An insider remembers shocking election of Pope John Paul II
Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez congratulates Pope John Paul II after his election on October 16, 1978.
April 28th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

An insider remembers shocking election of Pope John Paul II

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - John Paul II reigned as pope for so long, travelled so widely, spoke so many languages and stamped his personality and theology so firmly on the throne of St. Peter that it takes a very long memory to remember just what a shock it was when a secretive group of men in red robes selected the Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, to replace the short-lived Pope John Paul I.

Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez has such a memory.

Now 89 years old, the archbishop emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico is one of only five men still living from the 1978 meeting of cardinals in Rome that elected John Paul II.

Looking back as the Vatican prepares to declare John Paul II "Blessed" on Sunday - the last step before sainthood - Aponte is certain he and his fellow cardinals made the right choice.

"I always thought he was a genius, a man who could speak 10 or more languages, a poet, a theologian, a philosopher, a great sportsman," Aponte told CNN.

And he was fearless, the cardinal says.

"He was not afraid of anything, and whatever he had to say, he said it," Aponte says. "He went to Cuba and he was not afraid of (Fidel) Castro. He went to Santo Domingo (in the Dominican Republic) and he was not afraid of the dictatorship there. He spoke his heart."

Aponte remembers the conclave, or meeting of cardinals to elect a pope, in October 1978.

Aponte visits John Paul II on January 5, 2005, four months before the pope’s death.

It was the second conclave that year, the Year of Three Popes, following the unexpected death of Pope John Paul I after a reign barely a month long.

Aponte was stunned to be heading back to the Vatican from Puerto Rico in the wake of the death of John Paul I, who had become a cardinal at the same time as Aponte.

"It was not in any way a source of joy to have to to go back to Rome, especially to elect a successor to John Paul I," who had shown "no sign of sickness" before his fatal heart attack.

Commentators at the time saw John Paul I as a compromise choice between a liberal and a conservative contender for pope, but Aponte insists that such considerations did not come into play when Karol Wojtyla of Poland was elected to replace him.

"In the conclaves, you don't think about liberals or conservatives," he says, noting that he attended the election of three popes. "You have... a great, great responsibility. You have to look for the man that the Church needs, and in that conclave when we elected him, really we did the right thing - we elected the man that the church needed at that time."

Aponte and John Paul II in April 2001, meeting with a delegation from Puerto Rico.

John Paul II's election remains the most emotional moment of Aponte's life, he says.

"We came to congratulate him, but when (Polish) Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski came to pay his respects, the pope stood up and went to him and embraced him," Aponte remembers. "That for us was a terrific moment. We all cried."

It had been more than 450 years since the Italian-dominated College of Cardinals had chosen a pope from outside Italy, and Wojtyla's nationality did play a role in their decision, Aponte says.

"The electors were taking a chance, but they made a wonderful choice. He had suffered a good deal, he had been a prisoner of the Communists," Aponte explains, adding that it helped his cause "that he came from a suffering country."

The choice of a Polish pope reverberated deeply into world history.

A year after he was elected pope, John Paul II visited his native land and told massive throngs of Poles, "Don't be afraid."

The country's Solidarity movement was founded soon after and grew into the most organized resistance to Communism in the Soviet bloc. When the Berlin Wall fell a decade after John Paul's pilgrimage to Poland, many credited him with helping to lay the groundwork for the rebirth of freedom in Eastern Europe.

But Karol Wojtyla's Polish heritage was far from the only factor in cardinals' 1978 decision.

Aponte had first met Wojtyla several years earlier in Philadelphia, at a Eucharistic congress also attended by Mother Teresa, among others.

"He always impressed me as a wonderful person," Aponte says, adding that by October 1978, "he was very well known, with reputation for being a good theologian. In a case like John Paul II you can see the Holy Spirit before he became pope."

Already a frequent flier before his enthronement, John Paul II went on to become the most traveled pope of all time, making 104 foreign trips. He's commonly thought to have been seen in person by more people than any other figure in history.

