- Two groups say “donate elsewhere
- They’re upset over honor of bishop
- “Give more generously than ever,” advocates urge
- “But contribute to non-profits that help victims, not hurt victims,” organizations say
Clergy sex abuse victims and advocates are urging Arizona citizens and parishioners to boycott an event planned by a Catholic foundation and to "donate elsewhere" because the non-profit plans to honor Phoenix's controversial retired bishop.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and NSAC, the National Survivors Advocate Coalition, are urging citizens and Catholics to "give more generously than ever in the months ahead, but donate to groups that help child sex abuse victims, not groups that hurt child sex abuse victims."
They're upset because the Catholic Community Foundation is planning a fundraising event in April to honor Bishop Thomas O'Brien who, they say, ignored and concealed clergy sex crimes – both known and suspected – for years.
O’Brien was also involved in a drunken driving accident in which a man was killed.
“Catholics can speak loudly with their wallets. Let the world know that your faith means more to you than going along with glorifying a bishop who jeopardized kids and got away with a hit and run killing,” said Kristine Ward of NSAC. “Among the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, this foundation can surely find a much more worthy candidate for saying ‘well done good and faithful servant.’”
“It's hard for people to change denominations, even over child sex abuse and cover up scandals. But it's not hard to change charities,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “So until the Catholic Community foundation rescinds this honor and apologizes for such callousness, we urge everyone who has donated or might donate to them to give elsewhere.
“We must refuse to support, honor or praise adults who conceal child sex crimes, both known and suspected,” said Ward. “The quickest and easiest way to do this is to contribute to non-profits that don’t praise proven wrongdoers who have protected predators over children.”
Both groups emphasized that, given the many who need financial help because of the troubled economy, people should not avoid making contributions to foundations or agencies.
“We hope this controversy won’t lead one person to stop one donation,” Clohessy said. “We just hope they will give more carefully and thoughtfully, and in a way that sends a strong pro-child message to other institutions and decision-makers.”
And both groups also urge Catholics and citizens to not attend the foundation’s gala.
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