This is the season of high holy days: Passover, Pascua, Holy Friday and Easter Sunday. For many Christians, the ritual of this Easter weekend will be punctuated by bursting pink and yellow dresses on little girls, and magnificent hats on their mothers and grandmothers. There will be Easter baskets filled with chocolate eggs and plush bunnies.
A couple of years ago, the Philadelphia archdiocese heard about three priests who had allegedly raped two boys. It gave the priests' files to law enforcement, and a grand jury began to investigate. Then, the grand jury stumbled on a bombshell. A church employee testified that there were many other priests the panel should know about.
"The grand jury found that a policy of zero tolerance was not actually in effect," says District Attorney Seth Williams, "and that there were many priests that had allegations made against them that were still in active ministry."
The archbishop of Philadelphia has suspended 21 priests connected to allegations of child sex abuse, the latest in a series of actions by the archdiocese to deal with findings in a disturbing grand jury report released last month.
The grand jury report accused a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher of abusing kids or failing to prevent abuse by others. It also said that as many as 37 priests remained in active ministry with allegations or reports of inappropriate behavior or sexual abuse of minors.
There is no basis in the scripture for the argument that the Jewish people were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. That's the declaration made by Pope Benedict the sixteenth, in his forthcoming book, "Jesus of Nazareth, Part II". The Vatican released excerpts of the book this week. The charge that Jews were responsible for Christ's persecution has strained relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths for centuries.
Pope Benedict XVI today "signed off on the miracle needed for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, and set May 1 as the date to honor one of the most beloved popes of all times as a model of saintliness for the church," the Associated Press writes.