For immediate release: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016
Before praising Alaska Archbishop Francis Hurley too much, Catholics and citizens should recall that he repeatedly put children in harm’s way, by quietly bringing a Michigan predator priest and a New Mexico predator bishop to work in Alaska while warning no one about their crimes.
And just five years ago, he advocated returning some child molesting clerics to ministry and relaxing the church’s “zero tolerance” policy.
He also reportedly ignored one abuse victim until that man went public with allegations against a pedophile priest.
Back in 2002, when US bishops first adopted a nationwide abuse policy, Hurley argued against it.
When someone passes away, we’re all tempted to gloss over that person’s shortcomings. But protecting predators like Msgr. Frank Murphy, Fr. Timothy Crowley, and Archbishop Robert Sanchez and shunning victims like Pat Podvin are not “shortcomings.” They are deliberately self-serving decisions that endangered children, hurt victims, betrayed Catholics and stonewalled police.
So heaping praise on Hurley now also heaps pain on those who were hurt and betrayed by his callous and irresponsible behavior.
Even worse, when we ignore wrongdoing, we encourage wrongdoing. And when we honor wrongdoers, we encourage similar wrongdoing. So praising Hurley now also basically encourages similar cover ups.
For the sake of justice, the healing of victims and the safety of children, we beg Catholic officials and parishioners to be honest about Hurley’s history of hiding and enabling child sex crimes. We beg them to not bury the archbishop will full honors and not ignore his full track record.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org