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Though Cardinal Levada's attack on The New York Times--which mentioned her by name--failed to draw a public response from columnist Maureen Dowd, a choice quotation from the Vatican's exorcist did. Father Gabriele Amorth apparently told News Mediaset in Italy that the negative portrayals of Pope Benedict XVI, "especially by the New York Times," reports the Catholic News Agency, were "'prompted by the devil.'"

Retorts Dowd: "The Devil didn't make me do it. The facts did." Keeping with her quippy style, she also declares in her Sunday column that "this church needs a sexorcist more than an exorcist." This statement comes after a sharp rebuttal of Amorth's other suggestion that "we should not be surprised if priests too .. fall into temptation." Dowd's response:


Actually, falling into temptation is eating cupcakes after you’ve given them up for Lent. Rape and molestation of children is far beyond what most of us think of as succumbing to worldly temptation.

Dowd also attacks another papal official, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, for comparing the negative press surrounding the Catholic church to anti-Semitism.

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