Aponte went with him on several occasions and was deputized for him on others, and that gave him even more respect for the pope, he says.

"One occasion, he delegated me to represent him on a mission to Mexico and I did so many activities that I don't know how he could do all these activities, especially someone who is not familiar with the food and the climate" of Mexico, Aponte says.

"I was with him in many places - Peru, Ecuador, the United States, Cuba, Haiti. He would never refuse to work. He would work late, he used to get up and come out to the window and greet the people."

His travels changed the world's image of what it meant to be pope, experts say.

"For the most part, popes had been viewed as old Italian guys in white sitting on some gilded baroque throne in Rome," says David Gibson, who has authored multiple books on the papacy.

"He broke out of the golden cage of the Vatican and its protocols and took the papacy to the world rather than expecting the world to follow the road to Rome," says Gibson. And people responded. When John Paul II celebrated mass at Grant Park in Chicago - a city no pope had visited before - in 1979, 1.2 million people showed up.

And his foreign trips served another purpose, Aponte contends.

"His travels made him know the church inside out and get familiar with the needs of the church so he would be able to respond to those needs," he says.

In fact, documents that John Paul II wrote for the millennium continue to guide the Catholic Church years after his death, the cardinal says.

In the final analysis, Aponte argues, John Paul II transcended even the religion which its followers call the Universal Church.

"Remember how successful he was against Communism, for example," Aponte says. "He was not only a pope for the Catholic Church, he was a pope for the world."

"I was in Rome for his funeral," Aponte recalls. "I saw the princes, the kings, the prime ministers who came to attend the funeral of a Catholic priest. That was something that made us think that the church still has a message for the world."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Uncategorized

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Daishin Myoyu

    I think that Karol Wojtyla was above all else a good actor. He was good at playing the role of a charismatic leader. This is most true in terms of his theology which was supplied to him by arch-conservative cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger. Wojtyla's true worth will be estimated by how he tried to cover-up the abuse of children by catholic priest. He might have had a big name on the world stage, but his morality was down with the dogs.

    May 15, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  2. mary

    Why do you talk about only what he didn't menage to do,or what was wrong in his pontificate?Yes,I agree there were many things that could have been resolved in better way,but he was only a human and as everybody could make mistakes.To me what is important in his pontificate is that he was a first pope who "opened"the church to people,who travelled a lot,met with people,went to synagogue ,did much to abolish communism.Sure,he wasn't ideal,but for me the best pope so far.

    May 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  3. Marty Ex-Atheist

    I people would read God's Word the Holy Bible they'd know there is no such a thing as a "pope" as a representative of Christ Jesus but there is a Holy Spirit.

    May 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • sheperd

      but my dear friend jesus himself clearly insructs peter to take care of his flock(the church). one should never look in the literal sense at the bible which may lead to lot of misconceptions and ideas.

      February 15, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Carlton

      Ephesians 4

      September 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  4. observer

    Doug why don't you do a little research and see where so much of our education, organized medicine, etc etc etc came from? Do you ever wonder why are there hospitals with names like St. Jude? Open your eyes. Religion has helped millions of people and continues to help millions of struggling people – both physically and spiritually.

    "Organized religion is what keeps the entire globe from advancing, but it is also the biggest business in the world. No way will you hear truth when there is profit to be made." Profit? Where's the profit? The only "profit" I've seen in Catholicism is being made by lawyers so happy to sue the church on behalf of legitimate and questionable victims and claim they are doing it all in the name of justice....as long as they get to keep their tidy share of the spoils.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  5. observer

    Amazing how so many people try to tie John Paul with the pedophile priests. How is a pope living in Rome managing the theological affairs of billion people supposed to know about a pedophile priest who has managed to fool those living closest to them for decades? He lived the life of a saint and never endorsed anything but goodness and bravery. Had everyone followed his lead, the evil would have been exposed much earlier. How can anyone be blamed for not dealing with something they knew nothing about? Great logic there! Do none of you remember what he said once the scandals started? He said "There is no place in the Church for those who would harm the young." He didn't say "Hey guys, let's cover it up." or "What scandal? The Church makes no mistakes." He made it clear from that statement that pedophile priests did not belong in the church in any way shape or form and should not be supported or covered up. They should be booted out – period. Sheesh. Can't believe so many of you are such idiots.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  6. Doug

