Vatican - More Vatican talk on abuse; SNAP responds
For immediate release: December 5, 2013
David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
“Commission,” “survey,” “policies” – these are the words being used to describe the Vatican’s announcement.
Another commission surveying bishops and recommending policies is meaningless. It’s like offering a band-aid to an advanced cancer patient.
These crimes and cover ups have gone on for centuries quietly and decades publicly. Only decisive action can help, not more studies and committees and promises.
No institution can police itself, especially not an ancient, secretive, rigid, all-male monarchy. Yet that's what Catholic officials have long claimed and tried to do. This move is more of the same. Rather than show courage and creativity, top Catholic officials are repeating the same self-serving patterns of the past that have proven to be effective public relations but ineffective prevention and healing steps.
Like his predecessors, the Pope knows precisely what must be done to protect kids and expose the truth. Like his predecessors, he lacks the strength of character to do it.
Clergy sex crimes should be dealt with by secular authorities. And more could be done if the Pope punished bishops who conceal these crimes and ordered bishops to publicly disclose their child molesting clerics. This simple step would immediately make kids safer. But instead, parents and parishioners are being offered yet another toothless church panel.
The pope should also insist that bishops push secular officials to reform archaic barriers to justice like the statute of limitations. This simple step would also make kids safer.
Pope Francis has massive power and many options. But he’s choosing to not use that power to protect children. And he’s choosing perhaps the least effective option to address a roiling crisis: another internal, quiet, cleric-dominated committee.
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.