April 11, 2005

Bill O'Reilly: Saying goodbye to the Pope

Naples Daily News

By BILL O'REILLY, Creators Syndicate
April 11, 2005

It's too bad the cable TV news coverage of the Pope's death has desensitized some Americans. The wall-to-wall commentary quickly became tiresome to many, and millions tuned out. That's a shame, because Pope John Paul's life is very much worth examining.

Here is a man who was undeniably saintly, a person who lived on this earth but operated in a spiritual zone few of us could ever contemplate. He considered worldly matters only in the context of what God "expected." Practical problem solving was not the Pope's priority. He was truly a faith-based man.

In the summer of 2003, I traveled to Rome to find out why the Pope had been so publicly detached from the American priest scandal. As a loyal Catholic, I was angry that the Pontiff had not been more proactive in punishing people like Cardinal Law, who obviously had stonewalled the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy members. My public criticism of the Pope led the Catholic League to bitterly criticize me, so I wanted to be absolutely sure that my opinion of the Pope's conduct in that terrible matter was based on facts.

While in Rome, I learned a lot about the Pope from people who worked with him daily. They were fearful of speaking on the record because the Pope's advisors did not brook dissent. Any open criticism of John Paul was not tolerated by the Holy See.

Off the record, I found out that the Pope was deeply hurt by the sexual abuse situation, but was convinced by his advisors that it was an "American" problem. Thus, when he visited Canada in 2002, he declined a meeting with some sexual abuse victims. Apparently, the Pope's advisors felt the meeting would be too stressful for the ailing Pontiff.

Posted by kshaw at April 11, 2005 01:32 AM