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Vatican Expresses Shame and Sorrow; Police Tase and Arrest Grandmother; Robinson and Holliday Remember Aretha Franklin. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 17, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] BISHOP TIMOTHY L. DOHERTY, BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF LAFAYETTE-IN-INDIANA: Myself am looking at this as a document and indictments that took two years to assemble and to kind of get your mind around it in a day and a half and then make a statement is asking a lot. So I would ask some patience in that regard.

But, yes, we are all asking that same question and I'm glad the Holy Sea responded, as it did.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: It does take some time to process it, but reading even just a small portion of this report, which is difficult to do because of these graphic details, paints a very clear picture. And the grand jury itself talked about this cover-up that went on for decades. This is not the first time that the church has had to deal with similar allegations. So it does still beg the question of, knowing what has come before, how we're in this position once again.

DOHERTY: Well, I think all the bishops are asking that question. And part of it is, you know, there isn't a great explanation. We're still looking at the facts here. I could speak for bishops of my era and I know we all came in without knowing much about any of this and having a great trust in our church and the people that we work with. And so this is devastating. And precisely the question you ask is the right question, how could this have happened again. And so some -- a light has been shined on part of the culture that allowed this to happen and there's a great resolve not to let it happen again.

HILL: I'm sure you know and have heard what Cardinal O'Malley out of Boston had to say about a loss of patience and a loss of confidence in light of all of this.

I was speaking yesterday with a survivor, Mike McDonnell, who was abused by one of those priests in Pennsylvania. And we talked about what this did to him personally and also how this impacted his faith. I'd like to play his words for you.


MIKE MCDONNELL, SURVIVOR OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY PA PRIEST: They stole the most sacred thing that I had, and that was my Catholic Church.

Today I have faith. I have faith in God. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for God. My spirituality is there. Religion, to me, is for those who are scared

to death of hell. Spirituality is for people like me who have been there.


HILL: I have heard conversations in the last couple of days from Catholics who have said, I don't know if I can send my child to church based on what has come out this week. How do you respond to Mike McDonnell? How do you respond to those concerns of parishioners?

DOHERTY: Well, we're still early in these reports and someone said, I don't want to see any bishop on television. They're only going to try and make themselves look better or soften this somehow. And, believe me, it's very difficult for me to sit here under the weight of all of this and those expressions of mistrust and renewed sorrow.

I myself have talked to a couple of victims in the last couple of days and it's just -- it's just very difficult. So I think we have to take Mr. McDonnell at his word and honor him for even speaking to you. But I think unless we hear the personal stories of people like him, we just won't get it. And we're going to have to be in that constant conversation always knowing that our main work is to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

HILL: Another survivor that I spoke with earlier this week, Shaun Dougherty, said to me, he thinks the pope should have been on a plane by now, and he said that to me a couple of days ago, the pope should have been here addressing this in person.

Do you agree? Would that be the right move for this pope?

DOHERTY: You know, I can't speak for the pope. So I'm --

HILL: No, but in terms of your personal opinion.

DOHERTY: I think there are people in about four countries right now that would wish he'd be on a plane and come to visit. So we're dealing with that also in kind of a more global sense.

HILL: Because it is such a global crisis, are you concerned about leadership on this?

DOHERTY: Well, you know, we're dealing with a number of other countries. You know, I was asked to be interviewed by people from outside the United States and I declined simply because I don't have a reading on their cultures or their history. And one of the things that we do find out about the victimization is that while there are some certain commonalties, the tragedy for each person is so individual. And so it's -- it's very difficult to make statements or appeals that are going get out to everybody all at once.

And I think the pope might be in the same position that I'm in and all the rest of the bishops. You know, what are the rest of the questions? We would be only pretending if we thought, OK, now we've got the clear picture in front of us and we can solve this. And I think we know we don't have all the questions yet. And it's part of the discomfort that we're all going through.

HILL: Another survivor said that the cover-up was actually worse than the abuse. Would you agree?

DOHERTY: You know, I was a pastor for a long time before I became a bishop and I think that that all along has been the more difficult part for people to say that a bishop was responsible for not acting correctly. And so, yes, I kind of have an agreement with that both from before I became a bishop and now. That I get.

[08:35:17] HILL: Really quickly, we're almost out of time, but there has been a push, as you know, to eliminate the statute of limitations. This is a grand jury recommendation. This is being pushed forward in Pennsylvania in the house to eliminate the statute of limitations on all childhood sexual abuse. The Catholic -- the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has come out and said, you know what, the focus right now needs to be on healing. Can't those two things happen simultaneously?

DOHERTY: Well, it's a very large question. And as letters to "The New York Times" this morning point out, there's some very good points for reducing that statute and there are some good points for maintaining it. And it's going to be different in each state depending upon their legislation and jurisdiction. So it's a question worth bringing up and it certainly will be discussed.

HILL: All right. Well, we will continue to stay on this.

Bishop, thank you for joining us this morning.

DOHERTY: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Police use a Taser on an 87-year-old woman cutting dandelions with a knife. How on earth did this happen?


