Vatican- Pope's abuse panel based on deception, SNAP says
For immediate release: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Eight people have been appointed to a papal abuse study panel. This panel is based on a deceptive premise. It perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information about abuse and cover ups. They don't. They need courage. They know what's right. They simply refuse to do what's right. The reason: because they are monarchs who can do whatever they like, and they like their power and the status quo more than anything else.
Some wonder whether this panel will or won't discuss complicit bishops. That shouldn't matter. The Pope obviously can oust these “enablers” right now. But he hasn't and won't.
He's had more than a year to defrock, demote, discipline or denounce even one of them. But, just like his predecessors, he refuses to take this simple but crucial step toward justice, healing and prevention. For ages, clerics who ignore or hid child sex crimes have suffered no consequences for their severe wrongdoing. They still don't. And when this new panel ceases to exist, they still won't. (We're reminded of Frederick Douglass' wisdom: “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will.”)
Right now, the Pope can extradite the accused child molesting Polish archbishop. But he refuses.
Right now, the Pope can oust the convicted Missouri bishop whose recent crimes directly lead to more little girls being sexually assaulted and exploited. But he refuses.
Right now, the Pope can defrock Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity who faces several credible child sex abuse allegations in the US but has been promoted and is now second-in-command of a diocese in Paraguay.
We could go on and on. . .
Thousands of lay people, including dozens or hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims, sit on or have sat on church panels like this. But structures aren't changing, so prelates will still have all the power.
And these panels, which go back years and years, have produced little if any real reform.
Finally, Cardinal Sean O'Malley's handling of clergy sex cases is deeply flawed, despite his carefully crafted image and extraordinarily savvy public relations. BishopAccountability.org has painstakingly documented his misdeeds here: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/OMalley_Fact_Sheet.htm
We try very hard to stay hopeful. But it's the continuing courage of victims, police, journalists and other secular authorities – like prosecutors and others in law enforcement – that gives us hope, not another hand-picked church panel.
(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)
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.