Rome--In 2 sentences, here’s why SNAP is so skeptical
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 13
Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414 429 7259, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last week, Boston Cardinal O’Malley said the church needs new guidelines to discipline bishops who conceal abuse. He told journalists in Rome “When you don’t have a clear path to respond in cases of sexual abuse, people tend to improvise. And when they improvise, they make many mistakes.”
Two full years ago, O’Malley told the Boston Globe the very same thing: “. . .if you don’t have policies, you’ll be improvising, and when you improvise, you make a lot of mistakes,” he said.
How many more children have been raped or sodomized by priests over those two years? How many bishops have concealed child sex crimes over those two years?
And guess when the first US pedophile priest made national headlines? It was 30 years ago, when Fr. Gilbert Gauthe was convicted of abusing as many as 39 young children.
We may seem impatient. Martin Luther King ends his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail by begging his critics for forgiveness if he’s shown “unreasonable impatience.” But he begs God to forgive him if he has “a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood.”
We too need forgiveness if we’ve been either too harsh about prelates’ behavior or too lackadaisical about kids’ safety.
We’ll keep erring towards the latter.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)