Pope’s ambassador accused of abuse; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
The pope’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been recalled after child sex abuse allegations against him surfaced in news accounts. But like all of his predecessors, Pope Francis is acting belatedly, secretively and recklessly.
It’s the same old, same old...
Catholic officials act only when forced to do so by media pressure. When they do act, they act secretively – in this case, by not disclosing the allegations, the suspension or the reason for the suspension. (According to CNN, “The Vatican confirmed Wednesday that Jozef Wesolowski was removed from his post and that an investigation is under way, but did not say what allegations were made.”)
Catholic officials claim they’ll act with “openness and transparency” in clergy sex cases. But they don’t. They claim they’re “learning” and “reforming” in clergy sex cases. But they aren’t.
The new pontiff has raised many people’s hopes by his personal warmth and simple gestures and more down-to-earth style. Tragically, however, one of that has translated into any significant change in the hurtful and self-destructive patterns of irresponsible action by the church hierarchy in child abuse and cover up cases.
The Dominican Republic's attorney general's office has opened an investigation. Supposedly, the Vatican has too. We hope anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Archbishop Wesolowski’s crimes will cooperate with the former and ignore the latter. Child sex crimes should be investigated by independent professionals in law enforcement, not self-serving bureaucrats in church offices.
And shame on church spokesman Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, who said "It is a situation that really shames and hurts the conscience of all Catholics," he told reporters. In this case, like so many others, Catholic officials fixate on themselves and their flock instead of focusing on protecting the vulnerable, healing the wounded and stopping the predators. When will Catholic officials find the decency to put the needs of those hurt by child molesting clerics first?
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.