For immediate release: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Msgr. Peter Leslie Smith is the new auxiliary of the Portland Catholic archdiocese. We are disappointed by this choice.
Smith is a civil and a canon lawyer. In our view, the church hierarchy needs fewer lawyers, not more lawyers. Kids and victims need prelates who are trained to deal with this horrific, on-going crisis from a pastoral perspective, not a legal perspective.
He is also the vice chair of the presbyteral council, the vicar general and moderator of the Curia – all high ranking posts. So we strongly suspect that he knows of or suspects clergy child sex crimes and cover ups that he's not helping to uncover.
We are encouraged when rank-and-file priests, not consummate church insiders, are promoted. That's the way to bring real change.
(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)
I submit that it is humanly, morally, spiritually and ethically impossible for any bishop with both degrees to reconcile the myriad of conflicts of interest between following the canon law and following the civil law simultaneously.
Philadelphia Police Dept.