The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Statement on Jesuits Filing for Bankruptcy
Statement by Barbara Dorris, National Outreach Director, 314-862-7688
Shame on the Jesuits for exploiting the Chapter 11 process to shield their secrets and continue concealing their complicity. And shame on them for using deceptive, insensitive language to minimize and deny their culpability and further hurt those already in deep pain.
At least 28 child molesting Jesuit clergymen have been publicly exposed as serial predators in the Northwest. We suspect there are at least that many others who've never faced legal action and whose identities are known only to secretive church officials.
History, psychology and common sense suggest that there are at least that many other Catholic officials, Jesuit and diocesan, who knew of or suspected these terrible crimes, but stayed silent or helped hide them.
So it's deceitful for Jesuits to call this awful, on-going scandal the result of "a few men."
Consider the rest of the Jesuit's language. Years of deceit and child rape in unsuspecting parishes and native villages become a "sad chapter in our province's history." Devastating felonies against innocent kids by dozens of alleged spiritual leaders become "the actions of a few men." Deeply wounded men and women who were raped and sodomized as kids become "claimants." Long-standing and largely successful but callous and reckless efforts to hide these crimes become ignored. (There's no mention whatsoever of the role of the Jesuit hierarchy in all of this, conveniently helping church officials keep the focus on the 'bad apple' predator priests.)
Finally, the Jesuits' claim of 'limited resources' is equally deceptive. We believe it's disingenuous for a bishop to pretend to be poor, isolated and helpless, adrift from the rest of the world-wide Catholic institutions and structures, and unable to do what's right to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. It's even more deceptive for an obviously huge, world-wide institution like the Jesuits to split silly hairs and claim false distinctions and act like one 'province' is entirely separate from the rest.
What's the right way to respond? Treat victims as individuals, not as cattle. Immediately help those victims who are in desperate need of short term financial help for therapy and medical costs. Let victims who want to go to court go to court. Settle with those who want to settle. Disclose the names of all the predators. Disclose and discipline those who enabled or ignored the abuse, especially those who destroyed evidence, stonewalled police, intimidated witnesses, fired whistle blowers, deceived Catholics and lied to or threatened victims and their families. Publicly beg others who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups to come forward, call police, get help and start healing. Stop splitting absurd hairs and drawing false distinctions. Use the extensive resources of this massive global enterprise to do what's right. If need be, borrow money from other Catholic institutions (even Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston did this, taking a $25 million loan from the Knights of Columbus.)
Finally, start acting like compassionate shepherds, not cold-hearted CEOs.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests