Over the past week, here’s a partial list of states where Catholic officials have said "no comment" about clergy sex abuse lawsuits and allegations: Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Dear Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga
Happy anniversary. It was a decade ago next month when you essentially accused Jews of being behind media reports of clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
In the day since the Royal Commission into Child Abuse began, the commission has already received word that at least 5000 people want to give evidence. This is exciting news.
"He's done something unusual/unexpected practically every day." That’s how an anonymous but high ranking Vatican official describes Pope Francis.
We’ve talked a lot since the election of Pope Francis about how he has an enormous duty to protect kids and help prevent future sex abuse. But just because there is a new Pope doesn’t mean we can give church officials who have previously covered up crimes against children any slack.
In one of those amazing moments, we were on the square getting ready to head back up the hill when a reporter rushed up and said come with me. He brought us to meet Francesco Zanardi, a fellow survivor, from Savona.
In his first hours as the new head of the church, Pope Francis made a self-effacing joke, carried his own luggage, rode on a bus, paid his hotel bill and asked his flock to bless him.
Then, he visited Cardinal Bernard Law.
“What’s best for kids, a pope from a developed nation or a developing nation?”
That’s what a journalist asked us today. Her theory was that in developed nations, prelates dealt with abuse more and that their experience would be helpful.
We disagree with both premises.
Experience can be positive, but only if one learns the right lesson from it. No prelate on the planet had dealt more with abuse than Benedict. Yet his experience apparently taught him that little in the church needed to change.
What do we hope to achieve?
We want to educate parishioners and the public about this ongoing crisis, especially regarding the church officials who continue to protect predators and endanger kids, some of whom will pick the next pope, and one of whom may become the next pope.
We went leafleting last night about Fr. Juan Baptiste Ormechea. He and five other admitted or credibly accused US predator priests are living and we fear working here in Rome (or have done so recently). With a little help from a kind volunteer, we had an outreach flyer translated into Italian. It explains who we are and why we were passing out leaflets. People were very polite and accepted our flyers. As all of you know so well, leaflets are an amazing tool and almost always help us to find survivors and warn communities about dangerous predators living nearby.
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.