MA--Church Review Board member promotes complacency instead of vigilance

For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790[email protected])

We’re saddened that a Catholic layman disingenuously defends how Worcester Catholic officials deal with clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

In an newspaper op ed today, Edward Reynolds, claims the church hierarchy is “protecting children today by implementing nationally accepted protocols.” That’s baloney. They’re doing smart public relations. But they aren’t reforming.

Reynolds should be ashamed for promoting complacency instead of vigilance.

He was hand-picked by Bishop Robert McManus for an essentially meaningless abuse panel that is primarily “window dressing” mandated by a weak, vague national church policy. He means well, no doubt. But he’s being fooled and exploited by church officials who continue to put their comfort and careers ahead of kids’ safety.

Here’s the clearest evidence of this. McManus, Reynolds and their colleagues refuse to take the most simple and effective way to protect kids from child molesting clerics – posting their names, photos and work histories on diocesan and parish websites.  

About 30 US bishops have done this. Not McManus, however. None of those 30 have expressed regret for having taking this cheap, quick prevention step. It’s common sense: if a cleric is too dangerous to keep in parish, then the public should be warned about him.

Reynolds touts church policies, protocols and procedures. But kids weren’t hurt and crimes weren’t concealed because of inadequate policies, protocols and procedures. They were hurt by deliberate, repeated, selfish decisions by Catholic officials who have never been exposed or punished and are largely still on the job now.

At least 41 Worcester priests assaulted kids. Dozens of their church supervisors and colleagues knew of or suspected these crimes and ignored or hid them. No words on paper, regardless of how impressive they may sound, will change this. Only exposing and punishing those who commit or conceal child sex crimes stops this horror. But McManus and his colleagues continue to keep a tight lid on this cover up, while clerics who perpetuated it are still on the job, often winning promotions and continuing their complicity.

Instead of patting themselves on the back, Worcester church officials should be begging anyone who sees, suspects or suffers clergy sex crimes to call law enforcement. Instead of making self-serving reassurances, they should be warning parents about known predators.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected][email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747[email protected])

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