New Pope elected, SNAP responds

It is always hopeful when someone new takes office. We often assume that the new person will be better than the last person, especially in a scandal ridden institution.

But that assumption is reckless. There’s no guarantee that a new person means a new direction.

Our hope is that the new Pope is that he will be bold and courageous in tackling the centuries-old and ongoing abuse and cover up crisis in the church. It’s long-standing, deeply-entrenched and tragically pervasive. Real reform may well take decades.

To help the institution he loves, Pope Benedict resigned. We hope that this pope will take similarly radical steps to protect children.

Actions, not words protect kids. While long on words, apologies and promises, Benedict was short on decisive action. We hope his successor will be different. We strongly urge him to start by harshly disciplining prelates who are enabling or have enabled child molesting clerics, be they priests, nuns, seminarians, bishops or cardinals.

And we urge Catholics to judge him on the concrete steps he may take to stop the abuse and cover-up, not on the vague pledges he may make about the crisis.

We in SNAP will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard children, expose wrongdoing and heal victims. We will keep working to hold those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children responsible, and see that they are prosecuted and convicted and kept away from kids. We will vigorously push to reform predator friendly abuse laws, so that more wounded victims can warn families and protect kids through the justice system. We beg compassionate and concerned Catholics to join us in this struggle.

No one man caused this crisis; no one man can remedy it either. Every single person who sees, suspects or suffers child sex crimes in the church must report, and preferably to secular authorities, not church figures. Complacency protects no one. Only vigilance protects the vulnerable.

Showing 14 comments

  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-13 22:09:06 -0500
    If he is following the core of Catholic beliefs as they stand now, he is living anything but a true christian life, and we are in for trouble! These people are of the mindset they are above man’s laws, and only have to answer to God’s laws, in other words they believe they can do anything they want, and not be held accountable for it. So a priest could continue to be a predator for years, and advance to the position of Bishop, Cardinal even a Pope, and the church will protect them. They have to be made to understand that is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated. I remember during the last scandal they had, one American women was interviewd in Rome and said, “the Catholic Church needs us to stand by it now”, no they need to stop lying and have the courage to tell the truth, and then do the right thing, then I would stand by it. If people like her experiened the suffering the church has inflicted on so many, they wouldn’t turn a blind eye like they do now. How can these church officials allow these things to go on, and then dare to hold themselves up as good christians? I’m waiting for this new Pope to say,“there will be no changes in church policy or doctrine”. I’m sure that will be his first official statement as Pope. The same BS, only spilling out of a different mouth.
  • Andy Dennis
    commented 2013-03-13 21:37:12 -0500
    I certainly agree with all of you here, and am not simply being “blinded” by all the media claims. The reality is none of us know what type of a Pope he will be. From what we have heard from the media, he is certainly a man of humility. He prefers being with his people and serving his people, even those living in the slums, over taking all the luxuries that could be available to him. It shows he is living a true Christian life that follows the core of Catholic beliefs, and I think that is a step in the right direction for the Papacy.

    Now whether or not that means he will be a good Pope, I admit I don’t know and I don’t think anyone can really know right now. Time will tell. I agree with what others have said, in that humility does not always translate to good leadership. But, whether or not you are Catholic, what we can do is pray for him that he can guide the Catholic Church in the right direction, protect the children of the Church, and provide good leadership.
  • Kristen Papac
    commented 2013-03-13 19:28:35 -0500
    @lani: there was an article where snap recommended only two people for pope. Everyone else had ties to pedophilia cover up. I’m sure you can google it or David can post a link here.
  • Kristen Papac
    commented 2013-03-13 19:25:27 -0500
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-13 17:55:04 -0500
    It is very nice that he is humble, and lived in a small apartment, cooked his own meals and traveled by bus. And so what! The question is, can he relate to the needs of modern Catholics? Can he adapt to the changing attitudes of a changing world? How is he going to handle cases of predator priets in the Cathloic church? Do not let the hype about him blind you to the real issues, these are going to be the real tests for him. Willhe have the courage to lead, or sit back and let things stand as they are. Personally, I think he will do the latter.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-13 17:50:16 -0500
    Yes, Andy, I heard all of those things on CNN immediately after the new pope left the loggia. But honestly? I’m not impressed by any of those actions. I live in California and I remember when our current governor (who also studied for a time to become a jesuit priest) opted to not live in the governor’s mansion, etc., and drove his own car instead of using a gov’t. car… And, yet the school district of the city (Oakland, CA) where he had been mayor, is so nearly defunct and bereft of good teachers and students who actually graduate; that during his term as mayor the entire school district fell into such wretched condition, and he nearly literally ran the school district (“whole show”) there, that I don’t think such examples of “character” really demonstrate ability to solve the current problems I am concerned about with regards the c. church of the 21st century.

