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Church in Ireland ‘has lost all its credibility’, says Archbishop of Canterbury

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The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has lost all credibility because of the child abuse scandal, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

In a rare breach of ecumenical protocol, Dr Rowan Williams criticised the Catholic Church over its handling of the paedophile priests crisis and made plain his anger over the Pope’s plans for a new ordinariate to tempt dissatisfied Anglicans over to Rome.

His comments will add to the cloud gathering over the Pope’s four-day visit to Britain in September, when he is expected to give an address in Westminster on moral values in society. More than 10,000 people have signed a “Protest the Pope” petition on Downing Street’s website against the £15 million cost of the visit, which is to be shared by the Government and the Church.

The Vatican’s troubles mounted when Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher likened criticism of the Church over the sex abuse scandal to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews. At a Good Friday ceremony at St Peter’s Basilica, Father Raniero Cantalamessa told the congregation, with the Pope listening, that a Jewish friend had said that the accusations reminded him of the “more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism”.
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