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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, March 22, 2010
Statement by SNAP in Germany
Statement by Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) 312 399 4747
We are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). We're here for one simple reason - because we believe it's our moral duty. We are here for two simple purposes - to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
Sadly, we have plenty of hard work and vulnerable kids and wounded adults in the US. There are far too many predatory ministers, priests, nuns, rabbis, bishops, seminarians and preachers still in church jobs or walking free among unsuspecting neighbors and families. Many, if not most, church officials of all denominations still instinctively and consistently protect themselves, their reputations and their colleagues, instead of protecting their flock.
There has, however, been some progress in the US with this ongoing crisis. It’s primarily happened because of brave victims and concerned Catholics and secular forces, like police, prosecutors, lawmakers and journalists. It’s happened in spite of, not because of church officials.
But we’re here today in Germany because hundreds of courageous victims are speaking out, need healing and deserve support. We’re here to do what Pope Benedict should be doing: praising them, supporting them and encouraging them. And we want to urge others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to follow their brave lead, stand up, call police, expose predators, warn parents, protect others, and start healing.
Specifically, today, we are starting a chapter of our self-help organization in Germany. Soon, we will hold our first confidential support group meeting. We’ve already spoken with some victims here and will meet one-on-one and in small groups with others later today. While in Europe, we will also visit at least two or three countries where victims are stepping forward, with the same goals.
In our 22 years, working with victims in numerous denominations, we’ve learned a sad truth: No institution can effectively police or reform itself, especially not an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy like the Catholic hierarchy with its deeply-rooted and long-standing practice of concealing clergy sex crimes. So it’s crucial that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers come forward, it’s also crucial that secular authorities take action. Specifically, we beg German authorities to promptly begin thorough investigations into the church’s on-going scandal, so that the truth can be revealed, the wrong-doers disciplined, the victims healed and the vulnerable protected.
It’s naïve and silly to expect that the same church officials who have caused and are causing such devastation are willing and able to prevent clergy sex crimes and cover ups now and in the future, or to lessen the pain cause by these crimes and cover ups. It’s reasonable and just to expect that governmental officials – especially the independent professionals in law enforcement and legislative bodies – will belatedly step up and do, as Chancellor Merkel has suggested, help dig out and expose the still-hidden truth of these terrible deeds.
So we want to implore German citizens and Catholics, past and present. Whatever you know about clergy crimes and cover ups – however old or small or long ago or seemingly insignificant – please share it with independent sources of help, like law enforcement and groups like ours. When victims and witnesses stay silent, predators walk free, kids are violated and victims keep hurting. But when victims and witnesses speak up, there’s at least a chance for healing, justice and most important, prevention.
So if you have information about clergy sex crimes and cover ups, please search your conscience and summon some strength and speak up. It’s your moral and civic duty. And it’s the only way to make a difference, protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
(Formed in 1988 and based Chicago, SNAP has 9,000+ members in the US and around the world. It’s a confidential non-profit and its mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. SNAP has no affiliation with any church organization and helps victims hurt in any denomination.)
CONTACT +49-172-1676 931
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests