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Case of Boys Town founder shows long road to making a saint
Edward Flanagan, whom supporters are trying to make a saint, visiting Boys Town in 1942.
March 9th, 2012
10:23 PM ET

Case of Boys Town founder shows long road to making a saint

By Jen Christensen, CNN

(CNN) - Surrounded by TV cameras and an excited crowd, the archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska, taped a notice to the doors of St. Cecilia’s Church last week announcing to the world that his archdiocese was launching a formal process to try to elevate one of its most famous members to Catholicism’s highest honor.

Archbishop George Lucas wants the Vatican to recognize Father Edward J. Flanagan as a saint.

As the founder of Boys Town – the famous Nebraska community for at-risk kids – Flanagan radically transformed how people handle troubled youth. He is known for the saying, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”

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But just because someone does good doesn’t entitle that person to be a saint, at least in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church. Many faiths have their saints, but attaining sainthood may be hardest in the Catholic Church.

By posting a notice about Flanagan, the Omaha archdiocese is embarking on a complicated legal, scientific and surprisingly expensive journey that could take over 100 years to accomplish – if sainthood is achieved at all.

“To be recognized as a saint these days, it may cost upwards of $1 million,” said Steven Wolf, the lead volunteer and president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion. “You essentially need it to pay for a good lawyer and an expensive multi-media campaign.”

Wolf’s organization grew out of a Boys Town alumni group that that came together some 13 years ago to make Flanagan’s case. The group has held monthly prayer meetings at Flanagan's tomb and leads pilgrimages to Boys Town to speak about his life and accomplishments.

“You need splashy videos, a social media blitz, a website, prayer cards and podcasts, not to mention we need to find a couple of miracles,” Wolf said about the sainthood process. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

In the early days of the church, achieving sainthood was easier.

“Until the 13th century, beatification is a local matter and the devotion is the most significant part of the process,” said church historian Alberto Melloni.

Archbishop George Lucas posts a notice at St. Celia's Roman Catholic Church in Omaha to officially launch the campaign to Edward Flanagan a saint.

If enough people thought you were a saint and prayed to you after your death, you became a saint. But that informal process left room for less-than-holy politicking and bribery on behalf of wannabe saints.

Without much vetting, even some fictional characters became saints, including St. Christopher, who for centuries was revered as the patron saint of travelers. In 1969, the Catholic Church removed his saint day from its calendar because it couldn’t prove he ever existed.

To avoid more St. Christophers, the church has over the years set down much more rigid rules for sainthood.

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Flanagan, who died in 1948, easily met the first criterion for sainthood: being dead for at least five years.

The next steps are more challenging. There needs to be spontaneous public support for someone to be placed in the canon of saints – a step known as canonization. Wolf says Flanagan’s candidacy has support in spades.

“Right now, we can’t really get our arms around how many people are involved in praying for Father Flanagan’s intercession,” he said. “It’s not like you get a membership card.”

But since launching a website in 2004 dedicated to making Flanagan a saint, Wolf’s group has heard from people in 36 states and nine countries seeking Flanagan’s help in finding a job, curing a relative’s cancer or saving an aunt who suffered an aneurysm.

After spontaneous public support for a sainthood candidate is demonstrated, the bishop of the diocese where the candidate died needs to open a formal investigation.

But Flanagan didn’t die in Omaha, where he did most of his work. He died of a heart attack while on a mission to Berlin on behalf of President Harry Truman, who had sent Flanagan to address the orphan crisis caused by World War II.

Because Flanagan’s main base of support is in Omaha, advocates for his cause had to petition the Vatican to make an exception to the rule to allow them to lead the sainthood effort.

The Vatican granted the rule change, clearing the way for the next step: The Omaha archdiocese must assemble a tribunal to gather evidence that Flanagan was truly holy.

At a Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church at Boys Town this month, Flanagan will be named a “servant of God” and Lucas will set up the tribunal, which will interview witnesses about Flanagan’s virtue.

If the tribunal rules in his favor, it will pass witness testimony – along with every piece of material written by Flanagan it can collect – to the Vatican. There, a lawyer called a postulator organizes the evidence and presents it in what the church calls a positio to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.

