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Prelates defend John Paul II on abuse crisis

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ROME --tWhile victims of clerical abuse in the United States are blasting the beatification of Pope John Paul II for “rubbing more salt into the wounds” caused by the abuse crisis, two prelates who worked with the late pope, one a Slovakian and another an American, insisted that the crisis does not disqualify John Paul from sainthood.

tA statement released today by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the main victims’ advocacy group in the United States, asserted that “in more than 25 years as the most powerful religious figure on the planet, John Paul II did almost nothing to safeguard kids across the world.”

tJohn Paul, according to the SNAP statement, “ignored or promoted stunningly complicit church officials,” and “on that basis alone, beatifying John Paul II shouldn’t be considered, much less ‘fast-tracked.’”

tIn Rome, however, prelates who knew the pope argued that a tight focus on the sexual abuse crisis misses the big picture of what John Paul II was all about.

Urban Mystic at the Crossroads: the video

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Today in 1992, four Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted of the beating of Rodney King and Los Angeles erupted in rioting. The beating of King, which had been video tapped, the trial and acquittal were seminal events in the history of race relations in this country.

Last year I interviewed the Rev. Scott D. Young about his annual pilgrimage to the site of the flash point of the civil unrest following the acquittal of the police officers in the Rodney King case.

Kids Around the World See a New Role for Royalty

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ABC News, like every other news network, is fixated on today's royal wedding. In one of the seemingly endless series of preparatory stories, Diane Sawyer and the ABC news team interviewed children in England, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Islamabad and Moscow. They asked these groups of 7- and 8-year-olds what they think it's like to be a prince or a princess.

Thoughts on communion denial

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Yesterday's news about a Texas boy with cerebral palsy being denied the Eucharist in a first Communion Mass is awful on a number of levels.

First, the reporting in the ABC news piece is shoddy and illustrative of why we need actual religion reporters in our newsrooms: "The important ceremony means the child has been embraced by the church community. And it is accompanied by traditional family celebrations and gifts."

Really? That's what First Communion is? The knowledge of the various sacraments or rites of particular faith groups is Religion Reporting 101, folks, and the ABC team didn't show up for class.

Beatifications and Politics

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E.J. Dionne wrote a very insightful column in today's Washington Post (April 28) calling for a fast track to sainthood for Pope John XXIII. He acknowledges that church politics put Pope John Paul II on a "fast track" to beatification, while noting that Pope John XXIII's beatification was kept on a slow track, and completed only when paired with the beatification of the super-reactionary Pope Pius IX.

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