Chile – Pope admits “serious mistakes” in sex abuse crisis; survivors vindicated
Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda, Volunteer Secretary of SNAP’s Board of Directors (925-708-6175,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pope Francis today admitted to making “serious mistakes” in handling Chile’s sex abuse crisis. We rejoice with the Chilean survivors whose steadfast witness is vindicated by the Pope’s admission.
During a trip to South America earlier this year the pope told reporters that there was no proof that Bishop Juan Barros Madrid and three other bishops knew about Father Fernando Karadima’s sexual abuse of children. Yet Juan Carlos Cruz and other victims testified in court and wrote in letters sent to church officials that these bishops did know and covered it up. Not only did the pope ignore this evidence, he also slandered these survivors by accusing them of calumny.
While we are glad that Pope Francis has publicly acknowledged his serious mistake, it is only a small step in the right direction. From what has been uncovered through lawsuits, media stories and governmental investigations, far too many Catholic officials were complicit in covering up abuse, which resulted in grave damage to innocent lives. True progress would be for the pope to make sure that all reports of abuse within the Church, new and old, are immediately turned over to local law enforcement for investigation.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contacts - Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175), Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org), Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, SNAPVirginia@cox.net)
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.