April 12, 2005

Vatican: ‘It’s forgiveness.’ Victims: ‘It’s more pain.’


By Stacy Meichtry
Vatican City

If the continuing calls for Pope John Paul II’s sainthood have provided a testament of his enduring charisma, a memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica Monday served as a harbinger of the challenges facing his successor.

Former Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law celebrated one of nine memorial masses for Pope John Paul II, drawing members of an American advocacy group representing victims of clergy abuse to the basilica to protest his role.

Leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) arrived under the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square bearing informational pamphlets and photos of their abusers and were greeted by a throng of rowdy paparazzi. The ensuing scrum prompted police to relocate the delegation across the street from the square, before escorting them into the basilica where they attended a portion of the Mass.

“This isn’t about punishing Cardinal Law,” said Barbara Blaine, founder of the 5,000-member group. “It’s just that his presence in such a position brings about more pain and suffering.”

Posted by kshaw at April 12, 2005 11:38 AM