Flanagan’s group has already hired its postulator, a Rome-based lawyer who has become known in the Italian press as “the saint maker.” The lawyer, Andrea Ambrosi, says that 400 current saints have him to thank – in part, at least – for the honor. And he has a caseload of 30 more aspiring saints.

Wolf hired Ambrosi to give Flanagan his best shot at sainthood. “We know of a cause in Michigan that’s been stuck for 60 years, and they’ve been through seven postulators,” Wolf said. “There are not a lot of people doing this sort of thing effectively. If you have any misstep you could be stuck forever.”

Once Ambrosi assembles Flanagan’s positio, nine Catholic theologians examine the dossier. A majority vote among them advances the cause to Pope Benedict XVI, who can designate Flanagan as “venerable.”

But the church also requires two miracles from the prospective saint after his or her death. Peter Gumpel, who scrutinized hundreds of cases of saints in his nearly 50 years as a “devil’s advocate,” fact-checking positios, explains that miracles essentially seal the deal.

“A miracle is some extraordinary fact, especially in the medical field – a cure that nobody expected and suddenly against all expectations this person is cured,” he said. “Miracles are still required because the church has to be absolutely sure what we are doing in canonizing someone conforms to the will of God. To do this, we ask for a sign from God.”

The public campaign for Flanagan has only just started, but Wolf says six people have contacted him to say they believe they’ve experienced a miracle by praying for Flanagan’s intercession.

Wolf hopes at least one of the reported miracles will stand up to church scrutiny. Several local doctors will have to testify that there is no medical explanation for someone’s cure. The person who has been cured will have to testify, too.

That testimony is scrutinized by top doctors and scientists hired by the Vatican – and examined by the pope – before it can be considered a miracle. At that point, a sainthood candidate is beatified. That’s what happened to Pope John Paul II last year, after the Vatican ruled that the case of a French nun who prayed to him and was cured of her Parkinson’s disease was a bona fide miracle.

Then the whole miracle confirmation process begins again, with a second miracle that has transpired since beatification.

“Yes, it is a lot of work. Yes, it is expensive, but it is worth it,” Wolf said. The tribunal, the lawyer in Rome, and the travel required to press Flanagan’s case all cost money.

But Wolf argues that the more people who know about Flanagan’s life and work, the more who will be helped by the priest, as he was.

Wolf didn’t know Flanagan personally, but he is a 1980 graduate of Boys Town. Going there, he says, changed his life.

“Before Boys Town, I spent time in runaway shelters,” he said. “I was locked up in juvenile detention. I didn’t have the best environment growing up,” he said. “But when I got to Boys Town, things changed.”

Today, Wolf helps run a public affairs consulting firm and has five daughters.

“Father Flanagan gave a damn about people like me – kids most people were ready to write off as losers – and it matters,” he said. “That man is a saint. I’ve been won over. I know others will be, too.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Miracles • Nebraska • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (492 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Here another one momoya – Swedish authorities abused half the girls in their care during the 60's and 70's. I'll say it again...one half. Where is the "world ire"? Where are all the "intelligent people with an ounce of empathy?? Haven't heard of this? Think about why.

    March 10, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • momoya

      Which is why the RCC shouldn't have any more members or authority than the "Swedish Authorities.". Thanks for finally seeing sense.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Chad

      The point is, there is nothing inherently "evil" about the RCC. Abuse exists everywhere and while we should certainly expect better than average behavior from the RCC their failure isnt a condemnation of religion, it is merely a sad commentary on the fallen nature of humanity.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • momoya

      Chad,

      So you have no problem with church leaders covering up child abuse?. You don't think the largest church organization on the planet should maybe have a little bit better record on fvcking small boys?. You think the church shouldn't be held accountable the same way any individual or other organization would be?. No, you're too busy using the argument that 'everybody does it so people who claim to speak for god don't have to be held to justice when they do it.'. How disgusting.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Chris, do you have any facts or references to back up your claim about Sweden? This articale would seem to disagree with your, so far unsupported, assertions: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/joan_durrant.html.

