Did Pope Francis ever take a single step to protect a child?
For immediate release: Sunday, Sept. 27
The AP reports that including incest victims in the papal meeting today is an effort to “redirect the discussion.”
We hope that’s not true. If true, that’s incredibly cynical. It’s pathetic when wrongdoers claim “someone else is even worse.” It was hurtful to victims and Catholics alike when Francis said this in 2010.
It's hurtful every time a Catholic official makes this self-serving dodge. Almost always, bishops mention incest to shift the focus onto predators and away from their own continuing complicity.
Regardless, however of church officials’ intent, we feel that every victim needs and deserves all the support and validation possible. Our hearts ache for them.
Sadly, by opposing secular reforms of child safety laws, Catholic officials hurt both clergy abuse victims AND incest victims, denying all of us the chance to protect kids by exposing predators in court.
Finally, this morning in Philadelphia, Francis said “I commit to a careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected and that all responsible will be held accountable.” We are sick and tired of these promises by Catholic officials. We’re heard them literally tens of thousands of times.
From 1969 until 1992, Francis was a priest.
From 1992 until 2001, he was a bishop.
From 2001 until 2013, he was a cardinal.
Is there a single shred of evidence that he took even a single step to protect a single child?
And from 2013 until now, he’s talked, promised and gestured but refuses to take simple, proven steps to protect kids, expose predators, punish enablers and deter wrongdoing.
He set up a church study panel. He says he’ll set up a church tribunal. But he continues to keep secret every file about every predator and every enabler. His bishops across the world are hiding even more evidence. These hundreds of thousands of pages about crimes should be in the hands of law enforcement. But under Francis, as best we can tell, not one page has been voluntarily provided to one police officer or prosecutor or government official anywhere.
Francis continues to conceal thousands of names of proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests. He continues to tolerate thousands of complicit church officials. And he continues to promote dozens of complicit bishops (like Barros in Chile).
We hope the next time Francis talks about this crisis, it’s to announce tangible prevention steps. And we hope he calls it a continuing crisis, not “difficult moments.”
(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)
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine(312-399-4747, firstname.lastname@example.org), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, email@example.com), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.