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Pope John Paul II and John XXIII Canonized; 15,000 Ukrainian Troops Surrounding a Key City Held by Pro-Russian Troops?; Young Girl Speaks About Abuse by Grandfather; Families of Those Aboard Flight 370 Turns to Boeing for Answers

Aired April 27, 2014 - 06:30   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. Hey, the world's largest Christian Church has two saints this morning -- two new saints. Pope John Paul II and John XXIII were canonized about two hours ago in an unprecedented ceremony at St. Peter's Square.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, as we've been saying, this was the first time two popes had been made saints on the same day. CNN Vatican Correspondent, Delia Gallagher, outside Vatican City right now.

Delia, give us a good sense of what it's like there right now.

GALLAGHER: Well, Christi and Victor, I can tell you, it has been an amazing morning. As you said, it's a first. We've seen Pope Francis do lots of firsts before.

But this is the first time we've had two saints. You know, John Paul II already had a great following. And it probably would have drawn a large crowd.

But put them together with John XXIII, who was beloved by Italians and many others around the world and very well-respected by many in the Catholic Church and you've got what you see behind me, which is a huge crowd of upwards of a million people who have slept overnight out on the street on -- with their sleeping bags to wait for the moment that we saw this morning, when Pope Francis officially declared John XXIII and John Paul II saints of the Catholic Church.

BLACKWELL: You know, beyond the -- the canonization of the two popes, there's this moment where the two living popes are participating in this ceremony at the same time. How did Pope Benedict -- Pope Emeritus Benedict, look, his health? How is he?

GALLAGHER: Well, Victor, you know, he's 87 years old. He resigned last year for reasons of frailty, he said for reasons of -- of not being able to keep up with the demands of the job.

And so he looks pretty much like you might expect. He was never a very robust man to begin with in the sense that John Paul II might have been in his early years. But certainly, intellectually and in his spirit, and in his character, he's very much still quite vital. And I think one of the most important moments of this morning was when Pope Francis went over and embraced Pope Emeritus Benedict because, of course, in the first place, Pope Francis wouldn't be here if it weren't for Pope Benedict's very radical act of resigning. And also Pope Benedict was the person who was closest to John Paul II during the 26 years of his pontificate.

He and John Paul II were the last two popes who have participated at the second Vatican Council so they would have known also John XXIII. So certainly, for Pope Benedict, this occasion is a -- a very historical one having known both of them and worked with both of these new saint popes.

PAUL: All right, Vatican Correspondent, Delia Gallagher. Delia, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now is Christopher Bellito. He's the History Chair at Kean University in New Jersey, also the author of "When a Pope Dies."

Christopher, it's -- it's good to have you with us.


BLACKWELL: You know, what's interesting, Christopher, is that, you know, these two popes now, saints, maybe embody opposite ends -- opposing ends of Catholicism. Explain that, how the difference between a Pope John Paul II and a -- a Pope John XXIII and their different views of -- of Catholicism -- Catholicism.

BELLITTO: Sure. I'm going to respectfully disagree with you.


BELLITTO: And I don't think that John XXIII is a pure liberal and John Paul II is a pure conservative. That -- that goes a certain distance. But the Catholic Church is neither conservative nor liberal, though you have conservative and liberal Catholics.

We have to remember that John XXIII wasn't going to snap his fingers and make women priests. We have to remember that John Paul II was as much a critic of capitalism as he was of communism.

No one would call Benedict XVI a liberal. And yet, he called for the redistribution of wealth and said that health care is a fundamental human right. I think what's happening here is a call for unity.

And yes, there are people who identify John XXIII on the progressive side and John Paul II on the conservative side. So I'll agree with you so far. I think what Francis is calling for is a big tent church and Noah's Arc church, where we have to love each other even if we don't like each other all the time. But he's looking for a church of both ends.

You see, I think what's really going on here is that Pope Francis is canonizing the second Vatican Council, that great meeting of the church that John XXIII started and that John Paul II implemented with Paul VI in the middle. And we're in the 50th anniversaries of the councils -- 1952 to 1965 is when the council sat.

And so what I think we're talking about is that there are many ways of living Vatican, too. There are many ways of being Catholic, all of them authentic. And to say one way of interpreting the council or one way of being Catholic is the right way and the others aren't, I think that's what's going on.