    Hmm, maybe I'm just crazy but I think it's pathetic how people feel the need to deify other people that they really know nothing about. Every past pope and all future popes are basically elected officials...except they aren't elected by all of the followers, just the high level followers. Does anyone else see a problem with a hierarchy in matters of faith? Nope, that's why there are billions of Catholics and Protestants alike.

    Organized religion is what keeps the entire globe from advancing, but it is also the biggest business in the world. No way will you hear truth when there is profit to be made.

    May 2, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  7. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

    I am glad that this Pope was beatified! I am writing a dissertation on him, and need his help in Heaven. He now is very popular in God's House, among the Saints. They can discuss my needs. I am convinced that Pope John Paul now knows how important is the work being written about his teology of suffering for the world and for the Church! The Saints can get in touch with me and establish communion. They vcan give me advice, and share opinions among themselves (I have previously written on Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint John of the Cross, and Saint Thomas Aquinas). They can also help me with getting more Wisdom from the Holy Spirit, with Whom they are in contact. And they can ask the Providence to provide means for this worthy work, which I doing completely without help. It's a win-win situation that the Subject of my dissertation can now talk with God face to face!

    May 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  8. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

    I am glad that this Pope was beatified! I am writing a dissertation on him, and need his help in Heaven. He now is very popularb in God's House, among the saints. They can now discuss my needs. I am convinced that Pope John Paul now knows how important is the work being written about his teology of suffering for the world and for the Church. The Saints can get in touch with me and establish communion. They can also help me with getting more Wisdom from the Holy Spirit, with Whom they are in comtact. And they can ask the Providence to provide means for this worthy work! It's a win-win situa

    May 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  9. Orlando

    Why people always try to tie Pope John Paul II with this issues? Yes, as a catholic I believe the church at local level should have hand these so-called priest over the local authorities, also, there has been a great number of people coming forward and filing lawsuits looking for money, we all know that.

    April 29, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  10. TheBenedictine83

    Since the molestation incidents happened decades ago (most of them), to tie these in with Pope John Paul II cannot be done. Also, since these incidents occurred on the local level, they should have been handled on that level by local law enforcement. But were they? No. Take the Wisconsin Deaf School case – local police and DA knew about it, but did nothing. Was the local diocesan church at fault, too? Yes, they should never have transferred him as they did. But blame the pope for this and for other matters? No. It cannot be proven other than by innuendo and by "should have"s. It was not until 2001 that the Vatican even took on such matters (unless it involved violations of the Seal of Confession). The person who reformed things so that the Vatican would be told of all such incidents so they could investigate? Pope Benedict XVI, back in his Cardinal Ratzinger days. So good for him, he got it right. But blame Pope John Paul? Mindless, hysterical hyperbole from rabid Anti-Catholics foaming at the mouth.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  11. Pastor Carlton Evans

    The greatest and most effective weapon of the devil "RELIGION"!!! Something God never created or established. He established a Kingdom, designed for all people to enter into. All religions and denominations cause problems and keep people separated and divided. People pray and study for yourself, and let the true spiritual leadership that God has sent help train, educate, and develop you into mature sons and daughters of His Kingdom!!! Wake Up People!!!

    April 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Artist

      Pastor Evans, interesting a grown adult who believes in myths telling people to wake up.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • gerald

      "On this rock I will build my CHURCH". Sorry pastor you are wrong. Your assertion is historically ignorant if you read the post apostolic fathers and note that Peter went to Rome and there is a direct line from him to benedict.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... no, you are wrong... i talked to Peters mother in law and she said he wasnt catholic.... he was a Christian

      April 29, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • gerald


      You don't even know what Catholicism is quite clearly. You make a fool out of yourself with a straw man about married priests though its funny you didn't talk to Peter's wife. It's odd she isn't mentioned in Mark 1 and Peter lives with his brother Andy.