[08:40:08] BERMAN: An 87-year-old grandmother in rural Georgia was Tased by police and arrested after she was spotting using a knife to cut dandelions. The police chief says the officers' actions were justified.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung live for us with the very latest.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Martha Al-Bishara's granddaughter says that this elderly woman often wanders into the woods near her home looking for dandelions and collecting them with a knife. But her most recent outing took a very unexpected turn when police brought this 87-year-old woman down to the ground with a Taser and then they arrested her. Listen to the 911 call that came in last Friday.


DISPATCHER: 911, where's your emergency? CALLER: Hey, I'm at Boys and Girls Club. I'm on staff here. And

there's a lady walking in the bike trails. She has a knife and she won't leave. She doesn't speak English. Looks like she's walking around looking for something. You know, vegetation to cut down or something. She has a bag, too.

DISPATCHER: But she -- but she came at someone with a knife, though, right? Or did she just have it?

CALLER: No, she just brought the knife on to the property. It's in her hand.


CALLER: She didn't try and attack anybody or anything.


HARTUNG: You hear the caller say he didn't see this elderly woman as a threat, but police apparently felt differently. They say when they repeatedly asked Al-Bishara to drop the knife, she didn't comply. She didn't even respond. They say she had a very calm demeanor, even when they pulled out their guns and the Taser.

Now, among the responding officers, Chatsworth police chief, who is defending his officers' actions, saying they were justified, even though we have since learned from this woman's granddaughter that she has dementia and she speaks only Arabic. The chief is saying most people can understand the universal command for stop. This woman was approaching an officer, about five yards away from him when she was struck with that Taser. She's now being charged with trespassing and obstruction. John, she's expected in court next month.

BERMAN: She's expected in court.

All right, Kaylee Hartung, a strange story for us. Appreciate it.

I do have a quick programming not for you with all this back and forth over the role of the media in our society. The executive editors of "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" will join David Axelrod for "The Axe Files" tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

All morning long we've been remembering the one and only Aretha Franklin. We have something very special for you ahead. Her long-time friend, Smokey Robinson, he has known Aretha Franklin, he knew her from the time he was eight years old, he joins us. Also with us, Jennifer Holliday. What a voice. Aretha Franklin was her idol. She'll recount the time she was 18 years old, winning a chance to meet her idol. Stick around.


[08:47:34] BERMAN: We're going to let that play for just a minute longer because, why not? Because we just want to hear as much of it as we probably can. The tributes really are pouring in from around the world this morning

for Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul. She died yesterday at the age of 76.

Joining us now, someone who has known Aretha Franklin from the time he was eight years old, Smoky Robinson joins us now, a legend in his own right. Also joining us is Jennifer Holliday, at least in a moment. We'll have -- there's Jennifer Holliday also with us.

We are so lucky to have both of you with us.

Mr. Robinson, let me start with you because I've been reading your tributes to Aretha Franklin from the last day and they're so moving. You say, my longest friend in this world went home to be with her father. I will miss her so much, but I know she's at peace.

What does this mean to you?

SMOKEY ROBINSON, FRIEND OF ARETHA FRANKLIN: Yes. Yes, that's how I feel. You know, she was my longest friend up until the day before yesterday. We had gone through life being together and staying in contact and staying in touch and we were family.

HILL: Her -- and her roots, which obviously include you to a great extent, so much of her roots, her childhood, her church where her father was a pastor, this did not leave her. This was not only a foundation throughout her lifetime, but she kept going back to New Bethel. We spoke with the pastor yesterday who told us, you know, how important that church still was to her. Talk to us a little bit more, if you would, about that faith and the church and what it meant for all of you at that point in time.

ROBINSON: Well, as you were saying, by her father being one of the biggest ministers in the country, Reverend C.L. Franklin, her roots were gospel. I mean she grew up singing in the church from the time she was probably five years old or so. You know, she would always sing to people. And when she got to be about nine or ten, she was the featured attraction there.

Reverend Franklin had so many talented gospel people to come through that church, that's how we met them, because many of them would stay at their home, Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke and people like that who we got a chance to see because of them.

But her roots were gospel and she had that gospel feeling in her -- in her -- it was in her voice, it was in her tone. Even when she was singing jazz, it was soulful because she was just a soulful person and a soulful singer. And she had it. I tell people all the time, there's a thing in show business called it and Aretha definitely had it.

[08:50:11] BERMAN: I think Aretha Franklin defined it.

And, Smokey Robinson, if you'll humor us for a second, I want to put up a clip of you singing with Aretha Franklin on "Soul Train" in 1979.

ROBINSON: Oh, yes. BERMAN: This is something I think she wanted to do with you together. And after we listen to this -- we'll play it for just a moment -- I want you to reflect on her voice because it was a four-octave voice. She had a gift that we were lucky enough to have shared with us for so long. But let's listen for a second to the two of you together.


ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): My heart went out to play, but in the game I lost you. What a price to pay. I'm crying. Ooh, baby, baby.


