Pope's preacher compares child abuse row to anti-Semitism
MY COMMENT: So this is the man who preaches to the Pope. With respect, the accusations against the Pope are specifically about what he personally did and did not do in relation to stopping child abuse by people over whom he had control. This bears no comparison with anti-semitism. It sounds like a smoke-screen to me.Rev Raniero Cantalamessa is the only person allowed to preach to the Pope
Pope Benedict's personal preacher has compared criticism of the pontiff and Church over child abuse to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.
The Rev Raniero Cantalamessa was speaking at Good Friday prayers in St Peter's Basilica, attended by the Pope.
In his sermon, he quoted a Jewish friend as saying the accusations reminded him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism".
Thousands of pilgrims are in Rome for the Easter rituals.
Father Cantalamessa said Jews throughout history had been the victims of "collective violence" and drew a comparison with recent attacks on the Church.
He read the congregation part of a letter from a Jewish friend who said he was "following with disgust the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope...
"The use of stereotypes, the shifting of personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism," he quoted from the letter.
Father Cantalamessa, the preacher to the papal household, is the only person allowed to preach to the Pope.
The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says the comments show the Church is continuing to defend itself rigorously and outspokenly against accusations of having covered up child abuse.
Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, of the American Jewish Committee, called Father Cantalamessa's comments "an unfortunate use of language", AP news agency reported.
"The collective violence against the Jews resulted in the death of six million, while the collective violence spoken of here has not led to murder and destruction, but perhaps character assault," he said.
The Roman Catholic Church has been embroiled in fresh allegations of child sex abuse by priests, most recently in Germany.
The Pope has been accused of failing to take action against a suspected abuser during his tenure as archbishop of Munich - a claim the Vatican strongly denies.
Critics also say that when he was head of the Vatican office dealing with sex abuse, he did not act against a US priest who is thought to have abused some 200 deaf boys.
Later on Friday, the Pope is due to take part in the Way of the Cross procession at Rome's Colosseum commemorating Christ's crucifixion. While there he is expected to deliver a short homily.