Pope Sends Prelate Known to Downplay Abuse to January Retreat
In 2010, a Vatican priest considered to be the 'papal preacher' made international headlines when he likened accusations of abuse and cover up against Catholic officials to “a collective violence suffered by the Jews.”
Now, the pope is sending this same prelate to meet with all US bishops. We call on Pope Francis to change his mind.
The Associated Press reported that Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa's precise quote was the current "violent and concentric attacks" on the church and then Pope Benedict were "reminiscent of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."
According to the Irish Times, "the incident sparked off a series of indignant replies from Jews worldwide." Ironically, just a day before Fr. Cantalamessa's comments, another high ranking Vatican official said that the Catholic faithful will not be swayed by "petty gossip" about child sex-abuse allegations.
Given this pattern of downplaying the abuse suffered by survivors across the world, we believe that Pope Francis could do far better in sending a different official who hasn’t repeatedly demeaned victims and survivors (of both sexual abuse and the holocaust). If Pope Francis really wants to show that he is taking this crisis seriously, he should send someone else to the U.S. in January.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)