Pope's preacher: Accusations akin to anti-Semitism

Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa delivers the Good Friday homily during a service celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, April 2, 2010. Cantalamessa, the pontiff's personal preacher, likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews. The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday homily with the pope listening in St. Peter's Basilica that a Jewish friend wrote to him to say the accusations remind him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

April 2, 2010 2:12:41 PM PDT
At a solemn Good Friday service, Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher likened the tide of allegations that the pontiff has covered up sex abuse cases to the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism." But within hours, facing a storm of criticism at the comparison, the Vatican felt it necessary to distance the pope from the preacher's remarks.