PA- Philly archbishop “betrays victims again,” SNAP says
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 11, 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)
Once again, Philadelphia’s archbishop has given his flock another reason to be ashamed of him.
Under fire for continuing cover ups of clergy sex crimes, Catholic officials quietly started to give free parochial school tuition to some victims. But they refused to tell all victims about this option, and then they quietly reversed themselves (relenting in one case only because a persistent journalist kept questioning them). And for months, they rebuffed one parent's repeated requests to plead his case. Finally, adding insult to injury, Archbishop Charles Chaput, through one of his public relations staff, claims that an exception he's finally made “is another clear signal of the archbishop’s commitment to victims of clergy sexual abuse.”
It's not. It is, in fact, another clear signs that Chaput, like many of his brother bishops, acts irresponsibly and insensitively, often responding to abuse victims only when pressured and even then, acting capriciously.
This latest Philly scandal is typical of the callousness, deceit, cynicism and self-promotion of so many Catholic officials.
--It's callous because it's stingy and potentially disrupts kids' educations.
--It's deceitful because some victims, likely most of them, were never told about the option.
--It's cynical because it was adopted when Philly Catholic officials were in the glare of negative publicity and was quietly shelved when that publicity began to wane.
--It's self-promoting because even now, Chaput desperately tries to “spin” this betrayal as a “signal” of his “commitment to victims.”
Again, it's not. It's a “signal” of his “commitment” to business as usual – making already struggling child sex abuse victims beg for crumbs and relenting only when his heartlessness is about to be exposed.
(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.