He's going after both ends Catholicism, not either/or Catholicism.


PAUL: You know, one of the things that is also significant here is that now, Saint John Paul II's canonization is the -- is the swiftest beatification in history, if I believe. I mean, normally, you have to wait five years.

And -- and this would expedite it. I -- I think, if I remember correctly, made possible by Pope Benedict. But you wrote, I know, Christopher, that the church should wait 50, maybe even a hundred years before launching the process of making a pope a saint. Why do you believe that?

BELLITTO: Well, I think that, let's say, what -- what is being declared when someone is made a saint. We say that this person lived a life of extraordinarily Christian heroic virtue but not that this person is without sin.

We are all with sin. We believe -- I'm a practicing Catholic, myself, and I'm trying to get it right. And I'm going to fall down. And I'm not going to get it right. So all saints are, by definition, sinners because they are human.

But they recognize something greater. However, we have to say that being a pope is a pretty unique job description. And though lots of people are saints who are craftsmen, who are carpenters, who are kings, who are queens, who are mothers and fathers in the pews, being pope is pretty unique.

So when the Catholic Church says we're going to canonize this person, the Catholic Church is not saying we're going to canonize every single thing that this person did. That's OK when it comes to people in a local area.

But when it comes to the complex role of a papacy, then people are going to start to ask questions as to, well, which parts of the papacy are you canonizing? Now, the answer, of course, is going to be we're not canonizing a papacy.

We're canonizing not even really John Paul II but Karol Wojtyla and Angelo Roncolli, I get that. But I think that it's far more complex. And so I have to say that I move from saying popes should never be canonized because I realized that I was excluding someone to saying, this thing is so unique. A papacy is so unique that maybe, we need a longer period of time to wait and let things settle. I -- I was watching the funeral of John Paul II as we all were.


BELLITTO: And someone said as they held up the signs that said "Santo Subito" a saint right away, someone (ph) -- he ever be canonized. And I said, I think we -- we just saw it because that's how it used to be in the early church.

But I also thought immediately that that kind of enthusiasm is precisely why we have the wisdom of a five-year waiting period.


BELLITTO: And so some people say, why are we rushing on John Paul II and what about Mother Teresa?

PAUL: Good point.

BLACKWELL: OK (ph). Christopher Bellitto, History Chair at Kean University in New Jersey. Obviously, this conversation will continue. And we'll talk more about it throughout the morning.

Thank you, Christopher.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

BELLITTO: Thank you for having me.


PAUL: Sure.

We also have to talk about the 15,000 Ukrainian troops that are surrounding a key city held by pro-Russian troops. The question now is, is this crisis in the region headed toward a military face-off?

We're going to talk about it.


PAUL: Well, as the tension between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine heats up, President Obama says Russia is not doing anything to prevent a crisis in the region.


OBAMA: Russia has not lifted a finger to help. In fact, there's strong evidence that they've encouraging the kinds of activities that have been taking place.


BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Russian state news is claiming that Kiev has mobilized 15,000 troops in the suburbs of Slaviansk, to quote, "wipe out the city and its residents." CNN's Phil Black is live in Kiev.

That characterization to wipe out the city and its residents -- quite provocative, Phil. Any claims that the mobilization of these troops and their -- any effort, is this true?

BLACK: It is difficult to say definitively, Victor. In the time that I've spent in Eastern Ukraine this week, I didn't see anything to support that 15,000 soldier figure that Russia is claiming nor have my colleagues who are still there.

But we have certainly seen an uptick in Ukrainian military activity. There are more Ukrainian military checkpoints on the roads surrounding the town of Slaviansk.

We've seen Ukraine in military challenge pro-Russian checkpoints which circle this town. And the Ukrainian government itself says that it is now entering what it calls the second phase of an anti-terror operation against the separatist forces, so certainly, an increase in Ukrainian military activity.

We haven't seen anything to support that 15,000 figure. But there could be more there in that region than what we have seen so far, Victor.

PAUL: Phil, what do we know about the international observers who've been seized?

BLACK: Yes, so this is a -- a group of international observers connected to the organization for security and cooperation in Europe seized on the outskirts of Slaviansk on Friday (inaudible).

