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Papal Preacher Calls for Day of Fasting over Pedophile Priests

Pope Benedict's personal preacher says the Roman Catholic Church should hold a day of fasting as a public sign of repentance and an expression of solidarity with the victims of clerical sex abuse.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, denounced what he calls "abominations" committed by members of the clergy.

He said the time has come to "weep before God" during a day of penitence for the abuses. He spoke in a Vatican chapel in the presence of the pope.

Pope Benedict recently condemned sexual abuse by priests in a speech to a delegation of bishops from Ireland. The pope says the church must rebuild confidence and trust damaged by the abuse.

Sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church have erupted recently in the U.S., Ireland and other countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.