VaticanInsider.com reports that later this week, Pope Benedict will again meet with a small hand-picked group of abuse victims, this time in his native Germany.
We urge him not to.
Such a meeting will, no doubt, make the few participants, and many Catholics, feel better in the short term. But in the long term, it will likely only add to the sense of betrayal and disappointment that millions – inside and outside of the church – feel about this pontiff and this crisis.
And such a meeting won’t protect a single child who’s being molested now by a priest, nun, seminarian, bishop or other church staffer anywhere on the planet.
Adults who were assaulted as kids by clerics can heal themselves. Kids who are being assaulted by clerics cannot protect themselves. The former don’t’ need the Pope’s decisive action. The latter do.
Pope Benedict has met with a small group of hand-picked victims four times before – in the US, the UK, Australia and, most recently, in Malta almost exactly a year ago. But the pope's top priority right now should be protecting vulnerable kids, exposing dangerous predators, helping law enforcement, and ending cover-ups, not setting up more “feel good” media opportunities that don’t prevent preventable crimes.
(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 23 years and have more than 10,000 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)