Scotland--Scottish Cardinal resigns
For immediate release: Friday, March 20
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Two full years after he admitted sexual misconduct, Cardinal Keith O’Brien has resigned. But as it has done with dozens of abusive prelates, the Vatican is disclosing nothing about O’Brien’s wrongdoing.
A year ago, Pope Francis said of sexual abuse and misconduct "The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility.” Yet there’s no transparency here. Not one Catholic official has disclosed anything of substance about O’Brien’s exploitive misdeeds.
And what of his clerical colleagues? Not one of them knew of or suspected that O’Brien was abusing others? That’s pretty hard to believe.
“But a Cardinal has resigned, isn’t that progress?” some will ask. Not really. Had Francis publicly denounced O’Brien and disclosed his wrongdoing, that would have been encouraging. Dozens of bishops have been caught abusing or admitted abusing and resigned. Pope Benedict ousted – belatedly and grudgingly and tepidly – the most powerful predator priest yet, Father Marcial Maciel of the Legion of Christ.
So slow and small Vatican steps involving predator clerics aren’t new. Clear and firm Vatican action against complicit bishops would be new. And it would help prevent future cover ups and crimes. But it still isn’t happening.
Top Catholic officials have long let clerics who commit sexual crimes and misdeeds step down. But they refuse to discipline, in any way, clerics who conceal and enable sexual crimes and misdeeds. And until they do, little or nothing will really change.
(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)