      April 30, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Mary West Picard

      Pastor Evans, My name is Mary Picard (Mary West) from Orange Texas. I am looking for my old Pastor at Brownwood Baptist Church in Orange. I was very young,(grade school) and we knew him as Pastor Buddy Evans. I remember his family actually lived in Mid county area and he and his wife were young with young children. For Many years I wanted to find him and catch up with his family. I wanted to thank him for being of sound Doctrine while teaching his congregation. I know have a wonderful Pastor that is an Awesome teacher as well, and I have seen many of my friends and peers fall away to other worldviews, simply because they were not taught the truth from early on. Please let me know one way or another if you are "Buddy Evans".
      By the way, I totally agree with your comment above. I did not even have to read the article, and I realize it was at least 6 months ago. I feel desperately heartbroken for those with false leading WorldViews.
      I Challenge anyone who thinks Religion is not one of the most Evil task used by the Devil to Read the Book of Jude. and Study it from top to bottom with all the references, If you know how to understand the bible, even in the least, who ever reads this in ernest will have their eyes open to how many False teacher are out there. People are begging for the Truth and are willing to let their Ears Be "Tickled" by what they want to hear. BTW.... the challenge is minor... Jude is only 1 Chapter with 25 verses' ............ God Come Quickly..........A Sincere Christ Follower............ Mary Picard

      December 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  12. kimster

    why are all the popes so old??

    April 28, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • SeanNJ

      You gotta wait 50 to 60 years to make sure the indoctrination isn't going to fail. There would be nothing worse for the RCC than a pope who suddenly decided it was all hogwash.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Like politics, it's a lifetime career.


      April 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  13. sqiddy79

    They conveniently forgot to add the part that they look the other way when priest molest innocent children!!

    April 28, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I believe they knew the outcome if they followed Jesus' direction. Jesus tells us to send rapist back to Him. He'll deal with them. Hence, why they refused to abide in Jesus' truth.


      April 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  14. PJ

    There is no doubt he helped many a Pedophile Priest and when he was too ill to do so, his right hand man Benedict took care of things. Googel the Legion of Christ Order and see how their Founder was honored by the Vatican while molesting numerous children including two sons of his own. John Paul's closest friend.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • TheBenedictine83

      This is not true. It is true that Pope John Paul II was a friend of Father Maciel. However, to show that he knew what was going on with him is, and cannot be proven, unless PJ or anyone else has evidence that he knew (good luck with that). So what happened? Pope John Paul was simply duped, like many others, by someone he thought he knew, but in the end, never did. It would be like a good friend of yours for years turns out to be something horrible like a serial killer, and you never knew. So PJ, unless you can prove otherwise, it is best not to speak and be thought an idiot.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Man, hiding man. Refusing to abide in Jesus' wisdom to produce a righteous outcome.

      Nothing new.


      April 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Liz

      "Man, hiding man. Refusing to abide in Jesus' wisdom to produce a righteous outcome.

      Nothing new."

      Man hiding behind a book of fallacy, bringing down society with their intolerance of those that are different than them.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Liz, funny, we've had this conversation before. You're just as guilty.

      Still hiding behind numerous posts (LOL).

      What a coward.


      April 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Liz

      HeavenSent your fears are your enemy, you are the coward, spewing nonsense, representing nothing.

      April 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  15. Reality

    The Apostles'/Saints' Creed 2011: (updated post JPII by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary.

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    April 28, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • gerald

      blah blah blah.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Ed



      April 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Artist

      Reality, I got to admit your posts are no different than heavensent. Does get old.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Liz

      "blah blah blah."

      Typical reaction from Christians who don't have evidence of their God. LOL!

      April 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Ed


      blah blah blah
      @artist considerig it was in response to yet another cut and paste from reality it seems very appropriate

      April 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ligaya

      The absence of evidence doesn"t mean the evidence of absence.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Reality

      What, the Apostle's Creed gets old? Never!!!!

