The Deacon's Bench

At mass this Palm Sunday, New York’s Archbishop had a few things to say about this week’s news — and was roundly applauded for it:

Archbishop Timothy Dolan was greeted with applause after finishing Palm Sunday Mass by defending Pope Benedict XVI against suggestions he aided cover-ups of reports of child abuse.

The standing-room-only crowd at St. Patrick’s Cathedral applauded for 20 seconds after Dolan read a statement calling the pope the “leader in purification, reform and renewal that the church so very much needs.”

Still, Dolan said reports of abuse of minors by some priests in Ireland and Germany and the retelling of the abuse of children by a priest in Wisconsin had “knocked us to our knees once again” and intensified the somberness of Holy Week, the most sacred time on the Christian calendar.

He urged the Manhattan congregation to pray for the pope, saying he was suffering some of the same unjust accusations once faced by Jesus.

“Anytime this horror, this vicious sin, this nauseating crime is reported, as it needs to be, victims and their families are wounded again, the vast majority of faithful priests bow their heads in shame anew and sincere Catholics like you experience another dose of shock, sorrow and even anger,” Dolan said.

He added: “What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem almost frenzied to implicate the man.”

Read the rest here.

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