SNAP comments on two papal appointments
For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 30
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Pope Francis has made one new appointment and reportedly will soon make another. We’re disappointed with both.
The pontiff has promoted a Legion of Christ priest, Fr. Fernando Vergez Alzaga, to secretary-general of the office governing Vatican City.
The Legion is perhaps the most secretive and scandal-ridden religious order in the church. While we don’t know much about Fr. Vergez, his long tenure in the Legion is troublesome.
The pontiff is expected to soon name Archbishop Piero Parolin as his secretary of state.
Noted Vatican observer John Allen calls Parolin “the consummate insider.” To some, that might seem like a compliment. To us, it’s a distressing sign.
An outsider, not an insider, is what’s needed. If concealing child sex crimes in the church will ever stop, it will only happen when complicit church officials are replaced by independent-minded men who have shown, through their actions, real courage in challenging a corrupt clerical culture. We see no evidence that Parolin is such a person.
Allen reports that by selecting an Italian, “Francis does not intend to completely upend the Vatican's traditional culture.” That’s a serious understatement. Francis has, in our view, done precious little to “upend” the most damaging aspect of Vatican culture – the on-going recklessness, callousness and secrecy surrounding those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against kids.
We’re grateful that Parolin is apparently not considered close to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone but he did apparently work under Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a very corrupt man.
Parolin worked in Venezuela, Mexico and Nigeria, nations where clergy sex crimes and cover ups are rarely disclosed or reported. We might feel a tad less pessimistic had he worked in nations where more of the crisis is or was being dealt with in a more open manner.
Pope Francis can ride buses and carry luggage and discuss poverty every single day. But that won’t make kids safer. Tinkering at the edges of unhealthy, entrenched Vatican complicity isn’t enough. Almost six months into his papacy, Francis has yet to take a single, effective step to protect innocent youngsters and to deter future cover ups.
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.