The beatification, set for May 1st, of Pope John Paul II is especially painful for survivors of clergy sex abuse. The following open letter to Pope Benedict illustrates the depth of the anguish. It was written by Robert Wilford, an Alachua, Florida commissioner, and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. It appeared in The North Florida Herald.
"Here stand I. I can do no other. So help me God!"
These courageous words proclaimed at the Diet of Worms in 1521 are attributed to Martin Luther when he was directed by this church's legislative body to deny or defend his teachings or suffer the consequences of excommunication as a heretic from the Roman Catholic Church.
I, too, must take Martin Luther's stance and challenge your inexplicable actions in seeking to have Pope John Paul II canonized as one of the church's saints.
John Paul's dastardly behavior, in not addressing the clergy sexual abuse issue confronting his church while he was the leader of the world's Catholics, disqualifies him from this exalted position.