      March 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Chris

      "Last year, it was reported that half of the girls fostered in social democratic Sweden in the 50s and 60s had been abused;"
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/mar/11/catholic-abuse-priests

      March 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "The point is, there is nothing inherently "evil" about the RCC. Abuse exists everywhere and while we should certainly expect better than average behavior from the RCC their failure isnt a condemnation of religion, it is merely a sad commentary on the fallen nature of humanity.

      @momoya "So you have no problem with church leaders covering up child abuse?. You don't think the largest church organization on the planet should maybe have a little bit better record on [abuse of] small boys?. You think the church shouldn't be held accountable the same way any individual or other organization would be?.

      @Chad "My point is that the RCC is not alone in abusing children then covering it up, this fact demonstrates that humanity as a whole is evil.
      We absolutely should expect better from the RCC, as I pointed out.
      What those specific priests did and continue to do in that area is wrong and should be prosecuted, but that is not (as you attempt to do), indicative of some underlying evilness of Christian organizations.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chris, do you have any references with substance? That article made a claim with no supporting evidence, and I can't find anything that says child abuse in Sweden was as you claim.

      March 11, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • HotAirAce

      So, Chris, why are you mindlessly repeating unsupported claims? Are you trying to deflect attention away from your cult, the RCC? Of course, throwing out unsupported claims, such as there is a god and the jesus myth, is entirely consistent with being a believer.

      March 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  2. BobR

    And people think Mormonism is crazy. Martin Luther spoke out about the money and oither corruption in the Catholic Church 500 years ago and started the Reformation. The Reformation produced hundreds of protestant churches that can't agree on anything of substance – for example, the Lutheran Church has many "synods" throughout the world because each has different ideas on the Gospel, miracles, etc. The Baptist Church teaching very by the local congregation. Same with all the rest. The LDS Church is the only church that has an organization that was founded in the Church set up by Jesus Christ. Catholic claim that lineage back to Christ but I think He would disapprove of $1million fees for beatification and certainly wouldn't parade around in the ridiculous hats, extensive wardrobes, etc – oh and what about the smoke?

    March 10, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  3. Reality

    Considering recent history with similar establishments, the RCC might not want to dig into the background at Boys Town.

    To wit:

    Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?
    "
    FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP!!!

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy".

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

    March 10, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • .....

      Hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      March 10, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  4. Tall Tim

    Either your a saint or you ain't. The Bible says all Christians are saints.

    All who belong to Christ by faith are saints, and none of us is more “saintly” than our Christian brothers and sisters. The Apostle Paul, who is no more of a saint than the most obscure Christian, begins his first letter to the Corinthian church by declaring that they were “sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2, emphasis added). In this verse, hagios is translated “saints,” “holy,” and “sanctified” in different Bible versions, leading to the unmistakable conclusion that all who have ever called upon Christ for salvation are saints, made holy by the Lord. We are all “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

    March 10, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Eggs Benedict

      Are you serious? Can you actually believe in that stuff? Phew...............

      March 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 10, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • information

      please pray that i win the lottery tonight ~ that will totally "change things"

      March 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Darwin

    To be a Christian, you have to believe there was a TALKING SNAKE: No snake, no stupid Eve ate the fruit, no kicked out of Eden, no "fall", therefore no "original sin" and NO NEED FOR JESUS. Goes to show how gullible and silly humans can be to believe in a religion whose entire foundations rest on a TALKING SNAKE!

    March 10, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • just sayin

      Instead of finding fault, Edward J Flanagan found a need and spent a lifetime ministering to that need. Father Flanagan represents the highest ideals a human being can hope to achieve. You on the other hand represent, what?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Thereals

      Don't forget the talking donkey too (Balaam's). And even the stones would testify. So talking rocks are also within God's power as well. I guess even your mouth might be taught to speak properly, although that would take a greater miracle.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Chad

      @Darwin "To be a Christian, you have to believe there was a TALKING SNAKE: No snake, no stupid Eve ate the fruit, no kicked out of Eden, no "fall", therefore no "original sin" and NO NEED FOR JESUS. Goes to show how gullible and silly humans can be to believe in a religion whose entire foundations rest on a TALKING SNAKE!"

      =>not true at all
      If you read Genesis, you'll see that the serpent was cursed to crawl on it's belly AFTER the apple and fall from eden.

      Honestly, to credibly criticize the bible, dont you think that you should become somewhat familiar with it?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • momoya

      Yeah, a perfect being who IS love just had to build a pit of never ending torment.. All because a rib-woman ate a magical fruit because of a talking snake.. yeah, a perfect plan is for god to sacrifice hiimself to himself to appease himself by exploiting a loophole in a plan he made himself in order to heal a magical and invisible body part of a magical and invisible disease.. How stupid.

      March 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Chad

      @Momoya "Yeah, a perfect being who IS love just had to build a pit of never ending torment.. All because a rib-woman ate a magical fruit because of a talking snake.. yeah, a perfect plan is for god to sacrifice hiimself to himself to appease himself by exploiting a loophole in a plan he made himself in order to heal a magical and invisible body part of a magical and invisible disease.. How stupid."

      =>again, you really need to first understand that which you propose to criticize
      – God indeed IS love, in Him there is no darkness
      – In the garden allowed man the free will to be disobedient, with the unfortunate result
      – God will indeed allow us to remain permanently estranged from Him, if that is our choice
      – God does not want that to happen, indeed He wants every one of us to choose life
      – God Himself has provided the only way to reconciliation via the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, doing for us what we can never do for ourselves.

      You are free to attempt to criticize that reality, but miss-characterizing it merely demonstrates an unfamiliarity with the biblical narrative.

      March 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Chad-

      momoya brings up something interesting. Did God create hell?

      March 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  7. God

    I still think it's funny you all worship a carpenter who was ironically nailed to two pieces of wood.

    Btw, it seems the bar on "miracles" has dropped significantly.

    March 10, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  8. information

    "To be recognized as a saint these days, it may cost upwards of $1 million.”

    In other words it is an honor one can purchase. If I pay 15 million can I be a living saint?

    March 10, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Thereals

      What you think it costs 0$ to fly investigators from rome to interview doctors etc? The cost of time and effort in this process is reasonable considering the scale of what is involved. However I think any expenses related to a glitzy media campaign are hard to justify since they are ostensibly trying to establish "facts."

      March 10, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • information

      @Thereals

      hahahahhahahahahhhahahahahhaha

      March 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • information

      for 5 billion dollars the pope would declare my parents saints tomorrow

      March 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  9. Pink bunnies

    It's called "faith" ...... not logic.... It is different

    March 10, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Inspector Clouseau

      But the process that you use to arrive at what you say is faith is NOT. Why do you not believe in the Spagetti Monster ? THAT is no different. You DO use your brain. You just won't admit when you CHOOSE to stop being rational.

      March 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  10. palintwit

    "Getting Rid of Teabaggers" or "Palintwit's Final Solution"
    1. Walmart advertises a sale in their gun, knife and ammo departments on a given day.
    2. Walmart promises a free autographed copy of Sarah Palin's crosshairs poster with every weapon sold.
    3. Walmart promises plenty of free parking for trailers.
    4. Hordes of baggers inundate Walmart. Birthers show up too.
    5. Nuke Walmart.
    6. Simple.

    This ruse is guaranteed to attract baggers like flies on sh!t. Nascar tracks work equally well if Walmart is not available.

    March 10, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  11. Fred

    I was not surprised to read some of the very nasty commentary concerning the Roman Catholic faith. These kinds of stories usually bring out those who have disagreements with the theology but remain respectful in tone and those who just rant pure hatred and ignorance. I am RC but I continue to struggle with some of the tenants of church teaching. ( I believe in women priest, I believe that people are born gay and that they are no different then someone straight, I believe priest should be able to marry) With regard to sainthood my only concern is how the process comes across.... When you hear that high paid lawyers have to get involved and that it may cost 1 million dollars it sounds anything but spiritual..... My grandmother prayed to her favorite saints and said the rosary and I recall one day a friend of mine asked me what does your Nan get out of saying the rosary? Does she think that will get her into heaven? I thought about that for years but when I look back now I don't think she did it to buy her way into heaven, it just brought her a sense of peace, it served as a vechicle to bring her closer to her God and her family. I may not have followed her path but I respect what she believed and know that she died a wonderful women. With regard to sainthood my only concern is when and if he reaches sainthood will our church then start to venerate his bones or pieces of clothing etc.... This is one area I struggle with as a Catholic but again I guess if it brings some peopple happiness and peace then who am I to judge.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Pink bunnies

