Pope's Preacher Apologizes for 'Anti-Semitism' Abuse Remark

The pope's personal preacher apologized Sunday for saying that criticism of the Catholic Church over child sex abuse was as bad as anti-Semitism.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa made the comments in a Good Friday service in the Vatican, which was attended by Pope Benedict.

"If I inadvertently hurt the feelings of Jews and pedophilia victims, I sincerely regret it and I apologize," he has since been quoted as saying.

The sex abuse scandal looks set to overshadow church services as the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury prepare to deliver their Easter sermons.

Dr. Rowan Williams was forced to apologize after he suggested the Catholic Church in Ireland had "lost all credibility" because of the scandal.

His remarks caused a furor, with Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin saying they left him "stunned" and would be "immensely disheartening" to church workers.

Williams, who presides over the Easter Sunday service at Canterbury Cathedral, said he had not meant to offend or criticize the Irish church.

He later telephoned Archbishop Martin to express his "deep sorrow and regret for difficulties which may have been created (by his comments)," made in a radio interview.

Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland was expected to issue an apology to abuse victims in his Easter address.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien will say sorry to "anyone who has suffered abuse at the hands of anyone representing the Catholic Church."

He will also use his homily at St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, to admit "evils" carried out by some clergymen have left churchgoers "demoralized and confused."

He will say: "We can take no comfort from the fact that only a small percentage of priests committed such crimes.

"We realize we have not been as alert as we should have been to the evils being perpetrated around us.

"Many evils have been committed throughout the world particularly with regard to the sexual abuse of children and young people."

The Vatican faced worldwide criticism, with church authorities accused of "turning a blind eye" to child abuse allegations against priests.

Victims have come forward in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Germany and the United States.

Last month, the pope sent a letter to the people of Ireland to apologize for 16 years of cover-ups.

Pope Benedict has also faced calls to resign after being accused of failing to act over complaints about U.S. priest Father Lawrence Murphy during the 1990s.