The Problem with the Chilean Conduct Guidelines
Yesterday, the Catholic Church in Chile formally apologized for a set of published conduct guidelines for priests on interacting with children. Not only were the guidelines themselves tone-deaf at best – for example, by explaining that priests should not take naked pictures of children because “they could be misinterpreted” – but they were written and signed by Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, a man who is under investigation by Chilean prosecutors for his role in covering up sexual abuse.
We’re glad these guidelines were published, if only because they gave a window into the warped thinking that has allowed the abuse scandal in Chile to foment for years. By failing to even mention child sexual abuse, the very problem these guidelines are meant to prevent, the authors show that they are incapable of fully grasping the depth of the problem in the Chilean church.
It is a good thing that changes are finally happening thanks to the work of Chilean survivors and their government, but these guidelines are not the right step for the church to take. In addition to fully cooperating with independent investigators, we believe the church should hire outside experts in the field of child abuse prevention in order to create a true system of child protection. Based on these published guidelines, it is clear that church officials cannot do so alone.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (email@example.com, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More