Beatification Draws Local Praise, Criticism

Some overjoyed at the honor for John Paul II, others concerned

By Katherine Creag
|  Sunday, May 1, 2011  |  Updated 7:22 PM EDT
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Beatification Draws Local Praise, Criticism

Edward Cardinal Egan celebrates a special mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral marking the beatification of Pope John Paul II

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Catholics from Vatican City to Fifth Avenue say they are overjoyed at the beatification of Pope John Paul II, celebrating the historic event with special Masses Sunday.

The step moves him closer to sainthood.

"Wherever he went he really loved to make peace and talk to people," said Nikolla Nikgjonaj of the Bronx, outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
   
But not everyone agrees. Also by the cathedral's steps Sunday were members of SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests.  They handed out flyers questioning the beatification.

"It's very hard to think a person should be beatified when they knew of child abuse," said Mary Caplan of SNAP.

However some Catholics believe John Paul shouldn't be blamed for the scandal.

"I don't believe they should have covered up anything," said one woman.  "I think if they would have admitted it from the beginning, it would have been great.  But I don't blame John Paul for it."

Cardinal Edward Egan had little to say on the topic of priest sex abuse.

"I think I'm going to take the Fifth on this one," he told reporters after the 10:15 a.m. Mass.

Egan did say that he believes it won't take long before Pope John Paul, who made more than 400 people saints, will be declared a saint himself.

During the Mass, Egan said he was close with John Paul and recalled how the late pontiff forgave the gunman who tried to kill him.

"He told us why, because the Son of God said if you forgive offenses against you, the heavenly Father will forgive all of your offenses."

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