David Clohessy: The Worst US Bishops
Blog by David Clohessy, former Executive Director of SNAP and longtime survivor advocate.
The most secretive and reckless US Catholic bishops are the men heading these dioceses:
- Fresno California
- Grand Island Nebraska
- Grand Rapids Michigan
- Honolulu Hawaii
- Kalamazoo Michigan
- Miami Florida
- Orlando Florida
- Palm Beach Florida
- Portland Maine
- Saint Thomas Virgin Islands
- San Francisco California
- Superior Wisconsin
- Venice Florida
- Worcester Massachusetts
How can we make such a sweeping characterization?
It’s simple. These bishops are refusing to do
- what common sense and common decency requires,
- what two of their colleagues did almost 20 years ago, and
- what the majority of their colleagues have finally done: name at least SOME of the priests, nuns, monks, brothers, seminarians and bishops who are proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters.
How hard is this? For decades, victims and advocates have begged “Just post on your websites the names of these abusers so kids will be safer and so victims will be vindicated.”
And the heads of each of these dioceses still refuse to take this simple step toward prevention and healing.
(How do we know that these bishops are still hiding predators? Because of the hard and thorough work of the small, dedicated staff at BishopAccountability.org. For almost 20 years, they have painstakingly documented this on-going crisis. And they’ve compiled the most accurate and extensive list of credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics anywhere. This tiny but mighty organization has done more to protect kids and expose wrongdoers than the entire worldwide church hierarchy.)
Let’s try this private sector analogy.
Say a nationwide company prides itself on making very healthy chemicals.
And in fact, it does this.
But secretly, it also imports, exports and manufacturers many dangerous chemicals it knows to be dangerous for decades.
As a result, tens of thousands of children get sick, and dozens who were infected as kids die as adults.
And the company keeps on secretly importing, exporting and manufacturing these same dangerous chemicals.
Eventually, the truth begins to surface.
Victims finally understand the source of their pain.
They unite in support groups and advocacy organizations.
They start speaking up to anyone who’ll listen.
Journalists start to expose this horror.
Law enforcement officials launch investigations.
Investors and customers of the company become outraged and leave.
Finally, after decades of relentless pressure, the CEO says “Fine. At all our branches, we’ll stop importing, exporting and manufacturing these awful chemicals. And we’ll stop being deceptive. We will tell you what these harmful chemicals are.”
But only some branch managers do this. The others refuse.
And even those who do cooperate, do so half-heartedly. They disclose the NAMES of SOME of the chemicals. But not all.
(That’s what most US bishops are doing: splitting hairs, making excuses, parsing words and listing only some predators.)
And they refuse to say where the awful chemicals came from, where they went and where they are now.
(That’s what most US bishops are doing: even when they acknowledge the names of some predators, they usually continue to hide the work assignments and last known whereabouts of the predators.)
So spread the word about these recalcitrant, reckless bishops.
And spread the word about the disingenuous bishops who post SOME predators’ names but refuse to say where the predators are or were.
And remind others that when Catholic officials claim they’re ‘open’ and ‘transparent’ these days about clergy sexual abuse, they’re lying.