      April 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • gerald


      I've seen him cut and past the same c r a p probably thirty times. I consider more of what aethists say in a day than you do what Christians say in a year. Snore.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Artist, your arrogance is blinding. Both to yourself, as well as, the reader.


      April 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Ralph

      "I've seen him cut and past the same c r a p probably thirty times."

      And we've seen Christians copying and pasting the same crap scriptures probably thirty times! Get over yourself.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • gerald

      Ralph I dare you find 2 posts of mine that are cuts and pastes.

      April 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... maybe not cut and paste but the same blinded apologies for yourself being a priest and defending the other ones

      April 29, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • gerald

      Chiefy I am not a priest. You are a moron.

      April 30, 2011 at 4:17 am |
  16. Jason the Pendleton Rat

    What ever happened to the Devil's Advocate ?
    Isn't the "miracle" cure of one French nun, now relapsed, from Parkinson's Disease, more than a bit problematic ?

    April 28, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  17. Buckminster Fullerene

    English 10001 continued.....
    Its, (CAPITOL I) unfortunate that he tried to do so much good, (COMMA), but (BECAUSE, NOT) becuase the cHurch dealt so poorly with the pedophile priestS, (COMMA) all many of you can see ARE his failingS. Granted it was an epic failure but it is not all he did. This is just proof the church should have handleD the problem better, thEn, (NOT THAN), maybe some of you could have seen this man for the man he was instead of, (JUST SEEING) his biggest failure.

    Time for recess. Class will resume at your next posting.

    April 28, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Ed

      Thanks for you rhelp Bucktooth the troll. Let give you something to correct.


      April 28, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Uhh

      fasst ttyapeemin fa ais sosuschc a basda way ato type...!

      April 28, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Buckminster Fullerene

      Class resumes.
      Thanks for youR (r..no r in help) )help Bucktooth the troll. Let (ME) give you something to correct.
      sdfhweriofqerofqerfvpqerfer (The usual drivel).
      You can go back outside and play now.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • ckbabs

      It's Capital – not capitol. Since you're correcting other's grammar...

      April 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You gots more gooder english then I done has.

      April 28, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Ed

      @Uhh, ckbabs, and Doc I don't know if your were intending your comments as support or not but in either case thanks.

      April 28, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Ed went ad hominem again.

      April 26: git
      April 28: Bucktooth and more

      Wonder what he'll lose it with today. Get back on your meds, Ed.

      April 29, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  18. Ed

    its unfortunate that he tried to do so much good but becuase the curch dealt so poorly with the pedophile priest all many of you can see is his failing. Granted it was an epic failure but it is not all he did. This is just proof the church should have handle the problem better, than maybe some of you could have seen this man for the man he was instead of his biggest failure.

    April 28, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • SadieS

      If at the end of my life people found out that I had actively allowed the ra.pe of hundreds of children and hid the culprits, no matter how great my previous accomplishments were people would always see that as being who I was.... why should this man be different?
      The very fact that they are praising such a man has got to be salt in the wounds of the victims that never received justice and that is horrible and shouldn't be happening.
      If this were anyone else they.would have spent their remaining years in prison where they belonged not in some pampered palace.
      I really hope we are reaching the age that catholic prirsts will no longer be able to hide behind the veil and will go to jail if they commit illegal acts.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Ed

      @Sadies "I really hope we are reaching the age that catholic prirsts will no longer be able to hide behind the veil and will go to jail if they commit illegal acts"

      me too

      April 28, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • ed

      Man..>Christianity is full of molestation and torture _ I am looking at Islam for the truth now.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • gerald


      The reasons why priests have not been prosecuted are the same as for the general public. The cases in the general public are far greater than in the priesthood. This problem is epidemic in our society with over 38 million victims. Only a small number by priests and the number among your protestant denominations is at least as high. Statute of limitations is the primary reason many of these priests were not prosecuted, not the coverup so many claim, though there were certainly some coverups. Vicitims don't often come forward until after the SOL is expired unfortunately. That is why lawsuits have been the primary means of retribution.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ed, Jesus told man (meaning woman too) what would happen if they refuse to abide in His wisdom. We are suppose to send rapists, as do pre-meditated murderers, up to Him too. Jesus will judge them. Man (meaning woman too) can not judge them on earth.


      April 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ed

      @HeavenSent There are 2 types of s-i-n in the world s-i-ns against man and s-i-ns against god. All s-i-ns against man are also s-i-ns against God. Not all s-i-ns against God are s-i-ns against man. for-ni-ca-tion is a s-i-n against God because it breaks his rules but not man becasue it has no human vic-tim. Let God judge all s-i-ns against God or Man. But we have the right and the responsibilty to protect ourselves and each other for s-i-ns against man r-a-p-e and pe-do-ph-il-ia are s-i-ns against man and we should jud-ge them and pun-ish the cri-mi-nals after a fair trial with real eviden-ce none of the vi-gi-lan-ty stuff. But we should pun-ish them.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ed you are clueless and you know I am right. I am right because I quote and stick to God's word. You probably do not hear God's voice and have you ever wondered why?

      April 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ed, obviously phony heavensent is on the loose today.

      Man changed God's law. Hence, why rapists and most pre-meditated murderers are alive today.


      April 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Ed, obviously phony heavensent is on the loose today. Man changed God's law. Hence, why rapists and most pre-meditated murderers are alive today. Amen.
      REAL Heaven Sent,
      Someone is missing from this lively discussion and have been silent for a while! I wonder if that person icould be the fake HS. HEY Tom, Tom, where are you?

      April 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I noticed Tom is not around when fake heavensent is around. I know Tom is working for CNN. How much are they paying you to block my posts? How much to block the truth?

      April 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • chief

      its pathetic how the catholics protect their own at the expense of kids.... if they spent as much time having ped priests convicted as they do on abortion, there wouldnt be any ped priests.... perhaps they are afraid that the priest may talk...

      April 29, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • gerald

      chiefy, that you back here claiming to be an advocate for kids while wanting them contracepted out of existence. Ya, you care about kids all right.

      April 30, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Ed..the problem is that we have churches who think they are above mans law and continue to self police, which they are unable to do.

      April 30, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      On April 26, Ed said "git" first. He went all ad hominem.

      April 30, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  19. SadieSadie

    All of his 'good deeds' are overshadowed by the fact that he wouldn't man up and expell the pedop.hiles that are taking sanctuary within the church. It makes me sick that so many people praise this man and completely ignore the huge white elephant in the room. He is no better than a mother that sits back and allows her children to be diddled by their father because she doesn't want to rock the boat. Disgusting.

    April 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Kyss My Ring

      I think you meant a "pink elephant". "White elephants" refer to something else entirely, which you can look up.

      April 28, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Uhh

      I think it's just "elephant"

      April 28, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • KYss My Ring

      I stand corrected. Thank you.
      "Elephant in the room" is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. – Wikipedia
      Seeing pink elephants" is a euphemism for drunken hallucination, caused by alcoholic hallucinosis or delirium tremens. The first recorded use of the term is by Jack London. – Wikipedia
      A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable but burdonsome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth. From the story that the kings of Siam (now Thailand) were accustomed to make a present of one of these animals to courtiers who had rendered themselves obnoxious, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance. In modern usage, it is any an object, scheme, etc., considered to be without use or value.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • gerald

      Evidently you find yourself able to judge how much he knew and what he did and didn't do with very little knowledge of both civil and Church due process, canon law, changes in rules, education, and procedures etc.. JP II did much to reform the rules regarding abuse. More is being done by Benedict. That is what they are supposed to do. Local Bishops are supposed to follow those rules. Once again you go on the attack.. How are your protestant Churches doing? Hmmm maybe you shouldn't be pointing fingers. Do a search on baptist peds. Or go to reformation dot com. Search Phil Jenkins and check out his work. He, a protestant professor, believes the incidence of abuse is higher among protestants. But you don't hear near the stories of it.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ed

