PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Catholic Church in Philadelphia began marking the holiest week on the Christian calendar on Thursday, under the cloud of the priest sexual abuse scandal. 

“Today we celebrate Holy Thursday…”

At a Mass at which Archdiocesan priests renewed their commitment to serve, Cardinal Justin Rigali, in his homily, pointed out that this year, the celebration is under difficult circumstances.

“With reference to the sexual abuse of minors, we are all experiencing pain for victims of such abuse, as well as for those brother priests who are so deeply affected by the situation.”   

Four current or former priests, and a former teacher, are criminally charged with abusing children. Twenty-nine priests are under suspension while the archdiocese investigates other accusations.

Rigali asked the people of the archdiocese to pray for their priests, even in times of difficulty.

Watch Oren’s Report …

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio; Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

Watch & Listen LIVE