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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, March 4, 2011
Bishop to pray for abuse victims, SNAP responds
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Phoenix Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmstead has announced a special event next week at which he will pray for the healing of victims of sexual abuse. We hope he’ll reconsider and cancel it.
At best, it’s a meaningless gesture that will not protect a single vulnerable child. At worst, it’s a dangerous distraction from the crucial task of safeguarding kids who are at risk now because Phoenix Catholic officials refuse to identify and post on their website the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics.
Olmstead is taking a page from Mahony in Los Angeles and O’Malley in Boston, who have masterfully orchestrated public events that do nothing to safeguard kids or bring real reform but leave participating adults feeling good in the short term.
Gestures like this, we believe, are at least in part designed to convey the impression that this crisis is over and all that remains is expressing regret and making amends with wounded adults. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the recent Philadelphia grand jury report makes clear, predator priests are still on the job today there and, we strongly suspect, elsewhere.
Naming them and ousting them, so that kids are safer, must come first.
This event – like meetings of bishops with small groups of survivors, bishops’ apologies, etc.) are, again, fundamentally just words. And words don't protect kids, expose predators, punish wrongdoing, or produce the sorely-needed, long-overdue, dramatic overhaul that's needed in the deeply-rooted practices of secrecy and self preservation that permeate the 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 23 years and have more than 10,000 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)
Diocese of Phoenix to hold mass for abuse victims
Associated Press - March 4, 2011 1:14 PM ET
PHOENIX (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will hold a reconciliation mass for the victims of sex abuse.
Paul Pfaffenberger, an official for the diocese's office of youth protection, says Tuesday's church service is an opportunity for the community to pray for those who were abused by members of the clergy and others.
In recent years, several priests were accused of sexually abusing children while they worked for the Phoenix diocese.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted says he recognizes the difficulty faced by some abuse victims to maintain their faith.
The mass will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests