“Extreme” DE priest is new head of national group; SNAP objects
For immediate release: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A Delaware priest, who claims there’s a “war on the Roman Catholic priesthood” has just been elected head of America's Catholic religious orders. He also insists that two convicted child molesters are innocent and that prosecutors are “overzealous.” We think he’s an extremist.
He is Fr. James J. Greenfield, an official with the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He insists that his colleague Fr. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Spero, who were found guilty of child sex crimes in January by a Philadelphia jury, were wrongly convicted.
Fr. Greenfield is the new president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, purportedly representing some 17,000 religious order clerics in the US. ( http://www.cmsm.org/ )
Some of Fr. Greenfield’s more incendiary remarks were made on a Philadelphia blog by Ralph Cipriano called “Big Trial.”
Fr. Greenfield’s election sends a depressing and chilling message to thousands of clergy sex abuse victims. Decades into the church’s horrific and on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, Catholic officials are still elevating colleagues who deny and mischaracterize the scandal.
We strongly doubt that Fr. Greenfield spent hours with Fr. Engelhardt’s victim, as police and prosecutors surely did, or spent weeks and weeks listening to testimony from all sides, as jurors did.
Much like disgraced Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali, who publicly blasted law enforcement officials over dozens and dozens of local pedophile priest cases, Fr. Greenfield also attacks Philadelphia’s prosecutors.
"In my opinion, there is something not right inside the D.A's office," Fr. Greenfield told a blogger.
There are thousands of religious order priests in the US who don't claim there’s a “war” against Catholic priests and who don’t claim that they’re right and that police, prosecutors, jurors, a victim and a judge are all wrong. We wish one of them had been elected to head the CMSM. We hope America’s religious order priests had made a more judicious choice and that they don’t end up regretting their decision to boost the career of such an extremist as Fr. Greenfield.
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.