For immediate release Thursday December 5, 2013
Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, SNAPblaine@gmail.com, 312-455-1499 (office), 312-399-4747 (cell)
This Pope has been a breath of fresh air to many. But he’s a breath of stale air to wounded victims, vulnerable children, and betrayed Catholics.
Catholic officials have tons of knowledge about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. They must simply give all this information - right now - to law enforcements and sanction their colleagues who conceal it.
Pope Francis and his staff refuse to do this. They even refuse to directly and honestly answer questions from a United Nations panel.
So we have little faith that this latest in a long series of hundreds of church abuse panels will make any difference whatsoever.
According to news outlets, among other things, the committee will focus on “codes of conduct for clergy.” That’s ridiculous. No priest, nun, bishop or seminarian ever sexually assaulted a child because of a lack of a formal “code of conduct” prohibiting clergy sex crimes.
It will also focus on the "recovery of clerics guilty of abuse.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley implies that the Vatican might have done more to safeguard children but for inadequate research, education and communication. That’s disingenuous.
What’s needed is the ending of talk and the beginning of action. What helps kids is action, not information, especially when the Catholic hierarchy already has massive amounts of information on who in its ranks has committed and who is concealing heinous sexual violence across the globe.
O’Malley is also misleading when he claims that the Vatican emphasis “has been on legal procedures” like church trials for priests accused of raping and molesting children (according to the Associated Press). The Vatican’s emphasis has been, and remains, on secrecy and on protecting the reputations and power of high-ranking church officials. A new Vatican committee won’t change this.
Once again, top Catholic officials – who are acting recklessly, callously and deceitfully in clergy sex cases – say or suggest that more education, communication and research is needed. This is an excuse to distract attention from their deliberate wrongdoing.
Thousands of Catholic officials have or are stonewalling prosecutors, deceiving police, rebuffing victims, punishing whistleblowers, discrediting witnesses, destroying evidence and helping child molesting priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops. A tiny handful has experienced the slightest and most oblique of consequences. Until that changes – until Pope Francis clearly sacks a number of complicit bishops by defrocking or demoting them – child molesting clerics and corrupt church officials will continue their devastating deeds.