Bishop Tobin Cancels New Job Post For Fr. Eric Silva in Rhode Island
(For Immediate Release August 5, 2022)
Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Catholic Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, has canceled the new work order for Fr. Eric Silva to report to Saint Thomas More in Narragansett on August 15th as an assistant. While we applaud the decision of Bishop Tobin not to allow Fr. Silva to return to parish work, we are not commending the Bishop himself. Fr. Silva should not have been on a list for reassignment in the first place, as he had been removed from active ministry for asking inappropriate questions of children. We believe that any "investigation" done solely by diocesan-employed investigators is suspect and that better results are achieved by independent, secular investigations.
We believe the moral approach, with the continuing large and alarming numbers of priests under inquiry, is to be careful, not complacent. We also believe that our group, survivors who spoke out, and advocates who also expressed concern about placing Fr. Silva back into parish life without an independent investigation have made a huge difference.
It is simply irresponsible to ignore history, patterns, and common sense. It is wrong to justify such a dangerous decision by saying that a cleric has done everything his superiors have asked, and therefore is ready to be placed back in a position of trust and responsibility. We believe that the earlier decision by Church leaders would have put the lives of innocent children at risk.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)