Leaked Transcript Makes Plain that Reconciliation Programs are Aimed at Protecting the Catholic Church, not Supporting Survivors
A recently leaked transcript has added more weight to a fact long suspected to be true – that the Archdiocese of New York had every intention of preventing the passage of the Child Victim’s Act. We are saddened but not surprised by this news, especially given that Catholic officials have spent millions trying to deny victims their day in court.
We have long known that Independent Reconciliation Programs like the one launched by the Archdiocese of New York in 2016 are designed less to support victims than they are to protect the assets and reputation of the Church. There is nothing shocking to us about the comments by Kenneth Feinberg or, according to Mr. Feinberg, the thinking of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. We believe that those very thoughts and opinions have long formed the backbone of the Church’s strategy to appear to be working on behalf of victims when they are really trying to silence them and prevent stories about abuse and cover-up from reaching the public.
This leaked transcript is further proof that parents and parishioners need to weigh the words of their Church leaders carefully and not accept them at face value. We hope that this story will also encourage survivors around the country to work towards reform that will open up windows to justice and allow survivors to have their day in court rather than sign-on to Church-run programs that aim to protect the institution at all costs.
(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)