      I appreciate your post..... My understanding is that the Catholic church recognizes that many are Saints and few are actually recognized by the church. The Church does not want to simply hand out "sainthood" as a token for living a good life because only God really knows that truth. But it does want to give credit to intecessors of the Lord. This is the type of positive post and discussion that shoudl be one the website.... Not hateful sarcasm

      March 10, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  12. Name*Chedar

    There are 4 stages of sainthood in the Theravadin tradition. Sainthood are not announced by the person who achieved it. It is very personal and nobody is involved in recommending a person to be a saint. When one achieved the 3rd stage of sainthood, one lost the sensual pleasure desire in this world until one become and "Arahat". Which is the 4th stage and the final stage of sainthood. The person knows if he achieved that level but don't announced it to the world. He is quietly at bliss eternally.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  13. Ang

    Who do these mere humans think they are to decide who is a saint and not a saint? Utter foolishness! According to the scriptures, all obedient followers of Christ are saints. What the Catholic church is doing doesn't mean a thing. It's a complete waste of time and energy.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Motar

      You're testimony is true, Ang.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Motar

      *Your*

      March 10, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • HotAirAce

      It's their club (cult) – they get to make up their rules, just as you can for yours.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  14. Derek

    If people want to take a stance on some moral high ground against the errors of Church members, they should probably take care to not present themselves as immature, disrespectful, and bigoted.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • momoya

      What if they got that way while a priest's d i c k was up their azz?

      March 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Chris

      And what if they got that way being bigots.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • momoya

      ANY organization that abuses children at the same rate as the RCC and covers it up as often and as frequently as the RCC should be charged in the world court for crimes against humanity.. Churches should be held to a much HIGHER standard than organization, and any catholics with an ounce of dignity would feel the same way.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  15. Thinker KC

    another religious scam.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  16. teake

    Remember the thief on the cross......................" Today you shall be with me in Paradise! " Instant Sainthood! Now that's the true Gospel ( of Jesus Christ ) Non of this ' man – made stuff!

    March 10, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Motar

      Your faith is Biblical, teake.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  17. John D

    This is incredibly dumb, even if you accept as true the general precepts of Christianity.

    Technically, the term "saint" refers to anyone who's gone to heaven.
    If pressed, the Catholic Church will admit that it doesn't APPOINT saints; it just recognizes them.

    This is still extremely dumb, like I said, because it means human clergy are purporting to look "behind the veil" and decide what's going on in heaven. Who're mortal men to do that?

    March 10, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Motar

      Biblically, the term "saint" refers to all who are new creations in Christ.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  18. ropeadope

    All the individuals in Vatican (except for the janitor) should be rounded up and sent to prison.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • momoya

      Why give the janitor a pass?. He's working for an organization that supports and defends child abusers.. He should know better.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Rob

      "All the individuals in Vatican" Right. Because all Catholics in the Vatican are abusers. They must be. They are Catholic. What prejudice. So all Rabbi's are abusers because so many abused in Brooklyn (as bad or worst then Catholics) and all Boy Scout leaders are abusers, and all Football coaches. So many bigots here.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  19. jack leddy

    Lucas may find out more than he wants to know about Flanagan. What could go wrong here? A catholic priest constantly in the company of teenage boys?

    March 10, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Reader

      Every single priest is a pedophile? It's nice people with open minds are reading this and giving lucid, well thought out comments.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Rob

      Hey Jack you forget about those African American's always committing crimes, and the Jews, always going for the cash, and those Muslim's always terrorizing. Look up the work bigot.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  20. Kannan

    It is sad to see only angry comments in this column. I usually don't read blogs. Whenever I do, I get disgusted of the cheap language and lack of respect. I wonder if these were the only ones people wrote or the yahoo censors the others. I am sure there are many others out there who think a little more seriouly about life and many fundamental aspects of life.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Veronica

      It is sad. It's sad that they 'sell' salvation. It's sad what happened to so many children. It's sad that the 'church' took care of its priests and merely shipped them off to another parish where they could hurt again. It's sad that the authorities in so many places were afraid to prosecute these pedophiles for fear of the church.

