Abuse Scandal Left Out Of Pope's Easter Address As the Catholic Church is increasingly engulfed in a sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI Sunday delivered his key Easter speech in St. Peter's Square. There were high expectations that he would address the controversy, including accusations that before he became Pope, he personally covered up cases of priests accused of sexually molesting children, but the speech carried no mention of the scandal. Host Liane Hansen speaks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome.
NPR logo Abuse Scandal Left Out Of Pope's Easter Address

Abuse Scandal Left Out Of Pope's Easter Address

As the Catholic Church is increasingly engulfed in a sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI Sunday delivered his key Easter speech in St. Peter's Square. There were high expectations that he would address the controversy, including accusations that before he became Pope, he personally covered up cases of priests accused of sexually molesting children, but the speech carried no mention of the scandal. Host Liane Hansen speaks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome.

LIANE HANSEN, Host:

As the Catholic Church is increasingly engulfed in a sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI today delivered his key Easter speech in St. Peter's Square.

BENEDICT XVI: (Foreign language spoken)

HANSEN: NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is on the line from Rome. Good morning, Sylvia.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Good morning, Liane.

HANSEN: What did Benedict say today?

POGGIOLI: He described him as the solid rock that holds up the Church and told him, the faithful are rallying around you and will not allow themselves to be influenced by what he called the petty gossip of the moment.

HANSEN: And what was the mood among the faithful in the square?

POGGIOLI: I spoke to quite a few people and their reactions ranged from disappointment with the Pope to totally dismissal of the idea that Benedict could have in any way covered up cases of sex abuse by priests. And there were a few people who reacted angrily and absolutely refused to talk to a reporter.

HANSEN: You mentioned what Cardinal Sodano said today. But how - the Vatican as a whole, how is it reacting to this entire controversy?

POGGIOLI: But, you know, more and more revelations are coming out every day from many European countries - not just Ireland and Germany - but also from the Netherlands, Switzerland, and here in Italy at the Vatican's doorstep.

HANSEN: During Good Friday ceremonies, the Pope's preacher ignited another controversy angering Jewish leaders. He compared the attacks on the Pope to anti-Semitism. And there's an update...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POGGIOLI: And today, Father Cantalamessa himself apologized and said he did not want to hurt the sensitivities of Jews.

HANSEN: NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome. Sylvia, thank you very much.

POGGIOLI: Thank you, Liane.

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