criticised by Catholic and Protestant clergy in Ireland for saying that the Catholic Church there had lost all credibility over the controversy.
No mention
There will be keen anticipation of the Pope's traditional Urbi et Orbi - "for the city and the world" - message and blessing on Easter Sunday to see whether he addresses the sex-abuse issue.
On Saturday night, the solemn Easter vigil marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ took place as usual in Saint Peter's, and a congregation of thousands lit candles and prayed with the Pope and his cardinals.
We must set out together and examine inconceivable events, awful crimes, the Church's dark aspects as well as our shadowy sides
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch
Head of German Bishops' conference

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says that instead of referring to the sex-abuse crisis that has shaken the faith of many lay Catholics, the Pope devoted his sermon to man's search for immortality.
Endless life would be no paradise, the Pope said, adding that only the Christian message offered a cure for death.
The pontiff has been accused personally of failing to take action against a suspected abuser during his tenure as archbishop of Munich - a claim the Vatican strongly denies.
Critics also say that when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, he did not act against a priest in the US state of Wisconsin who is thought to have abused some 200 deaf boys.
The Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, stepped up its defence of the Pope in its Sunday edition, publishing messages of support from around the world and denouncing the "slanderous attacks and the defamation campaign surrounding the drama of abuse by priests".
Criticism growing
Senior clerics have also rallied round. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, said the world was witnessing an offensive mounted by the media aimed at destabilising the Pope and the Church alike.
But the volume of criticism from within the Catholic hierarchy is increasing.
Belgian Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussel denounced what he called the "guilty silence" of some Church officials, criticising the Church for often worrying more about the reputation of priests rather than the abused children, AFP news agency reported.
Father Cantalamessa is the only person allowed to preach to the Pope
Meanwhile, in Pope Benedict's native Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau said the Church needed to examine its dark aspects.
"Today particularly we must set out together and examine inconceivable events, awful crimes, the Church's dark aspects as well as our shadowy sides," said Archbishop Zollitsch, who is head of the country's bishops' conference.
In the US, allegations have emerged that the man who replaced the Pope as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, US Cardinal William Levada, allowed a priest accused of abuse to return to administrative duty as long as he had no direct contact with children or teenagers. The allegations relate to the early 1990s before Cardinal Levada's new position.
On Friday, Jewish groups and victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests condemned the Pope's personal preacher for comparing criticism of the Church over abuse allegations to "the collective violence suffered by the Jews".
Fr Raniero Cantalamessa's sermon, which was printed in full on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano, drew criticism from US-based abuse victims' group Snap and the head of Germany's Central Council of Jews.
The Vatican said Raniero Cantalamessa's remarks did not represent its official view.



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