      @gerald I agree with your point the scandal in the catholic church gets more headlines. I agee JPII did try to fix it some. But there is much work to be done. Saying look at the other bad guys does not change the facts for the catholics. we need to clean our house first.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • gerald

      Didn't say it did. I agree it's a damn mess. Just hate the finger pointing when their churches are as full of sinners. We are all sinners.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      SadieSadie, it's an elephant (cough) irrelevant now. The ones in power now need to correct the wrong done and throw those criminal priests behind bars.


      April 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • SadieS

      I have never nor will I ever say I am without sin. I am human therefore I sin.
      I am not judging anyone I am simply stating things as I see them. And what I see is a system of business within the catholic.church that is corrupt. It is being used (and has been for decades) to hide and protect priests from facing justice after doing some horrible crimes. Priests that had a history of bad behavior were shipped to different churches where the congregation had no idea what kind of criminal had been placed in their midst to prey on their children.
      This history is fact, it has been docu.mented by the victims and by some brave church officials that were sick and tired of harboring snakes within their numbers.
      Does ped.ophilia happen in other churches? Of course it unfortunately does, it happens on all areas of society. The difference is, is that if a child is brave enough to step up and point a finger most other people are punished by the law. Too often the catholic church has shushed up victims by paying off the parents or threatening divine punishments on them.(you should read some of the testimonies from victims, they are heart breaking.)
      I think that the very worst part of this whole issue is the hundreds of children who have grown up to distrust the church, Christians and God simply because these 'men' were allowed free reign over these innocent children. What do you think Jesus would have to say about this? We are not supposed to block the path of a child to Jesus.
      Now with regards to John Paul: I know he was just a man and flawed, but you catholics are raising this man up to be something better than others and I simply don't think he should be.
      How much do I think John Paul knew? Well either he was the leader and head of the catholic church who has done all these great things (and thus knew all about this situation and the cover up) or he was simply a figure head and is to be pitied for being used as a pawn and not deserving of any praise. You take your pick...
      Covering up a crime makes you as guilty as the criminal, even if you have never committed the act yourself.
      BTW. I would be just as vocal about this if it were a protestant pastor or a secular man getting praise in a situation like this.

      April 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • SadieS

      BTW I do realize that it is 'elephant' thank you for correcting me.

      April 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • gerald

      I have read them Saddie. You make the mistake of thinking I have my head in the sand on this. I don't. It is sickening. But your judgement is skewed whether you want to admit it or not. No priests don't sin an more than others. The Baptists themselves in fact admit that 11-13% of their pastors have had contact with women other than their wives. Things are as hushed up in your protestant churches is my point. They also don't get as much attention because Catholic Church structure allows for bigger payouts in lawsuits. I am not against victims suing and am not against the awards they have received. I am just stating a fact. So who is going to start rattling the chains of protestantism to out the peds we know are there. Everybody is crowing about the CC after the fact.

      April 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • chief

      well well... once again instead of trying to fix the problems of the catholic church like ramped pedophillia and coverups..... a priest comes out ( no pun there ) and says to look up the apologist phil jenkins and point his finger at the baptists.... have the baptists paid out over 3 BILLION in out of court settements to cover up abuse claims? i say not my dear priest friend gerald

      April 29, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • gerald


      With rational thought like that who needs a brain. Not you. Clearly you don't think very deep and have difficulty with cause and affect. Note parishes are not sued in the CC. Diocese are. Baptist Churches don't have diocese. The local Church is autonomous. Therefore there is not big money in suing them. I am not against the lawsuits I am against ignorance. Get an education chiefy.

      April 30, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Frenchy

      For all the good that JPII has done, that's the one thing you're going to remember for ever about this guy? So, with all the "good" you've done in your pathetic life, shall you be remembered for that lie you told? Or that you didn't help that one person who asked you? Get over yourself.

      May 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.