The Vatican official who compared the fallout from the church's alleged cover-up of child sex-abuse cases to the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism" has acknowledged the subsequent firestorm of criticism but stopped short of apologizing. "If—and it was not my intention to do so—I hurt the sensitivities of Jews and victims of paedophilia, I am truly sorry and I ask for forgiveness," Raniero Cantalamessa said in an interview with an Italian newspaper.
Benedict was in the room for the Q&A with a reporter from Corriere della Sera, notes Reuters. Cantalamessa defended his boss, saying, " Not only did the pope not inspire me but, like everyone else, heard my words for the first time like everyone else during the liturgy in the basilica." Although he's the preacher to the papal household, Cantalamessa isn't part of the githt-knit inner circle advising the pontiff, reports the AP. To see Cantalamessa's reaction in the original Italian, click here.