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New York Archbishop defends pope against sex abuse cover-ups

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was greeted with applause after finishing Palm Sunday Mass by defending Pope Benedict XVI against suggestions he aided cover-ups of reports of child abuse.

The standing-room-only crowd at St. Patrick's Cathedral applauded for 20 seconds after Dolan read a statement calling the pope the "leader in purification, reform and renewal that the church so very much needs." Still, Dolan said reports of abuse of minors by some priests in Ireland and Germany had "knocked us to our knees once again" and intensified the somberness of Holy Week, the most sacred time on the Christian calendar.

He urged the Manhattan congregation to pray for the pope. He added: "What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem almost frenzied to implicate the man." - AP

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