Rome- Victims blast Australian Cardinal for “blame shifting”
For immediate release: Monday, March 24, 2014
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
When confronted with tough questions about why they endanger kids and protect predators, many Catholic officials often sadly follow a predictable pattern. First, they blame their underlings. And if that doesn't work, they blame their superiors.
Cardinal George Pell did both today.
First, he blamed John Davoren, his own Professional Standards Director, as “a muddler” who “wasn’t logical.”
Then he “accused the Vatican of downplaying” the abuse crisis. (according to the AP)
This is pure posturing. It's a self-serving way for Pell to try and shift the focus off of his irresponsible, mean-spirited mishandling of clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
This finger pointing at others goes right to the top. Just days ago, the Pope himself tried – in a clumsy and unconvincing way – to blame the media for the church's on-going abuse and cover up scandal.
Maybe someday, we'll hear a Catholic official say “We are still ignoring and mistreating victims, shielding and moving predators, and it's not the fault of police, prosecutors, journalists, whistleblowers or anti-Catholic bigots.” But over the past quarter century, we've heard almost nothing like this. And we believe that if officials can't honestly name a crisis and who's causing it, they sure can't honestly fix it.
It's also deceptive when prelates claim to be or have been “ahead of the curve” in dealing with abuse (as Pell did today). All that really means is that abuse victims were more courageous in a particular diocese and that secular laws were more favorable in a particular country, which forced that prelate to address the crisis a bit earlier than his brother bishops may have done. It's no “badge of honor” to have been pushed and prodded into action a little bit sooner than your colleagues purely by circumstances.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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.