BERMAN: I can see the smile on your face as you're listening to that.

When you hear that voice, how do you explain it?


ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): Mistakes, I know I made a few, but I'm only human.


BERMAN: I can see the smile on your face as you're listening to this, Smokey. I don't know if you can tell us, explain to us the voice as you listen to Aretha Franklin sing.

ROBINSON: Well, you know, I really don't have to explain Aretha Franklin's voice, man. You know, anybody who heard Aretha Franklin knew that that's who it was. And she was influential to most of your modern day female singers. You know, all of them had some kind of influence from Aretha Franklin because she was the original. She was the -- they called her the queen of soul, but she just had the queen of voice, really. She was just great, singing everything from opera, as we saw when she sang that on the Grammy's that time filling in for Pavarotti at the last minute, to gut bucket blues, to jazz, to gospel. You know, she just had that voice. Aretha could have sang the phone book and it would have sounded good.

HILL: And we all would have loved every name in that phone book if we -- if we heard Aretha Franklin sing it.

Jennifer Holliday, you say growing up in Houston you just idolized her. She came to see you in "Dream Girls," but you first met her when you were 18. What was that moment like for you to meet this woman who had been your idol?


It was a thrill of a lifetime. I had idolized her my whole life. I grew up singing in the church choir, of course, just like her. And my very first Broadway show was called "Your Arms Too Short to Box With God." And I kept saying, you know, at that time she had just married Glen Thurman, so she was living in Los Angeles. And I just said, can I meet -- anybody know her? Anybody know her? And then there was this guy who said, of course we know her, we'll try to see if she will come. And she came and she enjoyed it.

And then she came to see me in "Dream Girls" in Los Angeles at the Shubert Theatre. She actually came alone. And she just took it all in. And she wrote me, she was smoking -- still smoking back then and she wrote me a beautiful note on a pack of matches from the -- from the bar. So she was always just very supportive and very, very thoughtful.

HILL: Do you still have that?

HOLLIDAY: I do, actually. I do.

HILL: That's something you guard dearly. You never -- you never let that go.

BERMAN: I think Aretha Franklin writes you a note on a book of matches, you hang on to that.


BERMAN: Jennifer Holliday, I have to say, first of all, what an honor it is to get a chance to talk to you. Big "Dream Girls" fan.


BERMAN: And always so blown away by your voice.

I've been reading some of the things you've had to say and one of the things we've heard from so many people, as great of a singer as Aretha Franklin is, something that those of us who weren't her friends don't know is, this was a human being who loved to cook. And she would cook for everybody.

HOLLIDAY: Aretha loved to cook and I kept saying, I said, they think that she's going to go straight to sing in the choir when she goes. No, she's going to go straight to cook for God. She's going to be like, I need to cook for Jesus and that's what I need to do. I've been thinking about this meal for a long time.

And there was one story for President Clinton's 50th birthday. We were at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. We stayed at the Waldorf- Astoria, of course, in the tower part. She had a presidential apartment and I just had a, you know, a regular suite. But all of a sudden one day the whole floor smells up and it's like this food and everything. And it was like, what is this smell?

[08:55:09] And Aretha calls me on this phone, "Jenny, girl, you better come down here and get you some chitterlings." I was like in the Waldorf-Astoria? Oh, my God. But that was what's beautiful about her. As much of a queen diva as she was, she was so down to earth. So real. I mean she's cooking in her house shoes soul food at the Waldorf- Astoria not bothered about it and just -- I felt that she had a lot of joy in the cooking. You could see her stirring the love, but you could also see her in thought, you know, maybe about things that she didn't share with us that were personal. She thought about it while she was stirring that pot, you know, and just was so much -- so much love and as a human, just as a human, and as a -- as a woman, because when I first met her at 18, I was just a young girl. But after you get your heart broke a couple of times, you become a woman. And I think then we identified and she was very -- a great supporter. A great supporter of all of us who just idolized her and tried so much to sing like her.

HILL: It is -- it is so wonderful to hear these memories and these stories and we wish we could go on all morning, quite frankly. As well all know, we can't.

So, Smokey Robinson, we'll just give you the last word. When you think of your dear friend Aretha Franklin, what is the first thought that pops into your head? What brings that smile to your face every time?

ROBINSON: How blessed and how happy I am that I got to know her and call her my lifelong friend. That's what I think about. I'm going to miss her because we talked all the time. So that's what I think about. I'm so blessed. I got a chance to know Aretha Franklin personally and be her friend and her be my friend.

BERMAN: Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Holliday, we are sorry for your loss. We are so grateful that you shared your memories with us this morning, came on to stir the love, as Jennifer Holliday said so eloquently. What a life. And, Smokey Robinson, we've all been blessed to be able to listen to her music for so long.

ROBINSON: Absolutely.

HILL: And we want to leave you with a little bit more from Aretha Franklin before Poppy Harlow picks things up on CNN "NEWSROOM."


[09:00:07] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

This morning, President Trump is defiant despite growing criticism.