Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

  • Frantic search for South Korea ferry passengers continues

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine in Geneva

    Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘this election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    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

Comments

COMMENT(S)