For immediate release: Friday, March 21, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
We're somewhat optimistic that Bishop Malcolm McMahon will be a positive force of change for the Catholic Church.
On the BBC’s Hard Talk programme, McMahon said the Vatican response to the sex abuse crisis had been “too defensive”.
He also showed courage by saying it was “a big mistake” for the Pope’s preacher, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, to compare the outcry over sex abuse with anti-Semitism.
He also admitted that the Church had been “wrong” in the 1922 document Crimen Sollicitationis (“Crime of Soliciting”) to say that allegations of sex abuse in the confessional should be kept out of the public domain.
It's important that we judge Catholic officials by their actions, not strictly by their words. But these comments lead us to believe that the Vatican could have made a worse choice for this important post than McMahon.
(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 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)