      It's sad that so many people are angry. It's sad that so may people are scarred for life.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • momoya

      Angry??. Cheap language??. Lack of respect??.

      It's good to show a little mercy.. When a driver is cu.tting lanes and ri.ding bumpers, it's makes more s.e.nse and in.cr.eases safety to just as.sume it's the parent of a h.u.rt child trying to read the hospital.. In this case, perhaps you might try a little lenience on the grounds that those making comments you consider too harsh were s.e.xually damaged by a.b.use from dis.g.usting priests who were a.i.ded and abetted by the one the worlds most powerful organizations who hides such des.p.icable behavior rather than work with law enforcement to root it out of every corner.. The catholic church deserves the world's ire for their cover-up of child abuse.. Intelligent people with an ounce of empathy recognize this fact.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Shelly

      Yes, we should totally respect this church of pedophiles! Yeah for little boys! You're out of your mind Kannan! "Seriouly" rofl

      March 10, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Chris

      Shelly "church of pedophiles"? prove that the Church has more pedophiles the any different then other organizations or stop posting.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Chris

      momoya – Replace "Catholic" with "Black". Black people deserve the world's ire because they are always murdering. So blacks cover up for their own. They are all bad. Angry??. Cheap language??. Lack of respect?? Intelligent people with an ounce of empathy recognize this fact.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • momoya

      Why respect an organization that professes godliness but can't maintain less pedophiles than other non godly organizations?. Hmm.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • just sayin

      The most common place for child abuse to occur is not the church or the school it is in the home at the hands of trusted family members or neighbors. Should we disrespect all homes then ? Hmmm?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • momoya

      @ Chris

      Replace the word "catholic church" with "school district," and see that district get slammed by every news organization and human rights advocates on the globe.. It'd be overhauled from top to bottom before the end of the week.. Being a church doesn't give you a pass to abuse children; churches are supposed to help people, not abuse children.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • momoya

      @ just sayin

      So you shouldn't hold a church to a higher standard than a home where child abuse is likely to occur??. How sensible of you.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Chris

      "Why respect an organization that professes godliness but can't maintain less pedophiles than other non godly organizations?. " That's you argument? School boards don't profess to take care of children? Governments are not given a trust by the people? Rabbi don't profess godliness? Why the hatred of Catholics?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • just sayin

      Crime and sin is no respecter of location, your incessant finger pointing is as vile as the crimes themselves. Are you saying child abuse is more acceptable if it is kept in the home?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • momoya

      @ chris

      I don't hate catholics; I hate organizations that molest small children in their care and who cover it up time and again rather than rooting it out of their midst.. Why shouldn't the RCC be held as accountable as a school district?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • momoya

      @ chris

      No, child abuse isn't acceptable anywhere, but when one organization has thousands and thousands of instances, and continually covers it up and refuses to deal with the problem squarely.. They deserve to be hated by anyone who hates child abuse.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • just sayin

      Crime and sin is no respecter of location, your incessant finger pointing is as vile as the crimes themselves. Are you saying child abuse is more acceptable if it is kept in the home ?

      March 10, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • just sayin

      So by your reasoning if one family member commits an act of abuse the whole family should be hated.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Chris

      "I hate organizations that molest small children in their care" Why the organization? Why not the people who do this? By the way the UK Guardian newspaper recently stated the "objectively the Catholic Church is now one of the he safest place in the world for Children.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • momoya

      @ Chris

      Do your research on how much and how often and for how many decades the catholic leaders worked to COVER UP the abuse..

      March 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • momoya

      @ just sayin

      No, just those families who make it a policy to cover up child abuse when it occurs.. The entire RCC has acted in concert to cover up child abuse under its roofs..

      March 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Chris

      Every organization covered it up. Every one. Here is the point that Catholic's get frustrated about: "Catholic abuse is nowadays very widely reported. It may be the best reported crime in the world: that, too tends to skew perceptions" from "The Guardian." We hate child abuse and coverup like Black hate violence, like muslims hate terrorists, like Jews hate greed.

      March 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.