Off to the airport! We make the first flight easily and after a mad dash through the Atlanta airport we board the flight to Rome. We know we should sleep but are too excited and nervous! We land and catch the Leonardo Express into the city center. After a quick shower we are off to our first event. Great media coverage!
Our message was simple, the Pope still has days where he can make a difference and put into place some real reforms that will actually protect children.
By now it is Wednesday and we are ready to take on the world except our cell phones are not working. Off to phone store, electronic stores and then back again to the beginning. Internet cafes are not everywhere so planning is involved to stay connected. We have scouted locations for our next events, making contact with media, getting our bearings and learning the customs!
The city of Rome is erecting huge scaffolds outside the square. It is like little outdoor apartments for the media. The structures are about three stories high with cameras and reporters from around the globe. there are now three towers and all are full.
The day started with an interview with Moscow TV. It's very exciting that our message has spread so far! Many news outlets rent the rooftops of buildings around the Vatican. Some are the roofs of apartment buildings and it is very clear that families normally inhabit them. This one had children's toys, barbecue pit and seating for a whole family.
The view from one side is of the Vatican. You can see many beautiful buildings and the park like setting. Mature trees, grass, some flowers already blooming and fountains. out the other side you could see "normal life" in Rome. Laundry hanging to dray, parents getting kids off to school and work. People have been so kind and helpful--they have helped us get our cell phones working, pointed us in the right direction when we were lost and held their laughter at our feeble attempts to order lunch in Italian (so glad pizza is everywhere, something I can pronounce)!
Our event was about the Vatican and how it has failed to file its report with the UN on the Convention on the Rights of the child. The report is at least ten years late, and that is only one of the ways they've broken the Convention. You will not be surprised to hear that the Vatican has:
--refused to co-operate with civil authorities
--moved predators to hide and cover-up crimes
--destroyed evidence and obstructed justice
--rewarded those involved in the cover-up
--blamed the victims
The Pope left the Vatican early evening without a great deal of fanfare. We did interviews as we walked.
Stay tuned for our next entry!
It is the same method they taugh Bishops to deal with sex abuse cases. Sort of a religious razzle dazzle saying one thing while hoping no one notices the truth or has hard evidence.
For this and other reasons, I feel the sex scandals and abuse within the Catholic Church will continue and even find encouragement in the actions of the former pope.