Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about." When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away ." Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man !" And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.
I went to Good Friday services today, and the preacher spoke of how Peter "allowed the force of his own denial to knock him to the ground." Peter, the very rock upon whom Christ built the Church, denied knowing Jesus. But Peter, the lesson went, responded to the gravest of sins with humility and a penitent heart. I then returned back to my office to read the following about Peter's successors in Rome:
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher on Friday likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.
Words fail me.