Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • UN peacekeepers battle jihadists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

Europe

Cardinal defends embattled pope against 'idle chatter'

Video by Catherine Nicholson , FRANCE 2

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-19

A senior cardinal (pictured left) on Sunday said the faithful would not be influenced by "idle chatter" in a reference to the avalanche of paedophile priest scandals engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.

AFP - Top Vatican prelates rallied around Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday as paedophile priest scandals have plunged the Roman Catholic Church into its worst crisis in decades.

Easter mass in a rain-drenched St Peter's Square kicked off with an unusual greeting from the dean of the College of Cardinals, who told the pontiff: "The people of God are with you and do not allow themselves to be impressed by the idle chatter of the moment."

Cardinal Angelo Sodano was reprising the same phrase the pope used a week ago when he urged Christians "not be intimidated by the idle chatter of prevailing opinions".

In Paris, the archbishop of the city and head of the Catholic Church in France, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, said there was a "smear campaign aimed at the pope".

It was Benedict, then known as Cardinal Ratzinger, who "as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, encouraged bishops to take action against paedophilia by systematically informing Rome of such cases," he told Le Parisien newspaper.

However the top bishops in both Belgium and Germany issued forthright condemnations of the church's role in covering up for predator priests.

Belgium's Andre Joseph Leonard, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, said in his Easter homily that the church had mismanaged the crisis "with a guilty silence".

Germany's top archbishop, Robert Zollitsch, for his part, said: "Today particularly we must set out together and examine inconceivable events, awful crimes, the church's dark aspects as well as our shadowy sides."

The scandals have cast a pall over Easter, the most joyous day in the Christian calendar, commemorating the day when Jesus Christ is believed to have been resurrected.

In his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message, the pope, wearing a gold mitre and white and gold vestments, said humankind needed "a spiritual and moral conversion... to emerge from a profound crisis, one which requires deep change, beginning with consciences."

The crisis over predator priests took a new twist on Friday when the pope's personal preacher evoked a parallel between attacks on the pontiff and anti-Semitism.

Jewish groups and those representing victims of abuse by Roman Catholic priests condemned Father Raniero Cantalamessa for quoting the comments, which he said were made in a letter from a Jewish friend, in his Good Friday sermon.

Cantalamessa issued an apology on Sunday, telling the Italian daily Corriere della Sera: "If I inadvertently hurt the feelings of Jews and paedophilia victims, I sincerely regret it and I apologise."

Benedict has spoken out several times since the start of his papacy in 2005 on child sex abuse, calling it a "heinous crime" and a "grave sin." But the scandals have been gaining momentum relentlessly, putting the Vatican on the defensive.

In the United States on Saturday, fresh allegations emerged in court documents that Cardinal William Levada -- now the head of the Vatican department in charge of disciplining predator priests -- had reassigned an alleged child molester in the 1990s without warning his parishioners.

The pope headed the same department -- the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- from 1981 to 2005, and himself faces allegations that he helped to protect predator priests both in that role and when he was archbishop of Munich.

In Sunday's Easter message, the pontiff also called for a "true exodus" from conflict in the Middle East, "the land sanctified by (Jesus') death and resurrection," urging "a true and definitive 'exodus' from war and violence to peace and concord" in the Middle East.

Condemning persecution and lamenting the "suffering" of Christian minorities, Benedict said: "May the Risen Lord sustain the Christians who suffer persecution and even death for their faith, as for example in Pakistan."

He added: "To the Christian communities who are experiencing trials and sufferings, especially in Iraq... Peace be with you!"

Benedict also called for an end to conflicts in Africa, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Nigeria, and condemned "a dangerous resurgence of crimes linked to drug trafficking" in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He also offered solace to the people of Haiti and Chile following the massive earthquakes in their countries.

As tradition dictates, the pontiff ended with greetings in 65 languages including Mongolian, Icelandic, and Aramaic, the language of Jesus still spoken in parts of the Middle East and Turkey, addressed to millions watching live broadcasts of the speech around the world.

Date created : 2010-04-04

  • CATHOLIC CHURCH

    Pope steers clear of abuse scandal in Easter message

    Read more

  • RELIGION

    Can the pope be forced to step down?

    Read more

COMMENT(S)