Catholics show full support for pope amid sex scandals
Catholics came in full force at Saint Peter’s Square Sunday in a show of support for Pope Benedict XVI amid sex clerical abuse scandals rocking the church, VOANews.com reported.
The people amassed in tens of thousands early in the morning, many carrying large banners declaring solidarity, as families and children shouted slogans of support. The crowd was composed of dozens of lay movements and voluntary associations who organized this meeting to back the pope, according to VOANews.com.
Such large crowds as this are often reserved for holiday Masses and canonizations, rather than for Pope Benedict’s brief weekly prayer. However, the church was also marking the World Day for Social Communications, VOANews.com said.
The pope had just returned from Fatima, Portugal where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to three children. In that trip the pope expressed once again the church stand in the belief that human life begins upon conception, and that marriage is indissoluble and should be between a man and a woman, according to Metroweekly.
The pope said these initiatives, along with others, form “..essential elements in the building of the civilization of love. He added that it fits closely with “…the message of Our Lady which resounds in this place: Penance, prayer and forgiveness aimed at the conversion of hearts,’ Metroweekly said.
The show of support also follows several actions the pope had done including meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse in Malta, accepting the resignation of several bishops, visiting the Shroud of Turin and now, visiting Fatima in Portugal.
The pope thanked the crowd for their warmth, trust and presence in such large numbers. He said their strong showing reflected their closeness to the Church, the pope and priests, VOANews.com reported.
The pope also said the true enemy to combat is spiritual sin, which, he said, sometimes also infects members of the Church, VOANews.com reported.