Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, November 16, 2009

US bishops meeting starts; SNAP responds to opening speech

Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, national board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414-429-7259)

Once again, instead of really addressing the church's on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis, the head of America's bishops sidestepped. Instead of reaching out to victims, he patted his brother bishops on the back, effectively rubbing salt into already deep and still fresh wounds.

Cardinal George is right that US bishops have launched an "unprecedented effort." Unfortunately, that effort is largely smoke and mirrors rather than genuine and effective reforms.

George spoke of bishops "trapped" in the church's sex abuse scandal. What keeps America's bishops "trapped" in the church's on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis is their own refusal to deal with the root causes.

It's not a lack of policies, procedures and panels. It's a lack of courage. Most bishops can barely bring themselves to belatedly and begrudgingly suspend predator priests. No bishop can bring himself to expose and discipline the thousands of current and former church employees who suspect or know about child sex crimes and ignore them or conceal them.

George said that "no governance" isn't the solution. The problem isn't "no governance," it's the same governance. The same secretive, rigid, all-male monarchy that caused the crisis and causes the continued cover up is still in place. Many of the same men who hid predators and evidence and crimes are still bishops today.

Just one week ago, Cardinal George announced that Fr. Ed Maloney is suspended due to credible child sex abuse allegations. The truth is, George ousted Maloney six months ago, but kept silent about it, giving a credibly accused child molesting cleric months to fabricate alibis, destroy evidence and even molest other kids.

Just last month, an admitted and convicted predator priest was found working in a New Jersey hospital. Newark Archbishop John Myers quietly re-assigned the child molesting cleric there, despite promising a prosecutor that the priest wouldn't ever be near kids again.

Instead of complaining that some mysterious unnamed forces are trying to "silence" top officials with the nation's largest denomination, the bishops should realize that their own recklessness and deceit regarding child safety is the main factor limiting their political effectiveness.

Catholic Bishop Defends Health Care Lobbying

By Matthew Murray -Roll Call Staff - Nov. 16, 2009

BALTIMORE — The nation’s top Catholic bishop on Monday defended his church’s role in shaping the current health care debate, telling an annual gathering of church leaders that it’s their duty to press lawmakers to enact tough restrictions on abortion rights.

“It is our responsibility ... to speak with a moral voice, that everyone should be cared for and that no one should be deliberately killed,” said Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

George’s defense of the church’s health care lobbying was the centerpiece of his opening statements Monday addressing the yearly meeting of American bishops. The cardinal’s remarks come amid criticism by some liberals that Catholic leaders are acting improperly by taking such an aggressive stance on abortion provisions in current health care proposals. The bishops strongly backed an anti-abortion amendment included in the House’s health care bill.

George said that “to abstain” from participating in the health care debate “would be to betray the Constitution of our country.”

“The challenge to governing effectively — and pastorally, as bishops and priests — is to be public, without being co-opted,” George said. “And to be who we are, without being isolated.”

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests