Canadian Jesuits to Release Names of Abusive Clerics, SNAP Responds
The Jesuits in Canada have committed to publicly releasing the names of clergy who are “credibly accused” of abusing children, a long overdue move that will hopefully prompt other religious orders and dioceses throughout Canada to follow suit.
The Canadian Province of the Jesuits lag behind their American counterparts, who have already done so. We hope that when they do finally release their list that it is more complete than those released by the Jesuits in the US. They can achieve this by not only listing the names and work histories of those priests accused, but by also including critical information about when the allegations were first received and, most importantly, what steps Catholic officials took in response to those allegations.
Communities are safer when parents and parishioners are informed of not only who the abusers are, but also who the people are who covered for those abusers and enabled their crimes. This information is valuable for both the healing of survivors and also for the protection of children and the vulnerable.
When the list is ultimately released, the answers to two crucial questions for each name should also be posted:
- For how long have Jesuit officials known about the allegations and potentially endangered others by keeping the name of this abuser hidden?
- Which Jesuit officials will now personally visit the places where these men worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call law enforcement and report their abuse?
We hope that these questions will be answered when the lists are released, but we suspect that it will take much more than this initial disclosure to get to the bottom of this scandal – fully independent law enforcement officials must be involved. We hope that government offices throughout Canada will look closely at these names to determine if there are any crimes that can be prosecuted, so that today’s children can be spared from the devastating effects of sexual abuse.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)