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Catholics today are observing Good Friday and the fifth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. The Associated Press reports that in his native Poland, although the population has gotten more secular lately, he is still mourned by many.

Pope John Paul was extremely well-loved around the world; his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, has often seemed to suffer in comparison. But when it comes to the Vatican’s response to the global clergy sex abuse scandal, the loyal and the critical alike seem to agree that B16 has been an improvement, in the sense that he has taken some steps to apologize for past mistakes and recognize that a real problem exists, if not necessarily to rectify it to the satisfaction of victims and their advocates. Meanwhile, a question that has started popping up now is how all this impacts JPII’s legacy (including his consideration for sainthood), not just his successor’s moral authority and popularity.

Catholic writer John L Allen Jr. has written a lot about the two popes, especially amid the recent media coverage (by The New York Times and others) of the abuse scandal. Check it out.

Looking forward: Pope Benedict made some veiled remarks about the abuse scandal on Palm Sunday, with stronger words coming from high-ranking clergy in America and elsewhere. It’ll be interesting to see what everyone says on Easter Sunday. Stay tuned, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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