Vatican--Victims agree with Vatican on a key fact
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016
We agree with the Vatican on one key fact: the recent disclosure that new bishops are told they need not call police about abuse reports is nothing new.
(Exact language: “The Vatican has emphasized that Anatrella’s involvement in the teaching of new bishops did not represent a departure on policy,” according to the Guardian.)
And let no one be misled by Catholic officials who substitute the word “cooperate” for “report.”
In our experience, when church bureaucrats are subpoenaed, and they respond, they call this “cooperation.” That happens sometimes.
But “reporting” is different. “Reporting is when church officials take the initiative and give abuse reports to police and prosecutors. That rarely happens. And that’s far more important.
Again, from the Guardian: “The Vatican has said since 2011 that it was ‘important’ to cooperate with civil authorities. But it still does not support across-the-board reporting of abuse in countries where such notification is not mandatory.”
Finally, Newsweek notes that “An unnamed Vatican source (said) that it was difficult to report abuse in some countries because of a ‘hostile’ relationship between church and state and places with corrupt police forces that did not ensure the presumption of innocence.”
Our message to Vatican officials: “Put up or shut up. Produce the list of those nations and we strongly suspect that victims and Catholics in those countries will be more understanding of church secrecy in child sex abuse and cover up cases. Until you do, this excuse will continue to ring hollow.”
(Laws about asking for donations also vary among nations. Are there countries in which Catholic officials don’t seek contributions? We don’t think so.)
(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.