NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Pope John Paul II got one step closer to sainthood after more than one million people witnessed his beatification on Sunday.

Pope Benedict XVI, who prayed before John Paul II’s coffin after the service, said the late pontiff restored Christianity as a “religion of hope.”

It was the fastest beatification in modern times, and not without controversy.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck has more on Pope John Paul II’s step toward sainthood.

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, many Catholics expressed pleasure that John Paul II had been fast-tracked by the Vatican.

John Paul II visited St. Patrick’s twice as pope, so Sunday’s mass of thanksgiving on the day of beatification had special meaning for many.

In his homily, Edward Cardinal Egan said it was fitting that John Paul II was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, since one of his greatest legacies is that he forgave the man who shot him.

“A few days later, when the Holy Father was propped up in bed, gasping for breath, he had enough to say, ‘I forgive,’” Cardinal Egan said.

After the mass, Cardinal Egan said he was very close to the Holy Father during their seven years in Rome together in the early 1980s, and was thrilled that John Paul II was on the path to sainthood.

“Many people turned to God because they were touched by this wonderful gentleman,” he said.

There were, however, a handful of people at St. Patrick’s who thought John Paul II shouldn’t have been fast-tracked to sainthood after the priest abuse sex scancal.

“It’s very hard to think a person should be beatified when they knew of child abuse, they knew that young people were being raped and molested,” Mary Caplan, spokesperson for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said.

Many Catholics weren’t sure the priest sex abuse scandal should play any part in the pontiff’s possible sainthood.

“It might have happened on his watch, [but] it wasn’t his fault,” churchgoer Margaret Lee said. “There are a lot of bad apples.”

“As a Catholic, I don’t think it’s right to put any blame on John Paul,” Eric Savoie said. “It’s up to the individual priest; it’s impossible for [John Paul II] to know.”

Others said that now is a time for healing – and prayers for sainthood.

Comments (13)
  1. Norma Stitz says:

    St. Child Rape Enabler…patron saint of limitless abuse. catholics are overflowing with meritless hubris and unabashed lack of shame.

    1. St. Ides says:


      You had me at hubris.

  2. Joe says:

    I thought that when John Paul died the church would get a pope that addressed some difficult issues but this Pope is even worse and divisive. I am done with the catholic religion.

  3. Nick says:

    The French nun claimed a miracle cure from Parkinson’s. How can one distinguish between the conditions of being French and Parkinson’s inflicted???

    In either case, it’s nice to know that the Catholic tradition of Lying Lying Lying is still in full faith.

  4. Chris says:

    Joyce, poor brainwashed Catholic.

    1. George says:

      Joyce????? Brainwashed??? Who is really the one really brainwashed with a cliche like that???

  5. John Prewett says:

    Revelation 17 and 18

  6. MAK says:

    Whats about sex abuse scandals all over ….!!!!

    1. George says:

      Are you your brothers keeper??? The record shows what he did on this issue. He is the holiest man that I have seen in my 64 years on this earth. Can you contest that??

      1. The Chief says:

        @George……the records show that he was in on the cover-ups during the aftermath!!!

  7. Joyce says:

    How can anyone not like Pope John Paul II? He was friendly, warm and caring. These people who have sour grapes in their mouth blame a holy man because he was not all seeing, or all knowing? If God is all seeing and all knowing and allowed this to happen, then how can you blame one man who tried his best as being ambassador for God? Give credit to the holy man who tried to reform the Church from within and transformed Communistic Poland into a Democratic country.

    1. George says:

      I am with you except the part that God allowed anything to happen. It is us that allow things to happen.

      1. Richard Small says:

        Exactly. We do stuff while God face-palms in the background.

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