Rome--Vatican hires another abuse bureaucrat; Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, April 1
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)
Another church official has been hired at the Vatican to help write more meaningless church abuse policies that will help church officials look concerned but will be ignored by church officials. She’s an Illinois native who has worked for US bishops and for the Illinois State Patrol. We wish this were an April Fool’s Day joke but it’s not.
What’s needed is decisive action to expose and remove clerics who commit or conceal abuse. What’s NOT needed are more church abuse policies. Such policies have existed for decades and have been ignored for decades. These policies help with public relations, not with public safety.
Think about this for a second. Kettlekamp is admitting what every reasonable person knows: that there are thousands of predator priests across the world who have yet to be exposed, suspended, and prosecuted. So why isn’t Pope Francis helping to expose them? He and Kettlekamp and Cardinal Sean O’Malley and virtually every member of the Catholic hierarchy are, day after day, making the extraordinarily callous and reckless decision to sit back and just wait until brave victims, compassionate whistleblowers crusading journalists and determined prosecutors to blow the lid off continuing cover ups.
Forget the poppycock about church policies, procedures, protocols, panels and ‘best practices.’ Where’s the one bishop who says “I’m not waiting to be forced to act. I’m exposing and removing predator priests who are molesting kids right now.” And where’s the one Vatican official who is insisting that all bishops do this?
Theresa Kettlekamp says “a challenging part” of her new role, she said, is persuading church officials in parts of the world “where saturation coverage in the media, massive payouts as a result of litigation, and so on – has not yet really arrived to get ahead of the curve.”
Here’s a ‘best practice’ – Instead of promoting them, Francis should defrock bishops who shield child molesting clerics. He should turn over every one of the hundreds of thousands of pages of records about predator priests to law enforcement. He should reverse the recent Vatican decision to let a convicted predator priest, Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul, resume ministry.
Here are 20 more ‘best practices’ from two years ago we suggested that Francis should adopt or enact:
During her years working for US bishops, Kettlekamp has been no “profile in courage.” She’s been a loyal, timid, legalistic and narrowly-focused church bureaucrat. She’s wholeheartedly bought into the carefully-crafted public relations strategy adopted US bishops that shrewdly minimizes and mischaracterizes this crisis and pretends that vague pledges on paper in church offices are somehow better than decisive, tangible prevention steps by church officials.
Just yesterday, officials disclosed a new investigation into likely financial misconduct surrounding the opulent penthouse of the Vatican’s second-in-command. But where’s the investigation into Archbishop John Nienstedt, accused of both committing and concealing clergy sex crimes and misdeeds in the Twin Cities? Or the investigation into any of the hundreds or thousands of bishops who are still hiding predators and endangering kids?
Here’s what should be done: Every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions should protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
NOTE – John Allen describes a Chilean bishop as an “apologist” for a notorious predator priest. That bishop, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, is also accused of having actually watched as at least one child was being sexually assaulted by that priest, Fernando Karadima.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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.