Open letter to victims, witnesses & whistleblowers on eve of JPII sainthood from SNAP
Our hearts ache for each of you who were abused during and after John Paul II's long tenure as Pope. We know these days are difficult, even painful, for many of you, given the awful suffering so many still experience, suffering that is often made worse as the Catholic hierarchy praises wrongdoers instead of punishing them.
Our hearts also ache for all of you who tried to protect children from clergy predators during John Paul II's tenure, yet were met with cold indifference or open hostility.
John Paul II is revered by many across the world, but as you know, during his rule, great harm was committed which endures to this day. At best, he turned a blind eye to clergy sexual crimes and cover-ups. At worst, he perpetuated and approved them. For him to now be given the highest honor in the church rubs even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of thousands of struggling victims and millions of betrayed Catholics and victims.
For all of you who are upset because of this callous sainthood decision and celebration, we want you to know that you are not alone, that you can heal, and that real justice, prevention and recovery – no matter how depressed or pessimistic you may feel right now – is possible.
While John Paul’s sainthood will soon be history, the courage and strength and perseverance of you and your brothers and sisters in this movement for children's safety is ongoing. That's where our hope lies.
There is no better example of courage and strength and perseverance than the dozens of brave Maciel survivors. Their persistence eventually exposed the world's most notorious predator priest. Survivors across the globe should take note: it's a long, tough battle, but by persisting, we CAN achieve what Maciel's victims have achieved – letting millions learn about child molesting clerics and their corrupt church supervisors. The eventual outcome of their lengthy ordeal proves our contention that for clergy sex abuse victims, justice, prevention and healing ARE possible.
These men are an inspiring example - among thousands of similar examples - of survivors making life-saving changes. Years ago, all of us were alone, now we're not. Years ago, few of our predators were "outed" now many are. Years ago, few people knew the scope of the abuse and cover-up scandal. Now millions are. Years ago, few people believed that allegedly holy, celibate and trusted clergy were capable of heinous crimes and cover ups. Now millions are.
So we beg you to keep protecting kids by speaking up, exposing wrongdoers, calling police. We beg you to keep healing yourself so that the cycle of violence is broken by and with each one of us. We're extraordinarily grateful for all that you have done and are doing to prevent crimes, expose cover ups and demand justice.
Together, despite the horrific things we have seen and suffered, there are practical, proven steps we can take, and that thousands of victims are taking, to better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
To each of the hundreds of thousands of clergy sex abuse victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers across the globe, we pledge that for the safety of children we will never give up. Despite horrific pain and continued setbacks, we know you won’t either.
Miguel Hurtado of Spain/U.K. (+44 7787 638245, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nicky Davis of Australia (+39 388 9068750, email@example.com)
David D’Bonnable of Austria (+699 125 90464, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Barbara Blaine of Chicago (+39 366 1160224, U.S. cell +1 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
David Clohessy of St. Louis (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
P.S. Please keep in mind the words of Martin Luther King: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Please stand with us and with innocent children in continuing to bend that arc.
(All signers are clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (email@example.com, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More