With the Church, beside the
"It is by now a cultural contrast: the
Pope embodies moral truths that are not accepted so that priests'
failings and shortcomings are used as weapons against the Church",
Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in an interview with L'Osservatore
Romano. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, at the beginning of
the Easter Day Mass, in addressing Benedict XVI expressed the affection
and fidelity of all Catholics. He emphasized: "Behind the unjust attacks
against the Pope, there is a perception of the family and of life that
are contrary to the Gospel. The accusation of paedophilia is now being
brandished against the Church. First battles of modernism were waged
against Pius X, then came the offensive against Pius XII's conduct
during the last World War, and finally, against Paul VI, for his
Can your Easter morning
address be interpreted as a reaction to the smear campaign against the
Pope, which in the past few days has been intensified by spurious
accusations of not having mentioned the victims of sexual abuse during
the Easter rites?
In the face of these unjust attacks we are told that we are on the
wrong track, that we should react differently. The Church has her style
and does not resort to the methods that are being used against the Pope
today. The only strategy we have comes to us from the Gospel.
In your opinion how is the Christian community experiencing this
It feels justifiably injured when an
attempt is made to involve the majority of its members, in the affairs
of certain priests
as grave as they are painful
and transforming individual sins and responsibilities into collective
sin, with a truly incomprehensible insistence.
In my address I did no more than give a
voice to the People of God; in the first place to the College of
Cardinals which is one with the Roman Pontiff; but also to the Bishops
and to the 400,000 priests. Yes, I expressly wished to mention the
pastors who spend their lives serving God and the Church. If some
ministers have been unfaithful one cannot and must not generalize. We
suffer from their infidelity, of course, and Benedict XVI has asked
forgiveness on several occasions. But it was not Christ's fault that
Judas betrayed him. It is not a Bishop's fault if one of his priests
sullies himself with grave sins. And of course it is not the Pontiff who
The whole Church is with the Pope: is
this your message?
My words were spoken during the Easter
Liturgy. It is logical that at the most important feasts of the year a
family should cluster round its own father. I therefore considered that
this would be a suitable opportunity to reaffirm the profound bonds of
unity which gather all the Church's members around the One whom the Holy
Spirit has placed at the head of the community of believers.
For my part, as Dean of the College of
Cardinals, I deemed it only right to make that discourse. Like every
Cardinal, my mission is to be beside the Pope always and to serve the
Church usque ad effusionem sanguinis. I feel it is only right to
be grateful to Benedict for the apostolic dedication with which he
carries out his daily service to the Church. My words were also prompted
by a personal need, by my deep affection for the Vicar of Christ.
What inspired you to speak?
In addition to bearing a witness of
closeness to the Pope, my intention was to propose serenity. It is the
appeal that the Pope himself, first and continuously, addresses to the
Church and to the world, in the wake of his great Predecessors on the
Chair of Peter. We should not be surprised by persecution for Jesus told
his Apostles: "'A servant is not greater than his master'. If they
persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will
keep yours also", as we read in the Gospel according to St John.