The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Regarding Gregory Appointment
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis
Thursday, December 9, 2004
"We wish Bishop Gregory well and congratulate him on this promotion. While we wish he had been more successful in prodding his brother bishops toward real reform and prevention efforts, it's clear he has a better track record than most American prelates on the sexual abuse issue.
The church was fortunate to have such a media savvy leader at the helm when the molestation cover up scandal finally broke into the public view.
We hope that he applies the painful lessons he learned in Belleville and across the nation to his new position, and roots out abusers while reaching out aggressively to victims."
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 14 years and have more than 5,000 members across the country.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.)
ATLANTA - Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, who was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for three years during the height of the clergy molestation crisis, has been appointed by Pope John Paul II to serve as Archbishop of Atlanta, the archdiocese announced Thursday.
Gregory, 57, who had been serving as bishop in Belleville, Ill., will become Atlanta's sixth archbishop. He succeeds Archbishop John F. Donoghue, who is resigning.
Gregory was the first black president of the bishops conference when he was elected in November 2001. At the time, his election was seen by black Catholics as long-awaited recognition of their presence in the church.
But scandal soon eclipsed his historic elevation to leadership.
A week before his term expired as leader of the conference, Gregory said the pressure of guiding the church through the height of the sex abuse crisis "drove me to my knees" spiritually.
Gregory led the bishops through nothing short of a revolution in their approach to abuse. They now have a binding policy on how to respond to allegations that includes barring offenders from church work and a national lay watchdog panel to help enforce the plan.
Even so, Gregory was forced to handle warring factions: victims of priest abuse who said the policy is too weak, and priests who consider it too draconian.
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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests