Vatican - More Vatican talk on abuse; SNAP responds

For immediate release: December 5, 2013

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

 “Commission,” “survey,” “policies” – these are the words being used to describe the Vatican’s announcement.

Another commission surveying bishops and recommending policies is meaningless. It’s like offering a band-aid to an advanced cancer patient.

These crimes and cover ups have gone on for centuries quietly and decades publicly. Only decisive action can help, not more studies and committees and promises.

No institution can police itself, especially not an ancient, secretive, rigid, all-male monarchy. Yet that's what Catholic officials have long claimed and tried to do. This move is more of the same. Rather than show courage and creativity, top Catholic officials are repeating the same self-serving patterns of the past that have proven to be effective public relations but ineffective prevention and healing steps.

Like his predecessors, the Pope knows precisely what must be done to protect kids and expose the truth. Like his predecessors, he lacks the strength of character to do it.

Clergy sex crimes should be dealt with by secular authorities. And more could be done if the Pope punished bishops who conceal these crimes and ordered bishops to publicly disclose their child molesting clerics. This simple step would immediately make kids safer. But instead, parents and parishioners are being offered yet another toothless church panel.

The pope should also insist that bishops push secular officials to reform archaic barriers to justice like the statute of limitations. This simple step would also make kids safer.

Pope Francis has massive power and many options. But he’s choosing to not use that power to protect children. And he’s choosing perhaps the least effective option to address a roiling crisis: another internal, quiet, cleric-dominated committee.  

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])

Showing 2 comments

  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2013-12-05 09:59:29 -0600
    Wow, I am certainly relieved…’s like an early Christmas present…….another commission. I think I get it………we set up the COMMISSION to cover up all of the OMISSIONS of Catholic Church leadership here in the USA and around the world.

    My idea??……forget the COMMISSION and bring on the HANDCUFFS.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (Retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.
  • Maureen Paul Turlish
    commented 2013-12-05 09:39:08 -0600
    Pope Francis’ words establishing this commission would be commendable if at the same time he announced his plans for disciplining and removing those bishops who by their abuse of episcopal power and authority were complicit in the sexual abuse of thousands of children in this country.

    If O’Malley’s statements above are accurate, the pope’s creation of this committee appears to be a bit of putting the cart before the horse. Remember, the bishops created this horrific scandal by protecting rogue priests with no regard for the Lord’s little ones leaving them unprotected before packs of wolves.

    “The new commission is expected to tell church officials to collaborate with civil authorities and report cases of abuse,” O’Malley said.

    Excuse me? Is this something that necessitated a commission?

    “In July, Pope Francis announced a law making it a crime to abuse children sexually or physically on Vatican grounds, the Holy See said.”

    What? So then a foot or two outside “Vatican grounds” is “sexually or physically” abusing children not a crime?

    The hierarchy has already exhausted its moral authority and credibility through its actions these past decades and neither will not be regained by having the ecclesiastical body responsible for the scandal have any part in its correction.

    “Fool me one shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.”

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Advocate for Victim/Survivors & Legislative Reform
    New Castle, Delaware
    [email protected]

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