On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Mark Phillips declared how the beatification of Pope John Paul II to sainthood was moving "at break-neck speed" and noted that "Groups protesting the Catholic Church's child abuse scandal are urging the Vatican to slow down the process."
Despite the protests, Phillips remarked that "the current pope, Benedict XVI, seems determined to charge ahead with the canonization of his extremely popular predecessor." Earlier in the report, he suggested John Paul II's road to sainthood was a short cut: "It normally takes centuries for major Church figures to reach sainthood and join the saintly statues on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica. But John Paul II has been fast-tracked."
Meanwhile, an Associated Press report on Friday proclaimed that the late Pontiff's canonization would provide "a major morale boost for a church reeling from the clerical sex abuse scandal." The article, by Nicole Winfield, insisted: "It is not without controversy, however. While John Paul himself was never accused of improprieties, he has long been accused of responding slowly when the sex abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002. Many of the thousands of cases that emerged last year involved crimes and cover-ups that occurred on his 26-year watch."
Here is a full transcript of Phillips' January 14 report:
JEFF GLOR: Pope John Paul II is one step closer to sainthood this morning. After his successor, Pope Benedict, signed off on a miracle attributed to John Paul. CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips is in London this morning with details on that. Hey, Mark, good morning.
MARK PHILLIPS: Good morning, Jeff. Well, the Catholic Church has a rigorous process for creating saints. Miracles have to be proved. A saintly life has to be certified. John Paul II was pope for 27 years and has only been dead for five, but his progress toward sainthood is proceeding, for the Church at least, at break-neck speed.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: One Step Closer to Sainthood; Vatican Puts Pope John Paul II On Fast Track]
It normally takes centuries for major Church figures to reach sainthood and join the saintly statues on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica. But John Paul II has been fast-tracked. The approval for beatification, the last step before sainthood, came after the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints unanimously approved a miracle attributed to John Paul II, the healing of a French nun suffering from Parkinson's disease, an illness from which John Paul also suffered. Once beatified, John Paul will be referred to as 'blessed.' But one more miracle must be documented before he can rise to full sainthood.
He's already partway there. A Decree of Heroic Virtue, certifying him as having lived a holy life, was signed by Pope Benedict two years ago, authorizing John Paul to be referred to as 'venerable.' The process of creating a saint doesn't usually begin until at least five years after a candidate's death. But for John Paul, the chant, 'Santo Subuto,' 'Sainthood Now,' rose from the mourners at his funeral.
There is some dissent. Groups protesting the Catholic Church's child abuse scandal are urging the Vatican to slow down the process. But the current pope, Benedict XVI, seems determined to charge ahead with the canonization of his extremely popular predecessor. The beatification ceremony will be May 1st. Jeff.
GLOR: Alright, Mark Phillips in London. Mark, thanks.
— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.