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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Pope: Belgian sex abuse raids deplorable; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director for SNAP 314 862 7688
This is the most telling and depressing indication of Pope Benedict’s true priorities.
It took years before he even acknowledged clergy sex crimes and cover ups, much less begin to express solidarity with victims. But just days after a handful of his colleagues in Belgium were inconvenienced for a few hours, the Pope vehemently rallies to their defense. Because they share his occupation, nine potential wrong-doers merit more prompt and vigorous support from the Pope than hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded child sex abuse victims and still-vulnerable children across the globe.
According to the Associated Press, Benedict “also repeated that such crimes are handled by both civil and canon law ‘respecting their reciprocal specificity and autonomy.’” It is reckless and arrogant to equate civil and canon ‘law.’ In most nations, civil law is drawn up by a wide range of individuals and interests in open discussion, not strictly by a small, narrow, homogeneous handful of church men behind closed doors. In most nations, civil law is enforced by independent institutions and processes, not by a distant monarch.
One key reason why priests are still raping kids and bishops are still concealing these crimes is because the Pope and most of the Catholic hierarchy still refuse to accept that investigating child sex crimes and cover ups is the role of law enforcement.
(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. 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), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Pope: Belgian sex abuse raids deplorable
VATICAN CITY – The pope has called the raids carried out by Belgian police investigating priestly sex abuse "deplorable" and asserted the autonomy of the Catholic Church to investigate abuse alongside civil law enforcement authorities.
Pope Benedict XVI issued a message Sunday to the head of the Belgian bishops' conference, Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard. In it, he expressed solidarity with all Belgian bishops for the "surprising and deplorable way" in which Thursday's raids were carried out.
Benedict said justice must take its course. But he also repeated that such crimes are handled by both civil and canon law "respecting their reciprocal specificity and autonomy."
The raids targeted a retired archbishop and the graves of two prelates.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests