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Unbowed by criticism, Benedict XVI celebrates 5th anniversary of papal election

CWN - April 19, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI marked the 5th anniversary of his election as Roman Pontiff on April 19.

At a luncheon celebrating the occasion, hosted by the cardinals in Rome, the Pope acknowledged the turmoil caused by the sex-abuse scandal, but said that the support of the Holy Spirit amid the difficulties. L'Osservatore Romano reported that the Pope spoke about "the sins of the Church," but reminded the cardinals that the Church always enjoys "the consolation of God."

The Vatican newspaper said that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, made a strong statement of support for the Pontiff, praising Benedict XVI for his forthright approach to "the challenges that the modern world poses to each disciple of Christ." Cardinal Sodano-- who himself has been the object of criticism for his longstanding support of the disgraced Father Marcial Maciel-- made headlines on Easter Sunday with a public denunciation of the "petty gossip" against the Pope.

Following a Roman tradition, the anniversary of the Pope's election was a holiday for Vatican employees, who received a small financial bonus to celebrate the occasion.

Secular media outlets, however, generally reported the papal anniversary in somber tones, emphasizing the harsh criticism that Pope Benedict has received in recent weeks.

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