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A troubled time for the Catholic church



This Sunday is one of the most important dates on the Roman Catholic calendar.

Catholic churches like Our Lady of the Mountains in Whistler will be packed to standing room only this weekend; this is one Sunday mass that Catholics are not supposed to miss.

But this year Easter comes at a time when the Catholic church is bending under the weight of heady accusations of widespread sexual abuse and cover-ups from the top.

This year Catholics throughout the world might be taking a harder look at their faith as their church struggles to come to terms with another grisly chapter in its long, controversial history.

They might be asking why the same sad story continues to plague their church.

It's the story of men in position of trust, abusing teenaged boys, and of higher ups protecting the guilty.

In B.C. a RCMP Native Indian Residential School Task Force was formed about seven years ago.

The task force was set up to investigate complaints of physical and sexual abuse at church-run residential schools around B.C. Some of those schools are Catholic schools.

Six former church employees have been charged with sex offences so far.

More recently, two high profile cases of sexual abuses from the clergy have come to light in the U.S.

These stories involve a Boston cardinal who knowingly covered the actions of a pedophile priest and a Florida bishop who molested teenage boys in the 1970's.

And the scandals don't stop in America.

The church in Ireland paid out $175-milllion to sex abuse victims earlier this year. The archbishop of Vienna was disgraced over accusations he was abusing seminary students. A Polish archbishop has been accused of the same thing.

And in Africa stories are coming to the surface about nuns being abused by priests, an ongoing problem that the nuns claim the Vatican knew about all along.

The accusations have spread wherever the church has spread. And the church has spread everywhere.

In his annual Easter-time letter to the clergy, Pope John Paul II addressed the issue at hand.

He wrote:

"As priests we are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mystery of evil at work in the world."

The recent developments and the bad public image couldn't come at a worse time.

These days young men aren't exactly banging down the church doors for job interviews.

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