NJ- Newark bishop defends his colleague; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 18, 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)
In a depressing op-ed Newark Bishop Hebda defends the opulent and expensive retirement home Archbishop John Myers is building for himself.
We feel sorry for Newark Catholics who had assumed that Bishop Hebda would be different from and better than Myers. Hebda has no doubt dashed their hopes. And we're sad too that Hebda displays a greater loyalty to his selfish colleague than to parishioners.
Pope Francis urges us to show mercy to the poor. Hebda, however, urges us to show mercy to an imperial and imperious monarch, a man who has shown, time and time again over a long clerical career, that he values his power and reputation more than victims and parishioners.
It's striking that Hebda can't even bring himself to use the phrase “Myers' personal home.” Instead, he euphemistically calls it a “construction project.”
Finally, Hebda points out that Myers has lived for years in downtown Newark (likely because it's convenient for him personally). If Hebda or Myers believe Myers is living a humble lifestyle, we encourage them to conduct a public tour of Myers' living quarters so their flock can see for themselves whether their archbishop is living like a servant or a king.
To us, it's a sad day when Catholic officials publicly brag about living in “less than enviable” zip codes.
(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.