SNAP Stands in Solidarity with Nuns who have been Victimized by Clergy

Our hearts ache for the thousands of nuns who have been sexually abused and harassed by priests, bishops and other Catholic clerics. We are glad their plight is finally attracting attention but feel compelled to stress that when it comes to the Church hierarchy, awareness does  not guarantee action.

It is worth noting that, once again, a clergy sex scandal surfaces only because of outside pressure on the Vatican. Sometimes, it is a prosecutor or governmental body or an external study that achieves prompt disclosure. This time, it was investigative journalism. We are grateful for all those individuals and institutions who keep chipping away at this ancient, rigid, male-dominated hierarchy that remains so dreadfully committed to secrecy.

We share the view of Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability who said that she is “bewildered that the pope verifying this should make headlines — it‘s an epidemic problem in certain areas. The Vatican has documentation on likely tens of thousands of cases of sexual violence, and so when a Vatican official or the pope makes a pronouncement as if it’s occurring to them for the first time — as if they’re identifying a problem for the first time — it strikes me as disingenuous.”

Those who have been sexually assaulted by priests, bishops, brothers, seminarians, deacons and yes, nuns, have heard many pledges of reform from Catholic officials over the years, and have witnessed these promises fall short. So we are not in the least encouraged by the pope’s claim that high-ranking church staff has the will to stop this horror.

We hope nuns who are suffering do what we have long urged child sex abuse victims to do: seek help from independent sources like police, therapists, loved ones and support groups.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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