For immediate release Wednesday, January 8, 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)
Soon, Pope Francis will name new cardinals. We suspect that each of his choices will be men who are hiding records that are protecting child molesting clerics and are endangering innocent children.
Pope Francis should be demoting archbishops, not promoting them. Until at least a few top Catholic officials are disciplined and denounced for concealing child sex crimes, top Catholic officials will keep concealing child sex crimes.
Many people are focused on the geographic or ideological make-up of the next batch of prelates. Those concerns should be a distant second.
The church's central, on-going crisis is not too many conservative prelates or too few prelates from the southern hemisphere. It's the continuing clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis.
Whether they're from the north or south, from the Curia or not, or from the left or right wing, the Pope's choices - like almost everything he has done over the past ten months - will have little, if any, impact on the crisis. In fact, his choices will likely worsen the crisis, because he will almost certainly promote corrupt church officials, thereby reminding Catholic employees everywhere that protecting predators and endangering kids is a safe way to ensure that your career in the church won't ever be disrupted. It is, of course, irresponsible for Pope Francis to do this. But he will do it, we believe, nonetheless.
His elevating complicit church officials essentially rewards reckless, callous and deceitful behavior. It reminds other church employees - from cardinals to custodians - that the way to move up in the church is by doing what's always been done and obeying orders, even if doing so puts kids in harm's way.
At some point, we desperately hope that Pope Francis will turn his peripatetic attention and considerable skills to ameliorating, not exacerbating, the vulnerability of innocent kids, the wounds of suffering victims, and the betrayal of millions of Catholics.