A senior cardinal defended Pope Benedict XVI from “petty gossip” on Sunday as the pontiff maintained his silence on mounting sex abuse cover-up accusations during his Easter message.

The ringing tribute by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, at the start of Mass attended by tens of thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square, marked an unusual departure from the Vatican’s Easter rituals.

“Holy Father, the people of God are with you and will not let themselves be influenced by the petty gossip of the moment, by the trials that sometimes assail the community of believers,” Sodano said.

So, legal marriages between hets are icky by association but untold thousands of molested and otherwise abused children are “gossip”? It must be so nice to be able to be forgiven for anything, no matter how heinous, by simply asking. Here in consensual reality, actions are supposed to have consequences. Happy fucking Easter.