Canada- Victims blast Catholic officials' apology
For immediate release: Friday, March 07, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
Church abuse apologies are virtually meaningless. Whether long or short, clear or vague, prompt or delayed, they don't protect a single child, expose a single predator or uncover a single cover up.
Apologies like this are smart public relations and legal defense maneuvers. And it's tragic that they often come only after Catholic institutions are sued and Catholic officials are forced to act.
(Often, some church apologies seem “good” or “sincere” when compared with even more awful earlier apology attempts by other church officials. That's the wrong standard to use.)
Virtually every step the Christian Brothers have taken about abuse have been forced on them by wounded victims, aggressive journalists, determined police, skilled prosecutors or outraged donors and Catholics.
We are not impressed by the Christian Brothers' “promise to ensure it never happens again.” If they were sincere, we'd see tangible, proven preventative steps taken voluntarily, not lip service and empty 'policies' that are ignored or violated.
Christian Brothers officials should permanently post on their websites the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric.
They should lobby for, not against, better secular child safety laws.
They should aggressively reach out – using their vast resources – every single (not just take out newspaper ads, as they were required to do by a judge) to every victim of every one of their clerics.
They should deal with clergy sex abuse litigation without trying to exploit legal technicalities like the statute of limitations.
And they should immediately demote and publicly denounce every single cleric or lay employee who ignored or concealed child sex crimes, while putting every offending cleric or lay employee in remote, secure, independently run treatment centers so they'll be away from kids.
When these steps and others are taken, then we'll believe in the alleged sincerity of Christian Brothers officials.
(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)