The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, February 19, 2010
German Catholic bishop blames others for church scandal; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)
This kind of shameless blame-shifting and excuse-making by the Catholic hierarchy is sadly very typical.
At best, it shows phenomenal ignorance. At worst, it’s a cynical effort to deflect attention from the decades of deceit, recklessness and callousness of thousands of church officials who, even now, protect predators instead of children.
Hundreds of thousands of children are sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy across the globe. Thousands of bishops ignore or hide the crimes. A German bishop says one cause is “the sexual revolution,” while the German pope says another cause is “weak faith.” Given these absurd claims, it’s not surprising that pedophile priests and corrupt bishops are still painfully common in the church today.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 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. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa on Friday faced continuing criticism for claiming the sexual revolution was partially to blame for the widespread abuse of children at German Catholic schools.
The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Mixa’s remarks had caused a rift within his diocese, with one church official saying they were “depressingly imprudent” and the situation was “increasingly embarrassing” having to explain the bishop’s latest “blunder.”
“The leadership hasn’t realised how this looks to the congregation,” said an unidentified member of the Augsburg diocese council.
No stranger to controversy, Mixa sparked outrage this week for saying the systematic sexual abuse recently uncovered at several Catholic schools could be traced to the promotion of more liberal attitudes towards sex.
“The so-called sexual revolution, in which some especially progressive moral critics supported the legalisation of sexual contact between adults and children, is certainly not innocent,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung.
The Catholic theologian Uta Rank-Heinemann told the website of news magazine Focus on Thursday that Mixa was essentially trying to shirk the blame for the horrible sexual abuse.
“The important thing is that someone else is responsible,” she said.
The abuse scandal that was uncovered at Berlin’s prestigious Canisius school last month continues to grow, with around 50 former students claiming they were sexually abused in the 1970s and 1980s.
But lawyers for victims have said more than 115 people across the country have since come forward with allegations of abuse by up to 12 different priests and teachers at other Catholic institutions too.
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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests