Poland- Catholic Church seeks forgiveness, SNAP responds
For immediate release Thursday, June 12, 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)
For apparently the first time in its history, the Polish Catholic hierarchy will publicly apologize to sexual abuse victims. We're not buying it.
Vulnerable kids and wounded victims need actions, not words.
The Catholic church in Poland has an appalling track record when it come to the clergy sex abuse scandal. Their first focus must be on preventing child sex crimes.
Apologies make a few people feel good in the short term but produce no real change in the long term. The time to apologize is once the damage is over and the risk of more damage is past. That's not the situation here. Clergy sex crimes and cover ups are still happening in Poland.
Often, bishops apologize with deceitful intent, hoping to convince parishioners and the public that all of this is somehow "in the past." It's not. It's going on now. And it must be addressed by courageous action, not public relations gestures.
We hope Polish victims gain more strength and keep speaking up, getting independent help, banding together and reporting to secular officials, not church figures.
(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 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by those in positions of authority including priests, nuns, rabbis, bishops, Protestant ministers, Scout leaders, teachers and coaches. 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.