April 05, 2005

The Legacy of Pope John Paul II


By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!. Posted April 5, 2005.

The Pope died Saturday night at the age of 84. Officials announced the cause of death as septic shock -- an infection causing organ failure and cardiovascular system collapse.

A massive funeral is scheduled to take place on Friday. Rome authorities are braced for as many as two million mourners -- including more than 100 heads of state -- in the largest such event the city has ever seen.

John Paul's 26-year leadership of the Roman Catholic Church was the third longest in history and he was the first non-Italian pope in over 400 years. During his papacy, he visited a record 120 nations and was seen in person by millions. ...

Amy Goodman: What about the sexual abuse scandal?

Angela Bonavoglia: Women were key to the response to the sexual abuse scandal. That, I think, is a very important point. ... Barbara Blaine was sexually abused as a young woman from eighth grade through high school and spent years trying to get justice from the hierarchy in Detroit, where this happened to her. And finally she did get justice, but frankly it wasn't until she was about to go on the Oprah Winfrey Show that they finally relieved that particular priest of his duties. But Barbara, with a handful of people at a hotel room in Chicago in the late 1980s, started Survivors of Priest-Child Sex Abuse, and that organization has grown into over 5,000 people, and really those are the people who are advocates for survivors, who are pushing to get the hierarchy to meet with survivors, who are working to change laws that will make it easier to prosecute in terms of sexual abuse.

Amy Goodman: And the pope's response to the scandal?

Angela Bonavoglia: Well, I think a lot of people would agree that it was lacking. And I don't think he ever took it seriously. People felt he didn't take it seriously enough. And I think the sorriest sign of that was the appointment of Cardinal Bernard Law to head a basilica in Rome, so not only was he not punished in a visible way but he appeared to have been rewarded.

Amy Goodman: Cardinal Law being the former Bishop of Boston.

Angela Bonavoglia: Exactly, who resigned in disgrace because of the priests that had been moved around up there. And all of the children, hundreds and hundreds of children who were victims of sexual abuse in the Boston area.

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2005 04:24 PM