In remarks following Palm Sunday Mass, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York urged Catholics “to express our love and solidarity” for Pope Benedict, who, given the recent media onslaught over sex abuse allegations, is “now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.”
Following the March 28 Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral, the prelate began his brief statement by stating that the “somberness of Holy Week is intensified for Catholics this year” as the “recent 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, has knocked us to our knees once again.”
“Anytime this horror, vicious sin, and 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 experience another dose of shock, sorrow, and even anger,” Archbishop Dolan said.
But the Archbishop of New York found a more troubling aspect of the recent spate of news. “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,” the archbishop asserted.
“Sunday Mass is hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias, and hyperbole of such aspersions,” he added.“But, Sunday Mass is indeed the time for Catholics to pray for … Benedict our Pope.”
“And Palm Sunday Mass is sure a fitting place for us to express our love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.”
Archbishop Dolan then defended Pope Benedict from the articles attempting to establish that he mismanaged sexually abusive priests.
“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,” Archbishop Dolan stressed. “The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made – documented again just last week by the report made by independent forensic auditors – could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.”
“Does the Church and her Pastor, Pope Benedict XVI, need intense scrutiny and just criticism for tragic horrors long past?” the prelate asked. “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.”
“Sorry to bring this up,” Archbishop Dolan concluded, “… but, then again, 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.”