Holy Day

Benedict Defended During Easter Mass

Pope Benedict XVI presided over Easter services Sunday as the cloud of the Catholic Church’s latest sex-abuse scandal loomed. Looking tired during the service at St. Peter's Square, where tens of thousands of people gathered, Benedict and his “unfailing leadership” were defended from “petty gossip” by senior Cardinal Angelo Sodano at the beginning of Mass. During the service, Benedict mentioned the “trials and sufferings” of Christians in Iraq and Pakistan and prayed for the people of Haiti and Chile after the devastating earthquakes rocked their countries. In the last three days, the pope has not mentioned the sex-abuse charges that have marred the church’s image in recent weeks. The pope’s preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, apologized today for comparing the media attacks to “collective violence” against Jews, saying “I am truly sorry to have hurt the feelings of Jewish friends.”