The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI is marking the fifth anniversary of his election by hosting a lunch with cardinals. Monday's anniversary is clouded by a clerical sex abuse scandal that has been rocking the Catholic Church for months, causing its gravest crisis of recent times.
A Vatican statement said Benedict was having lunch at the Apostolic Palace with cardinals present in Rome. The pope returned from a two-day trip to Malta on Sunday evening, The Associated Press says.
When he was elected pope, Benedict stressed the need for a Christian revival in an increasingly secularized Europe.But recent clerical sex abuse revelations in Ireland, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands and elsewhere, seem to have further widened the gap between European Catholics and their Church.
The president of the Association of Young German Catholics, Dirk Taenzler, said recently, "there's no such thing as a generation Benedict.", NPR reports.
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia