Vatican - Catholic officials deny Vatican power at UN; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

Statement by Mary Caplan of Manhattan, national board member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ([email protected])

Two high-ranking Catholic officials today basically told a United Nations panel that the Vatican has little real power to stop bishops from hiding clergy sex crimes. We’re very saddened that such a huge and powerful church bureaucracy continues to pretend it’s powerless over its own officials.

These clerics said some nice things today in Geneva. But unfortunately, the encouraging public words today by Catholic officials differ radically from the actual and distressing private behavior of Catholic officials. Before the cameras, the church hierarchy often denounces predators and thanks victims. But behind closed doors, the church hierarchy often protects predators and rebuffs victims.

The Catholic officials today repeatedly cited vague, new and unenforced internal church abuse guidelines. But these are meaningless because no one is ever punished for breaking church abuse guidelines.

And many of the guidelines focus on child molesting clerics while ignoring the bigger problem: corrupt church officials who are still endangering kids, moving offenders, stonewalling law enforcement and deceiving parishioners and the public.

Catholic officials couldn't cite a single case in which the Vatican punished even a single church staff for endangering a single child or helping a single predator.

They dodged, as best i can tell, the simple question: Will the Vatican stop harboring the Polish archbishop who reportedly molested five kids in the Caribbean? Will he be turned over to secular authorities or not?

We're grateful that the panel asked about very specific cases: stolen Spanish babies, exploited UK laundry girls and women, the Fr. Marcial Maciel scandal, the recently accused Polish archbishop and a Vatican official’s 2001 praise of French Bishop Pierre Pican for refusing to turn over accused priests to law enforcement.

We are disappointed that Catholic officials ignored those questions or answered them poorly.

The UN panel members kept asking specific questions but kept getting vague responses from the Vatican officials.

Still, it’s significant and hopeful that an international secular body forced Vatican officials to defend their horrific track record on childrens’ safety.

It’s important that victims never give up and that secular authorities never stop pushing for real reform in the church hierarchy so that clergy sex crimes and bishops’ cover-ups are exposed and stopped.

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,[email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259,[email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434,[email protected]), Judy Jones 636-433-2511,[email protected])

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