Legion of Christ official apologizes; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 6 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A Legion of Christ official apologized to victims today.
Apologies are easy but reform is hard. And actions, not words, protect kids. So we urge Catholics to ignore the latest words from this disgraced, secretive, scandal-ridden order and insist on tangible steps that will safeguard children.
Who in the Legion – past or present – hid Fr. Marcial Maciel's crimes? Who in the Legion – past or present – are hiding other clergy sex crimes? Who in the Legion – past and present – engages or engaged in financial fraud?
And what punishment is being meted out to these Catholic officials.
When we know these answers and see these steps, we'll begin to believe the Legion may be headed in the right direction. To assume that now, however, is foolish. Worse, it's a disservice to vulnerable kids around Legion clerics now and an insult to wounded adults suffering because of Legion clerics.
Notice what Legion officials apparently did not say today:
– “If you were hurt by one of our clerics, call the police.”
– “We're now lobbying for better secular laws that protect kids.”
– “We're now posting all our predator priests on our website” or even
– “We're not releasing their names, but here's how many Legion priests have molested kids.”
Not a single fact or tidbit of useful information. Just more words.
And denouncing a widely-documented molester, womanizer, thief and fraud is no act of courage.
Yesterday in Geneva, an Ethiopian man on a United Nations panel essentially told Catholic officials that his committee is not in the business of declaring 'well said' but rather in the business of declaring 'well done.'
That's what most Catholic officials refuse to accept – that mere words – whether promises, excuses or apologies – mean absolutely nothing to vulnerable kids and virtually nothing to suffering adults, especially when church officials' words contradict church officials' actions.
Trust is won back through deeds, not pledges. No one should trust Legion officials until there are clear signs of real change. And we see absolutely no such signs now.
(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 15,000 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.