Vatican--SNAP blasts “another few distracting papal words on abuse”
For immediate release: Sunday, May 1, 2016
In a purportedly “forceful” tone, Pope Francis said child molesters must be “severely punished” but “did not specifically mention the church or its response to abuse.”
So what? When will a few papal sentences about how bad abuse is stop being news?
Just this week, a convicted priest who assaulted a California teenager was promoted to head an Oklahoma parish with a parochial school, until parishioners protects and their archbishop backed down.
Just this week, a second young adult publicly reported being sexually abused as a child by Fr. Greg Yacyshyn who remains on the job in a Long Island parish.
Just this week, we begged victims of Fr. Emmerich Vogt to come forward, because he’s being sued for child sex crimes yet still working as a priest.
Just this week, we drew attention to Fr. Bruce Wellems of Chicago who admits molesting a child yet violates the restrictions put on him by church officials and continues to be around kids.
And all this is in the US, the nation where the abuse and cover up crisis first grabbed national headlines more than 30 years ago.
When we pretend that papal pronouncements about abusers mean something, we do a disservice to kids. When we applaud words but ignore inaction, we hurt children.
We strongly question the claim by the National Catholic Reporter that Francis “has come under some criticism for not speaking out on the subject more strongly ...” Very few want Francis to talk more often or strongly about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Most want him to DO something to stop clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
No matter how many times Catholic officials talk about child sex crimes and cover ups, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered them to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
Francis rails against child sexual abuse, saying abusers must be 'severely' punished
Joshua J. McElwee | May 1, 2016, National Catholic Reporter
ROME Pope Francis railed against the sexual abuse of children in a weekly address in St. Peter's Square Sunday, calling any such abuse a "tragedy" and saying the church cannot tolerate the matter and "must severely punish the abusers."
Greeting members of an Italian association that has worked to raise awareness against pedophilia and to report sexual abuse crimes, who were present in the Square for the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer, the pontiff thanked them for their work before departing from his prepared text.
"This is a tragedy," said Francis off the cuff, his voice raised and . . .
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.