"Attacks on Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church over a sexual abuse scandal are comparable to the most shameful anti-Semitism, a preacher told a Vatican Good Friday service attended by the pontiff," Reuters reports. It adds that "Father Raniero Cantalamessa drew the parallel during a 'Passion of the Lord' service in St Peter's Basilica on the day Christians commemorate Jesus' death by crucifixion."
The Associated Press says Cantalamessa is "Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher" and that "the 82-year-old pontiff looked weary as he sat near the central altar during the early evening prayer service."
According to the AP, during the sermon Cantalamessa read from what he said was a letter sent to him by a Jewish friend:
"The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,'" Cantalamessa said his friend wrote him.