A reality check about bishops and “accountability”
Statement by David Clohessy Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,
Phone: (314) 566-9790, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hate to see hopes raised and then dashed. So at the risk of being the skunk at the garden party, let me make two points about the possibility of “new” church “processes” that allegedly will “ensure accountability” by complicit bishops.
First, over the past 2.5 years, not a single one of the 4,000 bishops in the world has found the courage to even publicly say “Bishop Robert Finn did wrong.”
(Yes, it’s now been two and a half years since a Kansas City judge found Finn guilty of refusing to give police thousands of images of child pornography from Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s computer.)
So if Catholic officials can’t bring themselves to denounce a bad bishop, is there any real chance they’ll be able to discipline one?
(In fact, some church officials still defend Finn, notably Bishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas.)
Second, did Pope Francis need some “new process” to oust “The Bishop of Bling?” Nope. Has any pope tried to fire a bishop and but given up because he couldn’t find an appropriate “process” to use? Not that I know of.
So why do we need one?
We WILL get one, though. The pope’s abuse panel will recommended one. It will be adopted. Millions will feel some hope and relief.
And then, as the years drag on, and as cover ups continue, the protocol will be forgotten and ignored.
And those for many, those raised hopes will become dashed hopes.
(Post script: Maybe three or four of the 38,000 US priests have publicly managed to say “Bishop Finn did wrong.” Kudos to Fr. Thomas Reese, Fr. Jim Connell and the other few.)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.