PAUL: And we apologize. Obviously, we had some technical issues. And we lost our -- our shot with -- with Phil. But we will try to get him back and continue the conversation because it is an important one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we'll talk more with Phil in just a moment. But you know, April, as we're winding down the month here, is Child Abuse Awareness Month.

PAUL: Yes, I don't know if a lot of people, you know, are aware of that. We know of autism but Child Abuse Awareness Month here. And -- and I -- I want to share with you a compelling story next of this young girl who spoke up when her grandfather crossed the line during a family sleepover.

How she was rescued because her parents believed her story and they want to talk about it. What you can learn next.


PAUL: I don't know if you know, but April's Child Abuse Awareness Month, particularly because children are too often abused by a relative or someone else very close to them.

Now, experts say it's important for young victims to tell their parents and equally important for parents to believe their children. I've got to tell you, I spoke to a brave young girl who was abused by her grandfather during a family sleepover.

And she had the courage to talk about what happened to her.


BRIANNE (ph): We were just watching TV. I said mommy, I think somebody touched me inappropriately. And that's when my grandfather got up and went to his -- and went to the computer room.

PAUL: So he was in the room when you first started this conversation?

BRIANNE (ph): Yes. He's -- he's always in the room during the morning kind of keeping an eye on us making sure we're OK.


PAUL: Obviously (ph) we're not OK. Her dad now had this painful task of confronting his own father about his daughter.


RUSS: I told him that, you know, Brianne came to us, she said that someone touched her while she was sleeping. And you know, my dad is setting in the chair and he -- he looks up at me, says Russ, I'm not going to lie to you. It was me.

Just that whole moment, I just -- I mean my blood pressure went up. I mean, obviously, I became super, you know, just angry as any father would. My response to him, it was just -- it was complete shock.

I was like, it was you?


PAUL: Shattered their relationship. And Russ, here's the -- here's the important thing. He chose to prosecute his dad, who was convicted and given house arrest by the way because of his failing health. But I want to bring Angela Williamson. She's the Founder of the Voice Movement and advocate against child sex abuse.

So glad to have you here.

WILLIAMSON: Good to be here.

PAUL: We know what Brianne did was brave because one, it worked. She told her parents. And two, they believed her. How we, as parents, react to children in these crises can shape their entire lives.

What are the three things we need to do that are most pivotal if a child comes to us with information like this?

WILLIAMSON: Well, that is such a critical moment for the child to not only get justice but to heal. So I have an acronym. It's called CAR. So the first thing we need to do, we -- our -- our instinct is to panic. But we have to stay calm. So C is for calm. We have to be very good listeners. A, we have to affirm the child. We really have to ask ourselves in that moment what the child needs.

And they need to hear that I believe you, that I'm here to protect you and that you've done nothing wrong. And then R is probably the most difficult. And that's to respond with courage.

We know that 93 percent of the time, the child knows, loves and trust this person. So you know, love and trust this person. So that is the most difficult thing, is to call law enforcement, to not do the investigation, to let the experts do the forensic interview so that that child's testimony could be protected and they could get justice.

PAUL: And we know that sex predators or pedophiles are an entirely different breed of criminal, right?

WILLIAMSON: They are our friends. They're our pastors. They're our doctors. They're our lawyers. They are the people that we know. So when you say the word predator, we're looking for a monster amongst us.

Their behavior obviously is -- is heinous and is predatorial.

PAUL: And they will work for years to ingratiate themselves into our lives, right?

WILLIAMSON: They will work for years to ingratiate. They will also be that person that wants to isolate the child, get the child alone. They seem -- seem tend to have very narcissistic behavior. A very power control are some of their traits.

And really, what we need to recognize is how that child interacts with that person. Is there someone in the child's life that they're edgy around, that they maybe aren't comfortable around, that they don't want to go spend time alone with?

PAUL: And give the -- the child a chance to say, I'm not comfortable here. And that's OK. And don't -- don't force them to be around them. Why are you asking people to wear the color white on Wednesday, specifically this Wednesday, April 30?

WILLIAMSON: April 30 is a national movement. It's part of The Voice Movement called, Wipe Out Child Sexual Abuse Day. And it is time that we stand for the innocence of our children.

