Vatican--Accused abusive bishop walking free in the Vatican?
For immediate release: Wednesday, Aug. 26
A credibly accused predator prelate walks free now in Rome, according to the BBC. We join with staff at BishopAccountability.org in questioning how top Catholic officials can apparently be so reckless.
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 314-503-0003 bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org
Vatican officials claimed that the arrest of Archbishop Josef Wesolowski would send a strong signal that even high-ranking Church officials would be held accountable. We disputed this claim originally. And we dispute it now, especially if he really is free to come and go as he pleases.
We believe that Wesolowski’s case is being handled internally by church figures for public relations reasons – to give the impression of “getting tough” while actually concealing cover ups and minimizing publicity.
Internally handling child sex crimes, whether by a custodian or cardinal or papal panel, is hardly progress. So we are not encouraged by Francis' decision to rebuff police and prosecutors and to deal with Wesolowski through secretive church processes. Civilized countries usually have independent, experienced and impartial justice systems to handle crimes. That's what must happen with clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes.
We challenge Pope Francis’ beefed-up public relations team to “come clean” immediately about Wesolowski’s whereabouts and status. We challenge Pope Francis to immediately put Wesolowski behind bars and prove that he has done so (not just say he has). We hope Vatican officials aren’t claiming that they’re “monitoring” him. That approach – Catholic clerics allegedly supervising abusive Catholic clerics – has repeatedly been shown to be disastrous.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, email@example.com)
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.