IL- Springfield bishop challenges Muslims; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Thursday, October, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki is challenging Muslim leaders to denounce Islamic extremists, much like “every priest and bishop has to speak out about the sexual abuse crisis in the (Catholic) church.
We, in turn, challenge Paprocki to instruct all of his priests to do exactly that – speak out about the sexual abuse and cover up crisis in the church. As best we can tell, only a tiny number of priests have done this.
Specifically, we urge Paprocki to tell his clerics to stand in their pulpits this weekend and tell their flocks to:
–call law enforcement if they have seen, suspected or suffered abuse,
–ask their loved ones “Did any church official ever hurt you?” and
–stress the importance of continued vigilance over tempting complacency.
He should also tell the priests to avoid:
–minimizing the crimes and cover ups,
–make excuses for the widespread wrongdoing,
–urging parishioners to call church officials, and
–saying or implying that the crisis is largely over.
We don't know of a single bishop in the US who has done this. Having issued a similar challenged to Muslims, Paprocki should lead by example and become the first Catholic prelate to make sure that his priests do address the on-going abuse and cover up scandal in a compassionate and helpful way.
And as bishop, he can – and should – do more than talk. He should take concrete steps to protect kids, like:
–posting names, photos and whereabouts of predator priests on his website (30 US bishops have done this), and
–turning over to law enforcement officials the personnel files of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric, to see if they might be prosecuted or if those who hid these crimes might be prosecuted.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years 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)