New Pope elected, SNAP responds
It is always hopeful when someone new takes office. We often assume that the new person will be better than the last person, especially in a scandal ridden institution.
But that assumption is reckless. There’s no guarantee that a new person means a new direction.
Our hope is that the new Pope is that he will be bold and courageous in tackling the centuries-old and ongoing abuse and cover up crisis in the church. It’s long-standing, deeply-entrenched and tragically pervasive. Real reform may well take decades.
To help the institution he loves, Pope Benedict resigned. We hope that this pope will take similarly radical steps to protect children.
Actions, not words protect kids. While long on words, apologies and promises, Benedict was short on decisive action. We hope his successor will be different. We strongly urge him to start by harshly disciplining prelates who are enabling or have enabled child molesting clerics, be they priests, nuns, seminarians, bishops or cardinals.
And we urge Catholics to judge him on the concrete steps he may take to stop the abuse and cover-up, not on the vague pledges he may make about the crisis.
We in SNAP will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard children, expose wrongdoing and heal victims. We will keep working to hold those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children responsible, and see that they are prosecuted and convicted and kept away from kids. We will vigorously push to reform predator friendly abuse laws, so that more wounded victims can warn families and protect kids through the justice system. We beg compassionate and concerned Catholics to join us in this struggle.
No one man caused this crisis; no one man can remedy it either. Every single person who sees, suspects or suffers child sex crimes in the church must report, and preferably to secular authorities, not church figures. Complacency protects no one. Only vigilance protects the vulnerable.