The official celebrations of Easter weekend have got underway with Holy Thursday mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Contrary to expectations, Pope Benedict did not refer directly to the child sex abuse scandals which have dogged the Catholic Church in Europe and the US.
The Pontiff instead talked about penitence and suffering leading eventually to a deeper joy.
It comes after a lawyer in the US filed a request for the Pope to be called to give evidence in several abuse cases.
The Vatican has prepared legal documents stating that as head of state, the Pope is immune from being called to testify as a witness.