The Vatican is ratcheting up its counterattack against accusations that Pope Benedict XVI helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests to save the church's reputation.
Senior cardinals in Rome are decrying what they depict as an anti-Catholic `'hate" campaign that they say is related to the fact that Benedict is leading church opposition to same-sex marriage.
Vatican Radio on Tuesday quoted Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, a Holy See official, as saying the church must pardon its attackers for what he called "hatred against the Catholic church."
Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, who heads a Vatican disciplinary commission, says the pope is being attacked because of his stands against abortion and same-sex marriage. Herranz is quoted as saying powerful lobbies want to impose a different agenda.
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