Vatican--Prominent survivor leaves papal panel; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016
We share Pete Saunders’ justifiable frustration with Vatican officials. They refuse to take quick, simple, common sense steps to protect kids and deter cover ups by punishing clerics who conceal abuse. Instead, they do what church officials have done for decades: shrewdly fixate on and discuss meaningless internal policies on paper that give the impression of progress while changing virtually nothing.
Contrary to considerable sloppy reporting, Francis has NOT sent us a church panel to judge bishops who enable or hide abuse. Last June, he said he would. But he has NOT done so. It’s inaccurate to claim otherwise. And it leads to more complacency about kids’ safety in a church where more vigilance is crucial.
Pete has been a brave, honest and tireless voice for kids and victims. We especially applaud him for speaking out about the Pope’s callous promotion and defense of the corrupt Chilean Bishop Juan Barros and for speaking up for courageous victims of Fr. Fernando Karadima (like Juan Carlos Cruz).
The Pope’s abuse panel will issue recommendations. The Pope will adopt them. And nothing will improve. Why? Because there will be no enforcement. Why? Because the church hierarchy is an entitled, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy. No new protocols or policies or procedures will radically undo a centuries-old self-serving structure that rewards clerics who keep a tight lid on child sex crimes and cover ups.
Here are 20 easy abuse prevention steps we proposed three years ago. As best we can tell, they’ve been ignored.
The clear answer to this crisis remains outside of the church hierarchy – with victims, witnesses and whistleblowers speaking up and with police, prosecutors and secular authorities stepping up.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.