Mexico--Bishop ousted; Victims urge caution
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 15
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Let’s be a bit more skeptical of claims that the Vatican is in some way acting against a Mexican bishop for hiding clergy child sex crimes.
Bishop Gonzalo Galvan Castillo of the Autlan diocese quietly resigned last month. He’s “been under fire for years for refusing to report to police or remove from ministry a priest, Fr. Horacio Lopez, suspected of abuse,” reports David Gibson of Religion News Service
But the bishop is not being defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even denounced for putting kids in harm’s way or protecting a predator priest. He’ll still have his title, prestige and paychecks.
And not a single Catholic official is even mentioning his role in the abuse and cover up scandal.
(Remember: Almost a year ago, a controversial Paraguay bishop left his post and Vatican officials quickly stressed that it was NOT because he imported and promoted a credibly accused child molesting cleric.)
This resignation is part of a pattern: In a small, belated but concerted way, Vatican officials seem to be working hard to preemptively weaken criticism of Pope Francis on this crisis prior to his upcoming US visit.
Gibson claims the Vatican is “pursuing a hierarchical housecleaning that aims to address the heart of the clergy sex abuse scandal.” We could not disagree more.
At best, this claim is dreadfully premature. There are 5,100 bishops worldwide. We believe that the overwhelming majority of them are hiding or have hidden clergy sex crimes.
So letting two or three quietly resign for unspecified reasons does not constitute a “hierarchical housecleaning.”
When the Vatican acts more often, more honestly and more harshly against more prelates who protect predators, we’ll be encouraged, but not only in the weeks before a papal trip to the US. Also, when we see Vatican officials order Mexican bishops to use their vast resources to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about credibly accused child molesting clerics like Fr. Horacio Lopez, we’ll be encouraged.
Finally, it was 30 years ago this summer when the first US Catholic clergy sex abuse and cover up scandal garnered national headlines. (The Fr. Gilbert Gauthe case in Louisiana.)
In the wake of that case, many commentators praised new church abuse policies, protocols, procedures and personnel shifts. Many were convinced that real reform was happening. It wasn’t.
The same happened in the early 1990s and again in 2002.
Each time, we’ve all been sadly reminded that reforming the world’s oldest, largest and most powerful monarchy – secretive, rigid and all-male institution – is dreadfully slow.
We do a disservice to innocent kids and vulnerable adults when we assume that small moves and gestures are dramatic progress.
(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)
Pope Francis dumps two more bishops as house cleaning continues
David Gibson Religion News Service | Jul. 15, 2015
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Mexican bishop who reportedly shielded a priest accused of sexually molesting an 11-year-old boy, and on Wednesday the Vatican announced that a Brazilian archbishop who spent $600,000 on renovations to his home and offices had been dismissed.
The moves are the latest signs that Francis is pursuing a hierarchical housecleaning that aims to address the heart of the clergy sex abuse scandal — accountability for bishops — while also removing prelates who . . .
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.