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Priest who said pope should quit called on to resign

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EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. -- A conservative Catholic group has called on a Massachusetts priest to apologize for suggesting that Pope Benedict XVI should resign if he does not take stronger action to confront the church's sexual abuse scandal.

Adding its voice to the uproar over the Rev. James J. Scahill's remarks last weekend (April 3-4), the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts said the priest had effectively accused the pope of lying during four sermons at St. Michael's Catholic Church.

“It is a serious matter when a priest suggests that the Vicar of Christ is a liar,” said C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Dedham, Mass.-based group.

“Prudence and justice would demand that he had unassailable facts and irrefutable evidence to substantiate his charge. Sadly, James Scahill has neither,” he added.

Reached Thursday, Scahill said he does not regret the remarks and will not apologize.

“This has nothing to do with Jim Scahill; it's about the total lack of transparency relating to the abuse of children and minors and the subsequent cover-up for decades,” he said.

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The Catholic Action League is known for conservative stands on abortion, gay rights and other cultural issues. The league denounced church officials for allowing the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's funeral Mass to be held at a Catholic church in Boston last year.

[Jack Flynn writes of The Republican, a newspaper in Springfield, Mass.]

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