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Simon Wiesenthal Center Expresses Outrage by Remarks Today in Rome

"These hurtful remarks were made in the presence of the Pope and the Pope himself should take responsibility and apologize for them."

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center

The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed outrage over the remarks of a senior Vatican priest today who compared the ongoing uproar of sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church to the persecution of the Jews. Father Raniero Cantalamessa made the remarks during a traditional Good Friday service today at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in the presence of the Pope.

"The remarks are shameful, inaccurate and a complete distortion of history," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "How can you compare the collective guilt assigned to the Jews which caused the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people to perpetrators who abuse their faith and their calling by sexually abusing children? These hurtful remarks were made in the presence of the Pope and the Pope himself should take responsibility and apologize for them," Hier concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.