For the second time, Philly’s new archbishop has expressed clear support for a credibly accused priest who may soon be deemed a criminal for enabling child sex crimes while apparently expressing no concern for vulnerable kids, wounded adults or learning the truth in court about an alleged criminal.
In neither case, as best we can tell, did Chaput express even a scintilla of worry for kids who are at risk today because of Lynn’s actions, adults who are suffering today because of Lynn’s actions. Nor has Chaput ever, as best we can tell, issued a real call for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward, so that the case involving Lynn be resolved with as much information as possible.
Chaput has shown his true colors. Like his brother bishops, he’s first, foremost and always a company man who quickly sides with accused clerics over vulnerable kids and wounded adults.
A caring shepherd would have led by example and urged his staff and supporters to be open-minded, rather than making insensitive comments that will only further deter victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers from reporting known and suspected child sex crimes and cover ups.
Chaput could have said “It’s important that we not say or do anything that might prejudice the criminal proceedings. It’s important that we stay open-minded and resist the temptation to automatically back our brother priest. It’s important that we reach out to others who may have knowledge of how Lynn dealt with abuse allegations and admissions, and urge those people to call the prosecutor.”
He apparently said none of this. Instead, he sent church employees the same clear and disturbing message bishops have sent church employees for decades: “No matter how seriously you’re accused of committing or concealing child sex crimes, we in the Catholic hierarchy will back you.”
(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 23 years and have more than 10,000 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)