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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, August 11, 2010
SNAP blasts Pope for "rubbing salt into wounds"
Statement by Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
By rejecting the resignations of two complicit Irish bishops, the Pope is rubbing more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of thousands of child sex abuse victims and millions of betrayed Catholics. He’s sending an alarming message to church employees across the globe: even widespread documentation of the concealing of child sex crimes and the coddling of criminals won’t cost you your job in the church.
The two bishops said, when announcing their resignation, that they hoped “to bring peace and reconciliation” to the victims.” The Pope’s callous decision has done the opposite.
This is a sadly familiar pattern: Without media scrutiny and public pressure, Catholic officials act recklessly, deceitfully and callously about the safety of children. When media scrutiny and public pressure happen, top church staff makes vague promises of change. And when media scrutiny and public pressure wane, it’s “business as usual.”
If the Pope really wants to stop clergy sex crimes and cover ups, he’d fire these two bishops, not let them resign. But by keeping them on the payroll, he’s again putting the preferences of powerful Catholic officials above the safety of kids and the healing of victims.
By this move, the Pope has done irreparable damage to the already deeply damaged image of a selfish church hierarchy.
(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)
Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 13:44
Pope rejects resignation of two Dublin auxiliary bishops
The resignations of two Dublin auxiliary bishops, announced in the wake of the Murphy report into clerical child abuse, have been rejected by Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop Raymond Field and Bishop Eamonn Walsh tendered their resignations on Christmas Eve 2009 after coming under intense pressure because they had served as bishops during the period investigated by the Murphy Commission into clerical child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
“Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a letter to priests of the Archdiocese seen by The Irish Catholic.
The two men are to be assigned revised responsibilities within the archdiocese, according to Dr Martin.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Dublin said it had no comment to make regarding the contents of the letter and said there were no plans to publish it.
Announcing their resignations in December, the two auxiliary bishops said: “It is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologise to them”.
Dr Walsh was appointed auxiliary bishop in Dublin in April 1990, while Dr Field was appointed on September 21st, 1997.
On November 26th 2009 the Murphy report was published. It found that allegations about “Fr Dante” (a pseudonym) in 1997, which were also addressed by Bishop Walsh, had been dealt with appropriately by the archdiocese.
Concerning Fr Noel Reynolds, the commission report records that Bishop Walsh had been informed by a social worker that a client of hers had alleged she had been abused by Fr Reynolds. Bishop Walsh “advised her to write to the chancellor”.
The Murphy Commission found allegations against Fr Horatio (a pseudonym), and with which Bishop Field had been involved, were dealt with appropriately by the archdiocese. Where “Fr Sergius” was concerned, Bishop Field told the commission he believed he was dealing with a priest who had an alcohol problem and was not aware of abuse complaints against him.
The commission found information given by Bishop Field to priests in the parish to which “Fr Benito” was assigned in December 2003 “was certainly not complete or sufficiently specific”. It was concerned “about the failure to inform Bishop Field about the advisory panel’s perception that he had delayed in reporting a complaint of child sex abuse”.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests