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Newsbriefs: Pope says Cardinal Martini's love for Bible guided his life

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MILAN, Italy (CNS) — The late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini was a "generous and faithful pastor of the church," who not only studied the Bible, "but loved it intensely and made it the light of his life," Pope Benedict XVI said. In a message read at Cardinal Martini's funeral Sept. 3 in Milan, where the cardinal had served as archbishop from 1979-2002, the pope said the Jesuit cardinal's love of Scripture enabled him "to teach believers and those searching for truth that God's word is the only word worthy of being listened to, accepted and followed." Cardinal Martini, a renowned biblical scholar, died Aug. 31 at the Jesuit retirement center near Milan after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. His body was transferred to the city's cathedral Sept. 1 where, according to the Archdiocese of Milan, 200,000 people filed past his body to pay their respects. Pope Benedict's message to mourners, read at the funeral by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, praised Cardinal Martini's "great openness" and willingness to engage in dialogue with everyone, to explain the reasons for his faith and hope. Cardinal Martini's funeral followed the Ambrosian rite, a liturgical tradition particular to Milan. The archdiocese said 6,000 people filled the cathedral for the Mass, while another 15,000 watched on big screens placed in the square outside the church.Priest apologizes after rebuke for comments on sexual abuseNEW YORK (CNS) — Father Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal who has long been a popular speaker and television personality, apologized Aug. 30 for interview comments he made that were published online two days earlier, saying that "in a lot of cases" the victim of child sexual abuse is "the seducer." Father Groeschel also had said priests who have committed abuse just one time should not go to jail. In the interview, Father Groeschel referred to Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted in June on 45 charges relating to the sexual abuse of 10 different boys, as a "poor guy." "I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim," said Father Groeschel, 78, in an Aug. 30 statement. "A priest — or anyone else — who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be." Eternal Word Television Network announced Sept. 3 that Father Groeschel had decided to step down as host of its "Sunday Night Prime" television show after consulting with EWTN and his religious community. "Father Benedict has led a life of tremendous compassion and service to others and his spiritual insights have been a great gift to the EWTN family for many years," said Michael Warsaw, president and CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Network, in a statement. "At the same time, we ask our EWTN family to pray for all those who have been affected by this painful situation and in particular those who have been victims of sexual abuse," he added. Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said in an Aug. 30 statement before Father Groeschel's apology that the priest's comments were "simply wrong." Zwilling added, "Although he is not a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, what Father Groeschel said cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. The sexual abuse of a minor is a crime, and whoever commits that crime deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

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