Chile--Victims applaud Chile politicians who appeal to Pope
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 17
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
More than 50 Chilean politicians are asking Pope Francis to rescind the promotion of a bishop who concealed heinous child sex crimes. We applaud them and join in their call to have Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno demoted.
Under new public relations advisors, Vatican officials are increasing saying all the right things about abuse in the church. But their actions repeatedly contradict their lofty pledges of reform, especially when they promote, instead of punish, men like Bishop Barros.
All too often, political and community leaders stay silent about clergy sexual abuse and cover ups. But this is irresponsible. These are crimes against citizens, not internal church matters. More political figures should speak up and use their clout to take tangible steps to expose and deter cover ups by Catholic officials.
The courageous victims of Fr. Fernando Karadima, a notorious and shrewd predator priest, have suffered enough. They should not have to endure the added trauma of seeing a prelate who enabled Karadima’s crimes be rewarded with a promotion.
This promotion will encourage other church officials who are hiding crimes, protecting predators and endangering kids to keep on with their irresponsible actions.
Actions speak louder than words. So Francis can keep saying nice words about the abuse crisis. But as long as he keeps elevating the very bishops who cause the crisis – through recklessness, callousness and deceit – he’ll keep exacerbating the crisis.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have 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)
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.