Vatican's "Voice": For "Credibility's" Sake, The Response "is Crucial"
Still, in his comments -- made in an editorial that ran earlier today over Vatican Radio -- Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi prefaced the point with a judgment that the continuing "wide coverage" the various stories have received in the global press "is no surprise.
"The nature of the question is such as to attract the attention of the media," the Holy See's lead spokesman said.
"The truth is that the cases that have come to public attention generally took place some time ago, even decades ago," Lombardi added, "although recognizing them and making amends with the victims is the best way to restore justice and to achieve that 'purification of memory' which enables us to look to the future with renewed commitment, with humility and trust."
Topping the latest front in the pontiff's defense, the front-page lead column of today's L'Osservatore Romano carried an op-ed by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster originally run in The Times of London which -- in its unedited form -- saw the prelate confess that "I am ashamed of what has happened" while praising Benedict's enhanced action in recent years as proof that the Pope "is not an idle observer. His actions speak as well as his words."
The Palm Sunday WYD for the dioceses of the world is delayed every third year when, in the summer, the celebrated global gathering takes place, its next occurrence at Madrid in August 2011. In the United States, however, the national observance in the local churches was long ago transferred to the 30th Sunday in Ordinary time.
On a related note, Pope Benedict will celebrate a memorial Mass on Monday night in the Vatican Basilica to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his predecessor's death. While Papa Wojtyla died in the evening of 2 April 2005, the date's coincidence with this year's Good Friday necessitated an earlier scheduling for what's become a standing annual event.
As a young priest and part-time secretary to his bishop, in 1975 the current cardinal-primate of All Ireland served a notary at a canonical process that secured confidentiality oaths from two teenage boys as they testified against Norbertine Fr Brendan Smyth, whose prolific history of abuse would eventually make him the island's most notorious predator-priest. The recent disclosure has drawn further public fury in Ireland in the wake of November's Murphy Report on abuse and cover-up in the archdiocese of Dublin and the pontiff's pastoral letter last week to the Isle's Catholics, itself the focus of a conflicted public reaction.
After stating in the face of growing calls for his departure that he'd only stand down at the pontiff's behest, in his St Patrick's Day homily the reigning successor of St Patrick said that he would "be reflecting carefully" on his position "as we enter into Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost."