April 18th, 2008
12:06 PM ET

Pope meets sex abuse victims: The back story

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John L. Allen Jr.
CNN Sr. Vatican Analyst
Vatican Correspondent, National Catholic Reporter

Three days ago, I got an e-mail from a fellow journalist telling me that Bernie McDaid, a victim of priestly sex abuse whom I had met in 2003 in Rome, wanted to reach me. At the time, I was overwhelmed with coverage of the first day of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to America, and inclined to file the e-mail under “things that can wait.”

My colleague’s teaser that “you’ll want to hear this,” however, stirred me to make the call right away.

I sensed something might be up, because two weeks earlier I had interviewed the Vatican’s ambassador in the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who told me that a meeting between the pope and sex abuse victims while Benedict was in America remained “within the field of possibility.” I also understood that such a meeting would be historic, since no pope had ever before sat down with victims to hear their stories, offer his apology, and solicit their advice as to how the church might respond.

As it turns out...

Filed under: John L. Allen Jr. • Pope Benedict
April 18th, 2008
06:20 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...

Tonight - ANDERSON COOPER TAKES A LOOK AT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON’S LIFE…AND THE EVENTS THAT HAVE SHAPED HER…FROM CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS…Her best friend BETSY EBELING telling Anderson that Hillary wanted to be a doctor. TO her MARITAL TROUBLES… BETSY says "the way they found their way back to each other, was definitely through Chelsea." AND EVENTUALLY HER CHOICE TO RUN FOR POLITICAL OFFICE…Another friend MARY STEENBURGEN said "I watched her go from absolutely laughing at him and not taking him seriously to having this little moment where you saw her go, could I even think about doing that?" AC360 TAKES A LOOK AT all THESE events in her life AND MORE…Events THAT HAVE PREPARED CLINTON FOR THE BIGGEST RACE OF HER LIFE…

AND it has been another long long week down in polygamyland...Yesterday was a child custody hearing like no other. 411 kids represented by 350 attorneys....Court resumes today and David Mattingly  will have the latest. PLUS... Is the Pentagon Funding Polygamy? Turns out the department of defense entered into 1.7 million dollars worth of contracts with three companies owned by leaders of Warren Jeffs’ FLDS sect. Money from those contracts was funneled to Jeffs and his church. Correspondent Randi Kaye is keeping them honest with confirmation from the Pentagon and an affidavit that shows the money was sent from the companies to the church. Even worse, some of the contracts were entered into after Jeffs was put on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Some of the contracts came even after church leader Warren Jeffs was put on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list and after public reports associating top company officials such as Wendell Neilsen with Jeffs. Should those kind of relationships have raised red flags?

ALSO - The Colorado Springs Police Department has arrested a 33 year old female on an Arrest Warrant charging her with False Reporting to Authorities, a misdemeanor charge. This arrest stemmed from an incident that occurred in Colorado Springs in February of this year. The woman is identified as Rozita Swinton...Ironically, The Texas Rangers were in Colorado Springs yesterday as part of their investigation involving the compound in Texas. CNN is NOT sure yet if there is a connection to the Texas raid....

AND FINALLY....The Pope takes Manhatten today…He goes to the United Nations, visits Manhattan's Park East Synagogue, this marks the first ever visit by a Pope to a Synagogue in the U.S. Then he is off to St Joseph Parish for prayer service...Anderson interviewed a few of the "abuse" victims that met with the Pope on last night's show...check out the emotional interviews on our website...

And THIS JUST IN...a 5.4 magnititude earthquake hit 66 miles from Evansville, Illinois....it was felt all the way to Chicago...There are NO reports of injuries, we will keep you posted...

AND with the POPE in town, I can literally say THANK GOD it is FRIDAY....

Filed under: The Buzz
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