New Letter from the Pope, Same Old Song
For immediate release, August 20, 2018
Statement by Tim Lennon, President, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org
Today, we read another missive from Pope Francis about the sexual abuse of children by clergy, this time in response to the devastating report on the Church cover up of these crimes in Pennsylvania. He appropriately expressed righteous anger. The pope again apologized
But we have heard it before. Once again, Pope Francis gives us words not action.
Here's the only question that really matters: Is there a child on earth who is safer now because of the pope's words? Absolutely not.
When Pope Francis said: "Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past," his next phrase should have been "but I know terrible crimes and cover ups are still happening across the globe in our Church and here are the specific steps I'm taking today to stop this horror."
It took a grand jury investigation for law enforcement and the public to be able to examine what had been hidden for so long in Pennsylvania. If Pope Francis is really appalled by the revelations out of the Keystone State he should:
~Order Church officials around the world to voluntarily turn over to law enforcement the kind of records the Pennsylvania grand jury obtained by subpoena;
~Remove each and every Church official who has been complicit in the cover up of clergy crimes; and
~Implore Catholic survivors around the world who have not yet come forward to make reports to law enforcement.
Each time Pope Francis addresses this scandal, his words are longer and stronger, but they are still virtually meaningless. He is welcome to talk about problems he can't fix: war, hunger, poverty. He should fix the problem that he has the right and power to change: the ongoing crisis of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org); Judy Jones (636-433-2511, email@example.com), Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, firstname.lastname@example.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.