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)
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.