Rome--Victims’ group has further concerns re pope’s new abuse policy
For immediate release: Sunday, June 5, 2016
Originally, Francis proposed
--making the cover up of child sex crimes an actual crime in church policy. Now, instead, he’s not. (According to the AP, “Francis appears to have backed off” and according to Kurt Martens, professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America, "There is nothing breaking here” and “what is significant about the new law is that it makes no mention of the proposal for the tribunal, which would have treated negligence as a crime and prosecuted it as such.)
--one agency to deal with complicit bishops. Now, instead, it’s allegedly going to be four agencies.
--a new agency. Now, instead, it’s supposedly going to be existing agencies (none of which has ever taken real action, or even showed interest in complicit bishops).
--a “tribunal,” which sounds like he may be ‘cracking down.’ Now, instead, he writes of being a “loving mother,” which sounds a lot softer (and less like he’s actually trying to deter cover ups).
It’s just like the US bishops’ “Dallas Charter.” When bishops TALKED about it, they used clear and tough language. But when they WROTE it, they got all legalistic and watered it down considerably.
Similarly, when Francis TALKED about holding complicit bishops responsible, he used clear and tough language. But when he finally WROTE something, he backed off his own strong words considerably.
These are not, however, our central concerns. Our biggest reservation is that again, church officials avoid and stonewall secular authorities and instead prefer and promote their own authority.
We do a disservice to children when we become prematurely and unjustifiably complacent, and when we confuse words with deeds or procedures with action.
(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.
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.