April 12, 2005

Chicagoan's protest turns into frenzy

Chicago Sun-Times

April 12, 2005


VATICAN CITY -- As Barbara Blaine stepped out of the driving rain and over the border from Rome into Vatican City on Monday to seek shelter under the Bernini columns of St. Peter's Square, she was greeted by a horde of journalists recklessly wielding cameras and a clap of thunder of biblical proportions.

Then, as they say, all hell broke loose. A scrum of more than 50 reporters -- most Italians or other Europeans -- surrounded Blaine, founder of the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who had come to the Vatican to protest former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law's celebration of a requiem mass honoring Pope John Paul II on Monday evening.

As the crowd surged, and Blaine, a petite Chicago attorney who says she was sexually abused by a parish priest in Ohio when she was in middle school, disappeared beneath menacing camera lenses, Italian police swept in and formed a human chain around her.

Shouting and pushing at the crowd of reporters to get back, at least a half-dozen uniformed police officers shuffled Blaine to the curb on the street just outside St. Peter's Square and deposited her back over the border into Rome.

"I don't know where that came from," Blaine said a few hours later as she sat having dinner, still soggy from the rain and a little shaken from the experience. "We're afraid to go back. But we're going to do something. We just don't know what."

Posted by kshaw at April 12, 2005 11:25 AM