The Vatican sent a letter to bishops around the world Monday offering guidance on dealing with reports of clerical sexual abuse.
But the suggestions in the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are vague and nonbinding and fall far short of recommending the tough U.S.-style norms that bar a credibly accused priest from ministry while his case is investigated.
The chants began even before Pope John Paul II had been put to his final rest, as his coffin was carried through St. Peter's Square: "Santo Subito! Santo Subito!"
A month later, Pope Benedict XVI — his successor and close friend — launched the process that would do just that. On Sunday, John Paul II will be beatified in Rome, bringing him one step away from sainthood.
Pope John Paul II will be beatified in May, which puts him halfway toward sainthood. To have gotten this far, the Vatican must believe that the late pope is responsible for a miracle. Earlier this year, the Vatican declared that a woman was miraculously healed from Parkinson's disease after she prayed to the late pontiff.
And this raises the question: How does the Vatican investigate miracles?
Let's start in Ferndale, Wash., where a potential miracle is under investigation.
This is the season of high holy days: Passover, Pascua, Holy Friday and Easter Sunday. For many Christians, the ritual of this Easter weekend will be punctuated by bursting pink and yellow dresses on little girls, and magnificent hats on their mothers and grandmothers. There will be Easter baskets filled with chocolate eggs and plush bunnies.