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Pope Dedicates Holy Thursday Mass to Priests

Thursday, 01 April 2010 08:02 AM

Pope Benedict XVI urged priests to oppose violence as he led a ceremony dedicated to the priesthood Thursday, marking a Holy Week with his church buffeted by clergy sex abuse scandals.

"As priests, we are called in fellowship with Jesus Christ, to be men of peace, we are called to oppose violence and trust in the greater power of love," Benedict said in his Holy Thursday homily in St. Peter's Basilica. He made no mention of the scandals.

Spread out before him, in white robes, was row after row of priests, who responded in chorus to his chants in Latin. A choir of men and boys intoned solemn hymns.

The late morning Mass, the first of several appearances Benedict will make in the final days of Holy Week before Easter, was described by the Vatican as a sign of strict union between the pontiff in his role of pastor of the world's 1 billion Catholics and his fellow priests.

In the evening, Benedict will wash the feet of 12 priests — a traditional sign of humility — at a Holy Thursday ceremony in St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome.

Benedict began the morning Mass by sprinkling incense, in a purifying rite, around the central altar of St. Peter's.

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Thursday, 01 April 2010 08:02 AM
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