For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 31 2014
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today the Pope asked one ancient Vatican bureaucracy to "study" clergy sexual abuse and cooperate with another Vatican body that hasn't even been set up yet.
This isn't progress. It's perhaps the 20th or 30th time that a pope has talked about his hopes and plans about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. But not a single pope has exposed a single predator or a single enabler. Not a single pope has really punished a single complicit bishop. And not a single pope has taken a single effective step to prevent clergy sex crimes or cover ups.
When will the words stop and the action start?
Pope Francis says he hopes the latest in a long series of church abuse panels will be “exemplary.” If history is any guide, it won't be, especially if the person who sets it up, the Pope himself, refuses to make a single dramatic move to disrupt the centuries-old, self-serving and secretive clerical culture that has creates and perpetuates this crisis.
The Pope won't even sack convicted Missouri Bishop Robert Finn or disband the corruption-riddled Legion of Christ. “The Pope won't even tell bishops “Report abuse to police regardless of whether laws require this.” The Pope won't even rebuff disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony, with whom he said mass and had a private audience earlier this month.
So the odds that his hand-picked abuse panel – whenever it's set up – will make any difference are exceedingly slim.
And we believe his plan to put another abuse panel under the CDF is dreadful, especially given the poor tracker record of Muller on abuse. At best, this hide-bound institution has shown no interest or expertise in prevention, which should be the church hierarchy's top priority.
Enough with the “intentions.” Only performance matters. And while Pope Francis' performance on Vatican finances and governance seems promising, his performance on abuse and cover up is painfully lacking.