Parishioners, clergy back Pope at Easter service

Washington (AP)-The Archbishop of Washington together with parishioners voiced their support for Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday amid accusations he perpetuated a climate of cover-up for pedophile priests. The pontiff and many bishops have been assailed by accusations from victims of clergy sexual abuse that Benedict helped shape and sustain a climate of cover-up toward the crimes against children in parishes, schools, orphanages and other church-run institutions.

Victims and their advocates are demanding that Benedict take personal responsibility. Some of the congregants attending Easter Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington DC on Sunday said their faith is not shaken by the revelations and that they continue to support the pontiff. Some others suggested that the Vatican has waited too long to deal with the accusations.

Inside the cathedral, nearly two thousand worshippers gathered participate in the sacrament and to hear the Easter homily. In his homily, Archbishop Donald Wuerl did not make mention of the accusations. At the end of the service, he strongly urged congregants to read an editorial printed in the Catholic Standard and re-printed in the church bulletin.

The Catholic Standard is a newspaper for Catholics in the United States. The editorial urges support for Pope Benedict and to recognize that reported incidents took place decades ago before church policies and legal practices were in place to deal with sexual predators in the clergy. The archbishop said he felt that there is "another whole side to this story" that needs to be told.

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