Top Vatican cardinal defends pope
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|Sat, 03-27-2010 - 2:26pm|
"March 27, 2010
Top Vatican Cardinal Defends Pope Amid Scandal
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 1:21 p.m. ET
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican said Saturday that recent attacks on the church over its handling of clerical sex abuse cases have been harmful, but insisted the pope's authority had not been weakened.
Instead, the Vatican spokesman said, Pope Benedict XVI's authority and the commitment of the Vatican doctrinal and disciplinary office ''have been confirmed in their support and guidance to bishops to combat and root out the blight of abuse wherever it appears.''
''The way in which the church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility,'' said the spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, in a comment on Vatican Radio.
Revelations of the sexual abuse of children by priests at Catholic institutions have swept across Europe and into Benedict's native Germany. The pope himself has come under fire for a case dating to his tenure as archbishop of Munich and another dating to his stint as the head of the Vatican office responsible for disciplining priests.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, a top Vatican official, acknowledged in an interview published Saturday that church authorities had on occasion maintained silence over cases of sex abuse. But he defended the pope, saying Benedict ''was the first one who -- already as a cardinal --felt the need for new, harsher rules.''
Attacks on the pope go ''beyond any limit of justice and loyalty,'' Kasper told Corriere della Sera.
The cardinal, however, called for a cleanup and said the church must be more alert and brave in dealing with any sex abuse. He said a growing awareness of the problem makes the path of renewal ''irreversible.''
''We need a culture of attentiveness and courage, and a housecleaning,'' Kasper, also a German, said in the interview.
Until recently, Benedict had received high marks for his handling of sex abuse.
Taking a much harder stance than his predecessor, John Paul II, Benedict disciplined a senior cleric who had been championed by the Polish pontiff and defrocked others under a new policy of zero tolerance.
But reaction changed after a case that involved the Rev. Peter Hullermann, accused of abusing boys, and his transfer to the pope's former archdiocese of Munich. "
Strong like a mountain,
Flowing like a river."
~~Tai Chi Chih
"All things share the same breath;
the beast, the tree, the man.
The Air shares its spirit with
all the life it supports."
"If there are no dogs in Heaven,
then when I die I want to go where they went."
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated."