Rome--More diversity in church hierarchy may endanger kids
For immediate release: Saturday, Feb. 14
Statement by Mary Caplan of New York City, SNAP Leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (917 439 4187, firstname.lastname@example.org)
On Sunday, the hierarchy of the Catholic church becomes more inclusive than ever as prelates are promoted from several new nations. For the safety of kids, this could be problematic.
In our experience, very few church officials handle clergy sex crimes and cover ups well. Bishops in the developed world, however, have made minimal progress but only because they’ve been forced to act due to civil lawsuits, journalistic investigations, educated laity and well-funded, sophisticated law enforcement agencies. Sadly, these factors are less prevalent in the developing world.
In the developing world, there tend more religious order priests, closer ties between government and religion and a wider power and education gap between clerics and lay people. These are problematic factors too.
So bishops in those regions tend to be even less responsive and forthcoming about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Put more bluntly, they tend to conceal clergy sex crimes more because they know they can get by with it more.
In the larger picture, adding more prelates from traditionally under-represented regions of the world may be just and healthy. But we fear it won't make kids safer and may in fact make kids more vulnerable.
(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.