The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, March 29, 2010
Clergy sex victims blast NY Archbishop Dolan
Statement by David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790)
Dolan's comments yesterday hurt the church he loves, hurt abuse victims, and hurt himself. He showed a callousness and narrowness that ill-befits the head of a religious institution. His intent may be to "circle the wagons." The effect, however, will be to harm the children, because by demeaning, insulting and ignoring wounded victims and suffering children, Dolan perpetuates the culture of sexual secrecy and clerical entitlement that leads to more devastation.
The Pope isn't a victim here. He's the most powerful monarch in the world's largest monarchy. His distressing track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups is finally being examined with some rigor. To compare his situation now to the suffering of Christ is over the top. And it suggests that victims who find the courage to speak up and report unspeakable crimes are somehow hurting the pontiff. (The truth is that these brave victims are helping the church, not hurting it.)
One reason Dolan has risen in the church hierarchy is because he's a 'company man.' He's shown his company loyalty twice recently.
First, he immediately rallied to the defense of his corrupt predecessor when damning documents surfaced in Bridgeport showing that Egan mishandled clergy sex crimes and cover ups there. Yesterday, he sought prayers for the Pope and essentially attacked abuse victims.
Dolan didn't ask for prayers for the hundreds of thousands of once-trusting, devout girls and boys who have been raped, sodomized and sexually assaulted across the globe by Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops. He didn't pray that thousands of timid, complicit church supervisors and employees (who ignore or conceal clergy sex crimes) might find the strength to speak up. He didn't ask for prayers that secular authorities might further investigate clergy sex cover ups. He didn't ask for prayers that lawmakers might reform predator-friendly laws that enable child sex crimes to remain hidden.
Instead, he asked for prayers for his boss, and tried to disingenuously pretend that the church hierarchy is being unfairly maligned.
Let's hope Dolan will soon start trying to ameliorating the harm he's already caused by fostering a climate that welcomes, not demeans or attacks, child sex victims. Let's hope he starts worrying less about the feelings of the world's most powerful religious figure and more about the safety of the world's vulnerable Catholic children.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’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), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Mar 29, 2010 6:35 am US/Eastern
NEW YORK (CBS) — New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan had strong words of support for Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday in the midst of a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church.
The pope indicated during Palm Sunday mass that he will not be intimidated by petty gossip.
Dolan received applause during his Palm Sunday mass as he defended Pope Benedict XVI against suggestions the pope aided in cover-ups of reports of child abuse.
"What deepens the sadness is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem frenzied to implicate the man who, perhaps more than anyone else, has been the leader of purification, reform and renewal the church so needs," Dolan said.
At the Vatican, the pope didn't directly mention the scandal, but called for "the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion."
Outside Saint Patrick's Cathedral in the city, protesters asked drivers to honk if they wanted to resign over the allegations that have rocked Europe and a Milwaukee school.
Inside, Archbishop Dolan asked for prayers and went as far as comparing the pope to Jesus Christ.
Express our love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering the same accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar as did Jesus.
While the archbishop is defending the pope, parishioners had mixed reactions.
"I don't think it's unfair," Manhattan resident Sheila Lennon said. "As the leader of the Catholic Church, he should be held to a certain standard."
"I believe in the Catholic Church, and I support the pope," parishioner Cathy Livanos said.
"He's the head of the Catholic Church, and I think he needs to address this at some point," Dorothy Jacoby, of Smithtown, said.
Whether the pope will address the scandal remains to be seen as he starts a hectic week leading up to Easter.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests