ABC: Pope "Controversial," "Too Conservative" for U.S. Catholics
ABC seemed ahead of the other networks in looking at Pope John Paul II's legacy through the prism of American liberals who see him as too conservative by U.S. political standards. Before he even passed away, ABC's Peter Jennings insisted that the Pope "was, of course, controversial here. Some American Catholics have chaffed at his insistence that they follow the Church's traditional social doctrines." Dean Reynolds cited "abortion, birth control, women priests" as issues which have "all driven a wedge between the Vatican and America." Less than two hours after ABC News reported the Pope's death on Saturday afternoon, anchor Bob Woodruff told Archbishop Wilton Gregory that "many believe" the "Pope has been too conservative socially for many Catholics in the United States." Woodruff soon pressed Father Richard McBrien of Notre Dame about the Pope's stands on "women in the priesthood, birth control and so on." O'Brien scolded the media, recalling how "every time the Pope made a visit to the United States...the media would pull out the usual suspects, you know, abortion, birth control, ordination of women, clerical celibacy."