The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Thursday, April 28
As Pope becomes saint, victims hand out leaflets
They ask Catholics & citizens to sign child safety pledge
In 50 US cities on Saturday, they’ll talk with parishioners outside churches
On Saturday, while thousands throng in Rome celebrating Pope John Paul II’s latest step toward sainthood, hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will leaflet outside churches asking congregants to sign a pledge to report suspicions of child sex abuse to secular authorities.
The events, scheduled to take place in 62 cities and in seven countries, are being organized by a Chicago-based international self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). Roughly 23 US states will be included. (A partial list of locations below.)
“Nothing can stop this callous PR juggernaut honoring the pope who presided over much of the on-going crisis,” said Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) “But we can help redirect some people’s energies into stopping child sex crimes and cover ups, which is vital to keeping kids safer.”
The pledge reads “I will watch out for all the children in my church as if they were my own and I will immediately report known or suspected abuse to the authorities, no matter when it occurred.” It’s available on line at www.pledgetoprotectkids.org.
“It’s bad enough when church officials do so little to protect the vulnerable or heal the wounded,” said Blaine. “But it’s worse when they take steps that deepen the suffering of so many, by elevating a pontiff who did almost nothing to stop bishops from ignoring and concealing heinous crimes.”
“Wounded victims and disillusioned Catholics have been begging us to do something, because so many are upset at this PR blitz surrounding a man who essentially did little, if anything, while so many of us were being raped and betrayed,” said Tim Lennon of SNAP leader from San Francisco. “We want to give upset parishioners, concerned parents and caring victims a productive outlet this weekend for both their outrage and their compassion.”
A full list of the cities and times of the leafleting events will be available Friday afternoon at SNAPnetwork.org.
“Regardless of what the Catholic hierarchy does or doesn’t do, many victims will continue working hard to expose corruption, protect others, reform laws, warn parents and keep healing,” said Blaine.
“While the church hierarchy fixates on symbolic gestures that protect no one while doing little or nothing to prevent future clergy sex crimes and cover ups, we’ll be out on the sidewalks focused on a practical step that anyone can take that actually safeguards children,” said Melanie Sakoda of Walnut Creek California, another SNAP leader.
23 US STATES
1 Antwerpen (Antwerp)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests