NY--Cardinal should denounce Syracuse bishops
For immediate release: Sunday, Sept. 13
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
New York Cardinal Tim Dolan should harshly, publicly and immediately denounce two Syracuse bishops for blaming victims of pedophile priests for their victimization.
In a 2011 deposition, Bishop Robert Cunningham was asked a clear, simple question: "did the (abused) boy commit a sin?" He made a clear, simple reply: "The boy is culpable."
Shame on him.
And his predecessor, Bishop James Moynihan, told abuse victim Charles Bailey 'The age of reason is 7, so if you're at least 7 you're culpable for your actions.'
Shame on him too.
And shame on any and every Catholic official who ignores – and thus essentially endorses – these mean-spirited remarks.
Dolan, as the “metropolitan” bishop over all of New York, has a particular duty to speak up loudly and clearly here unless he wants to deepen the pain of thousands of abuse victims and deepen the victim-shaming and victim-blaming church culture that still persists.
These are inexcusable, irresponsible comments from powerful, smart men. They will deter others who were raped and sodomized from reporting criminals and protecting kids.
This warped, self-serving view – that a child is to blame for his or her victimization by a priest - stems from the exalted and 'superior' status clerics give themselves. Bishops think this way because they've been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that the ordained are 'above' the common folk.
Bishops often talk of "the dignity of every person." But deep down, many of them are convinced that they really are better than the rest of us, which is why many of them almost compulsively blame others when clerics commit crimes.
We hope Syracuse Catholics will be so disgusted by these mean-spirited remarks that they stop donating to institutions that hide abuse and give instead to agencies that fight abuse.
We also hope that US bishops will harshly and publicly denounce him, so that hurtful comments like this are deterred. They’ve pledged (starting in 2002) that they will “fraternally correct” their colleagues who endanger kids, protect predators, conceal crimes and otherwise mishandle this continuing crisis. Now is the time for them do so.
And we hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Syracuse will find the courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, seek justice and start healing, by first seeking independent sources of help and NOT reporting to corrupt, self-serving Catholic officials.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,email@example.com)
Child victims partly to blame in priest sex-abuse cases, Syracuse bishop testified
By John O'Brien | firstname.lastname@example.org, September 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The victims of child-molesting priests are partly to blame for their own abuse, the bishop of Syracuse said in a sworn deposition that revealed his views on the church's sex abuse scandal.
Bishop Robert Cunningham testified in a 2011 deposition in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a man who said a priest in the Syracuse diocese sexually abused him as a child.
The man's lawyer asked Cunningham whether, in the eyes of the church, a child molested by a priest has committed a sin.
"The boy is culpable," Cunningham said . . .
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.