The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Letter to Cardinal George
Cardinal Francis George
November 17, 2009
Dear Cardinal George:
You have stood silently by when priests have sued their accusers. You have stood silently by when parishioners have attacked accusers. It's time to stop tolerating such hurtful, intimidating actions.
Today's Chicago Tribune proves what we have long said: letting accused predators sue their accusers frightens victims into staying silent. That, in turn, lets predators stay hidden. And that, of course, puts kids at risk.
You had a chance to stop Fr. Robert Stepek from suing his accusers. You didn't. You had a chance to publicly denounce Stepek's vicious move. You didn't.
(Only later did you tell your lawyers to quietly oppose his lawsuit, but by then, of course, it was too late: others had already been scared into silence.)
Now, you have a chance to stop more intimidation. We believe it's your duty to do so.
Tonight, some at St. Marks parish are planning a rally in support of Fr. Edward Maloney. May we remind you that Maloney faces several accusers? You've known about one of them for more than two years. You have ousted Maloney from ministry. Your staff did find the accusers credible. Maloney and others have had months or years to try and discredit them in some way. Yet their allegations are credible.
Still, tonight, some parishioners will publicly support this suspended and credibly accused child molesting cleric. You must stop them.
If you don't, you are sanctioning their hurtful actions, you are helping to silence victims, and you are contradicting all your promises to help safeguard the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
You have an enormous bully pulpit. You use it often. Day after day, you lecture others about moral behavior. Day after day, you talk about Jesus' admonitions to look out for the vulnerable, powerless and wounded.
Now, it's time to walk the walk. It's time that you and your fellow church officials follow Jesus' example. It's time that you help and protect those who have been devastated by child sex crimes, whether by Maloney or others.
One in four girls and one in six boys will be molested during childhood. So somewhere in St. Mark's, right now, there is likely a girl being abused by her soccer coach or teacher. She is struggling with this crucial question "Should I tell someone?" Then she goes to church or turns on the TV and sees adults she knows immediately assuming that an accused molester is innocent. She sees these self-professed Christians attacking the alleged predator's victims. And of course, she'll reach the only reasonable conclusion possible "If good, church-going Catholics will side with the accused, I'd better keep my mouth shut, because adults won't believe me either."
You can help stop this tragedy, Cardinal. Take action now. Stand up for vulnerable kids. Protect those already hurt. Forbid this rally. Tell parishioners "Back Maloney if you must, but do it quietly, not publicly."
Stop talking about problems you have little control over. Do something about a problem you CAN control: your own staff and flock.