For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
After six months of virtual silence (and complete inaction), a pope finally addresses the continuing clergy sex crime and cover up crisis in the church. The problem is: it’s the wrong pope. And it’s the wrong message.
Pope Benedict, the retired pope, now denies ever covering up heinous, world-wide sexual violence against children. We obviously and vehemently disagree. (That’s why we have filed and continue pursuing a formal complaint against Benedict and three of his colleagues at the International Criminal Court.)
But it’s Pope Francis, not Pope Benedict, who should be addressing this crisis. And he should do so in the only way that matters - with deeds, not words. Those deeds, that action, has not happened yet, six months into Francis’ papacy. No child on the planet is safer now because Pope Francis replaced Pope Benedict.
But no one need give up on Pope Benedict yet. Though he is elderly and retired, he is clearly still very smart and articulate. He is freer now than ever to “come clean.”
Pope Benedict says he didn’t protect predators and conceal crimes. We challenge him to prove this. We challenge him to, right now, to better protect children, expose the truth and help heal the wounded, by publicly sharing any details about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. We challenge him to, right now, publicly name even a handful of the tens of thousands of bishops, priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians who have committed or concealed sexual violence against children. Especially those who are still on the job. Especially those who’ve been transferred from one nation to another. Especially those have not already been exposed thanks to the actions of brave victims, diligent journalists, determined prosecutors or courageous whistleblowers.
Just a handful, Pope Benedict. Protect kids now. Name just a handful of church predators and enablers.