One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. And it's time that we stand in solidarity for the innocence of our children but also for the wounding of 42 million reported survivors in the U.S., only one of two.

PAUL: Which you are one...

WILLIAMSON: Of which I am one. Only one in 10 ever tells. So it is a movement for us to come together and really, for this cause, stand up and do something and let that survivor know, we care about your pain and they...

PAUL: And we're behind you.

WILLIAMSON: ...and they be -- giving it a voice and in this conversation, we could find some solutions because we can't continue to be oblivious to this. It's not even an epidemic anymore. it's pandemic.

PAUL: Oh, absolutely. Angela, well, thank you so much for everything that you're doing. And again, you are encouraged this Wednesday, April 30 to wear white to show your support to stand in solidarity with child sex abuse victims. So much more about this story by the way with Brianne and her family online.

They just opened up to us. You can go to Click on the weekend tab.



PAUL: And Thank you.


BLACKWELL: All right, thank you, Christi.

Coming up on "New Day," it's hard to believe it's been more than 50 days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished. Well, now, the families of those on Flight 370 are turning their grief into action.


BLACKWELL: Fifty days now -- more than 50 days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears -- disappeared, rather. And the families of the victims, they're fed up with the investigation.

PAUL: Malaysia says it does plan to make an initial report on the plane, public this week. But a lot of the families say, they're done waiting. And they're turning to Boeing for answers.

CNN's Alexandra Field has more.


FIELD: More desperate, more frustrated. The family members of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 turned their attention toward Boeing.

(UNKNOWN): And if we're not getting information directly from Malaysian Airlines and from the Malaysian government, we might as well try to go directly to the source.

FIELD: The manufacturer of the missing triple seven has issued a statement that says, quote, "in accordance with international protocols, Boeing is serving as a technical adviser to the National Transportation Safety Board in support of Malaysian authorities." But families have technical questions they want Boeing to answer.

(UNKNOWN): They would have all the data. They would also have the tape recordings. And they have the Inmar satellite images and whatever other information the government has shared with them.

(UNKNOWN): I've advocated that Inmarsat and perhaps, together with Boeing as a participant, release some of this information, some of this technical data information so that the families can at least get a handle on how they came about to calculate, you know, the area, this coalesced area where everyone's looking now.

FIELD: Boeing has (ph) expressed sympathy. But so far, they aren't saying much more. And an appeal from the families won't likely change that.

(UNKNOWN): They're under no obligation to disclose any of that information.

(UNKNOWN): Boeing will say that they are prohibited from talking to the families under annex 13 of the IKO (ph) international civil (ph) organization. But that really only applies to information gathered in the course of the investigation.

(UNKNOWN): Potentially, a lawsuit against Boeing could force the manufacturer to turn over information about its aircraft. But with the plane still missing, some aviation attorneys say the families don't have a case, at least, against the Boeing Company.

(UNKNOWN): You're not going to be able to bring a claim against Boeing, in my view, without the wreckage or the black boxes -- just not possible.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.


PAUL: Oh, you made it to Sunday. Doesn't that feel good? I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Get ready for Monday. I'm Victor Blackwell, 7:00 here on the East Coast, 4:00 (ph) at West (ph). This is "New Day" Sunday.

PAUL: A day of celebration, we should say, for the Catholics around the world. And you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate this. A lot of people are watching it.

BLACKWELL: A beautiful ceremony if you watched it.

PAUL: Yes, two new saints are canonized. These are live pictures here from Vatican City, Pope Francis riding among the crowds there.

Boy, you can just hear how excited people are, the faithful there gathering to witness Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II becoming saints.

BLACKWELL: And Pope Francis always appears to enjoy this ride through the crowd, reaching out, touching people, kissing babies, and accepting things they -- they give him as he passes. We're following this -- this big story all during this hour.

But first, we want to start with an NBA controversy that's really caught the attention, not only of the athletes and the fans of the league but also President Obama. And consider this, the President is in the middle of his Asia trip.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: He's in Kuala Lumpur and all that's happening there. But he spoke out today on the firestorm surrounding Donald Stirling, all the way in -- in Malaysia. Donald Stirling, if you don't know, he's the owner of one of the league's top teams, the L.A. Clippers.

Stirling is dominating headlines this morning. He's accused of making racist remarks.