Rome--SNAP to Chilean priests & lawmaker: “Keep fighting”
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 1
The controversial promotion of a new Chilean bishop isn’t “the same old, same old.” It’s worse. So we call on the dozens of Chilean priests and the 50 Chilean lawmakers who opposed this move to keep on fighting. And we call on Pope Francis to explain his hurtful decision.
First, as best we can tell, no one from the Vatican even bothered to talk with the victims of the notorious Fr. Fernando Karadima. So for Vatican spokesman Fr. Ciro Benedettini to claim that church officials could find “no objective reason” to stop Bishop Juan Barros Madrid’s promotion is deceitful. You can’t find what you don’t bother looking for.
There are compelling reasons that Barros shouldn’t be a priest, much less a bishop. But Pope Francis and his top aides chose to ignore those reasons.
There are other reasons Barros’ elevation is so significant, and so alarming:
Many times, bishops have been appointed or promoted despite allegations of covering up abuse.
This time, a bishop is also accused of witnessing the abuse.
Many times, victims are rebuffed by Vatican officials.
This time, we’re being rebuffed by the Pope himself.
Many times, victims have been ignored by the church hierarchy.
This time, priests, lawmakers and lay Catholics are being ignored by the church hierarchy.
Many times, popes have refused to discipline complicit bishops.
This time, a pope is promoting one.
Many times, Catholic officials have been justifiably accused of hiding evidence.
This time, a Catholic official is accused of actually destroying evidence.
Many times, a pontiff has pledged reform but done nothing.
This time, a pontiff has pledged reform but done just the opposite.
Here’s a question worth asking: By every indication, Fr. Karadima’s accusers have been consistent and been deemed credible by multiple sources. So if they are telling the truth about child sex abuse by Fr. Karadima, why would they lie about cover up allegations against Bishop Barros?
And a better question: Why won’t Pope Francis even listen to them or insist that his aides listen to them?
(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.
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.