The situation in Rome is becoming more and more tense as Holy Week and Triduum observances are being overshadowed by the scandals of clergy sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church. The Preacher to the Papal Household in his Good Friday sermon likened the outrage against the Vatican to the anti-semitism of Europe against the Jewish people.
Reaction in the Roman Jewish community was sharp and angry:
"'I am absolutely totally astounded by this. This is folly,' said Amos Luzzatto, a former president of Italy's Jewish communities.
Rome chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, who welcomed the pope in the capital's synagogue last January said: 'This is really in bad taste.'
The pope's personal preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, in a Friday sermon in St Peter's Basilica, said attacks on the Catholic Church and the pope over a sexual abuse scandal were comparable to 'collective violence' against Jews."
Read the full article here.
The Vatican did make clear that this statement by Fr. Cantalamessa was not the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Washington Post coverage of the controversy is here.
In other news regarding the scandals, Pope Benedict was personally implicated in the case of an Arizona Catholic priest in news reports published on Friday by the Arizona Republic newspaper:
The future Pope Benedict XVI took over the abuse case of an Arizona priest, then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood, according to church correspondence.
Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that in the 1990s, a church tribunal found that the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., had molested children as far back as the late 1970s. The panel deemed his behavior - including allegations that he abused boys in a confessional - almost "satanic." The tribunal referred his case to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005.
But it took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take.
Full story here.