The Vatican today denied allegations of any cover-up in the sexual scandal allegations and denounced the recent revelations as a “smear campaign” against the Pope and his aides. “This is a pretext for attacking the church,” Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins said. “There is a well-organized plan with a very clear aim,” he said. Saraiva Martins also said that while he was in favor of zero tolerance now, he could understand why some bishops covered up cases of child abuse in the past: “We should not be too scandalized if some bishops knew about it but kept it secret. This is what happens in every family, you don’t wash your dirty laundry in public,” he said. He also accused lawyers of “wanting to make a lot of money” by digging up decades-old cases and filing lawsuits.