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Child abuse overshadows Pope’s Easter

Posted by Sandra On April - 5 - 2010

Clutching his coloured umbrella like a candle, as if in prayer, a priest from Germany scurried off when asked about the child abuse crisis buffeting the Catholic Church. Behind him loudspeakers conveyed Pope Benedict’s quavering Easter greetings in many tongues, from Urdu to Irish.

Perhaps it was the constant rain, which picked up just as the pontiff launched into his twice yearly Urbi et Orbi (To the City and World) message on Easter Sunday, but the crowd in St Peter’s Square seemed thinner than usual and people in a hurry to leave. The mood was distinctly more reflective. Applause for the pontiff was scattered.

“The Pope needs to speak out, and soon. Today is an opportunity,” ventured a woman from Heidelberg. She voiced her doubts over the Pope’s ability to manage this crisis, but affirmed that she was not among the 20 per cent of German Catholics who in a recent poll declared their intention to leave the Church.

“It is men who sin, not the Church. The Church is healthy,” offered a man from Congo dressed in his Sunday best. Asked if the Pope had done wrong in the past in failing to deal decisively with predator priests – as reported in Germany and the US – the man replied: “God will judge.”

A young Polish priest expressed his faith in the Pope who turns 83 this month. “Look how strong he is,” the priest said, gesturing towards the frail, rather hunched figure projected onto four giant screens around the square. The priest said he had no doubt the Church would overcome what he saw as a media-generated storm.

While Catholic bishops and cardinals around the world used Easter week to offer their expressions of shame over paedophile priests and declare their intention to rid the Church of its cover-up culture, the Vatican has appeared either oblivious or in denial.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, departed from normal tradition in St Peter’s Square to deliver a eulogy to the Pope.

READ MORE:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bd363038-3ffb-11df-8d23-00144feabdc0.html










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