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Vatican doctrine chief likens mood toward Catholic Church in US, Europe to anti-Jewish pogroms

The Vatican's head of doctrine says critics in North America and Europe are conducting a "concerted campaign" to discredit the Catholic Church that is resulting in open attacks against priests.

In an interview published Saturday by Germany newspaper Die Welt, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller likened the sentiment directed toward the Church to that of the pogroms against Jews in Europe.

Mueller, who leads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was quoted as saying that those attacking the Church borrow arguments used by totalitarian ideologies such as Communism and Nazism against Christianity.

In recent years, the Catholic Church has faced growing criticism in Europe and North America for its handling of sexual abuse cases and its opposition to contraception, same-sex marriage and the ordination of women.