Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, voiced his support and solidarity with Pope Benedict on Tuesday. The prelate underscored that, as Jesus was not at fault for the betrayal of Judas, neither are Pope Benedict XVI or bishops to be blamed for the "grave faults" of priests.
Speaking to the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in Rome, the cardinal explained that "before these unjust attacks we were told that we are making mistakes in strategy, that we should react differently. The Church has its own style and does not adopt the methods that are being used against the Pope today.
"The only strategy we have comes to us from the Gospel," he said.
The dean of the College of Cardinals went on to say that the Christian community feels "justly hurt" when attempts are made to involve it en masse "in the grave and painful acts of some priests, transforming individual fault and responsibility into collective fault.”
He later underlined that "if any minister has been unfaithful, you can't and you shouldn't generalize.
"Certainly, we suffer, and Benedict XVI has asked forgiveness many times," he noted. "But it is not Christ's fault if Judas has betrayed (him). It is not a bishop's fault if one of his priests has stained himself with grave faults.
"And surely the Pontiff is not responsible," said Cardinal Sodano.
The cardinal also explained why he spoke out on behalf of the "people of God" in support and admiration of the Pope before this past Sunday's Mass.
The Easter Liturgy, he said, offered a good occasion to "reaffirm the deep relations of unity that hold all members of the Church close to him who the Holy Spirit has put in place to guide the community of believers."
Cardinal Sodano also expressed the support of the College of Cardinals and the world's 400,000 priests for the Holy Father, referring to a passage from John's Gospel for inspiration: "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."
The cardinal said he feels "a duty to recognize Benedict XVI for the apostolic devotion with which he gives his daily service to the Church.
"My words were born also of a personal demand, from the profound affection that I hold for the Vicar of Christ."
Cardinal Sodano said that "in addition to offering a witness of closeness to the Pope," his words of support "were an invitation to serenity. It is a call that the Pope himself, firstly and continuously, makes to the Church and to the world, following his grand predecessors on the chair of Peter."