NEW YORK, MARCH 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York brought hearty approval from a standing-room-only crowd at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Palm Sunday when he defended Benedict XVI against “unrelenting insinuations” in the scandals of sexual abuse.
The archbishop asked the congregation for a couple of minutes of patience at the end of the lengthy Mass, and then said the “somberness of Holy Week is intensified for Catholics this year” by a “tidal wave of headlines about abuse of minors by some few priests, this time in Ireland, Germany, and a re-run of an old story from Wisconsin.”
“What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem frenzied to implicate the man who, perhaps more than anyone else has been the leader in purification, reform, and renewal that the Church so needs,” Archbishop Dolan stated.
The 60-year-old prelate suggested that Sunday Mass is “hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias, and hyperbole of such aspersions,” but it is “the time for Catholics to pray for Benedict our Pope.”
According to the Associated Press report of the archbishop’s words, the congregation responded with 20 seconds of applause.
Archbishop Dolan suggested that Benedict XVI is suffering “some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.”
“No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI,” he affirmed, asserting that the “dramatic progress” made by the Church in the United States “could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.”
He continued: “Does the Church and her pastor, Pope Benedict XVI, need intense scrutiny and just criticism for tragic horrors long past?
“Yes! He himself has asked for it, encouraging complete honesty, at the same time expressing contrition, and urging a thorough cleansing.
“All we ask is that it be fair, and that the Catholic Church not be singled-out for a horror that has cursed every culture, religion, organization, institution, school, agency, and family in the world. […]
“The Eucharist is the Sunday meal of the spiritual family we call the Church. At Sunday dinner we share both joys and sorrows. The father of our family, ‘il papa,’ needs our love, support, and prayers.”