    Actually, I want to know more about how, (and if ever) while he was archbishop in argentina, he dealt with the REAL existence of priest pedophiles.
  • Marigrace Labella
    commented 2013-03-13 17:47:28 -0500
    there were some names mentioned by people from SNAP that were better choices of anyone that could have been pope, but overall none of them even those that were possible ones that SNAP suggested were going to be anything wonderful
  • Andy Dennis
    commented 2013-03-13 17:29:05 -0500
    “Pope Francis is known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had the option to live in a palace but chose a simple apartment heated by a small stove. He gave up a limousine for the bus, and cooks his own meals”
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-13 16:57:44 -0500
    Lani, can you honestly say out of all the Cardinals there are any who have actually stood up and publically stated the church’s policy on pedophile priests is wrong, and they should contact law enforcement, when a priest is suspected of this? There are none, and if there were, his chances of being elected Pope would be nonexistent. We are dealing with a group of old men who are all of the same mindset, and certainly not in touch with the needs of modern Catholics.Who do I think would have been a good choice? In all honesty, none of them. We are stuck with the Catholic Church the way it is, there will be no changes. All we can do is what we have been doing, make sure these crimes are exposed,and that the priests, Bishops, Cardinals and even the Pope who are involved in covering them up, are made to answer to the law. Not God’s laws, as the church would like to have it, but man’s laws.If you want to know more about this new Pope, read the comments that are being posted here.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-13 16:11:04 -0500
    To Thom Sadloskos,

    Yes, Thom, I too am disappointed with the age of this new Pope.

    To David Clohessy,

    I want to say that regrettably, it is only now after the election of Archbishop Bergoglio (a selection I find to be very disappointing due to his age), that I realize that neither you, nor any other SNAP members, suggested anyone that they believe would be a good, new Pope.

    Darn it! (Perhaps, probably due to having been so bullied over the years since the advent of SNAP in the late 1980’s, we all only thought “defensively”?) In the midst of hurriedly naming those priests who should not be considered and/or allowed to vote, even—-those who should not in fact be elected new Pope, it seems we all “dropped the ball” in taking the opportunity to actually name one or more of those available, that we would like to see made Pope!

    Personally, over the years, I have prescribed to the old adage “Be careful what you wish for.”, so, I already learned (I thought) that someone new, is not always necessarily a better result.

    As I said, I regret that I didn’t think to ask of you and the other SNAP members there, who would (now I must use the past tense) have been a good priest to recommend to the church, that they should choose.

    I am grateful and thankful though, that at least their choice wasn’t any of the priests you and we were worried might be chosen.

    Now, I want to ask you, since I haven’t been able to locate anything yet, if you know anything of this new Pope’s actual record of actions regarding the whole priest pedophila chrisis?

    I will appreciate any information you can give, regarding this, particularly since I still feel very much on the verge of quitting the church altogether, but wishing I didn’t have to.

    Thank you,
    Lani Halter
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-13 16:05:26 -0500
    Well, then I guess its safe to say, the Cardinals have selected another old you know what for Pope, who is just as bad, if not worse, then the previous old you know what. Deep inside I knew this would happen, there is no such thing as “new” or “change” in the Catholic church, certainly not change for the better. The coverups, intolerance and hatred will continue, their numbers will continue to drop, and there will be those who keep their heads stuck in the sand, and pretend everything is fine.I wonder how long it will be before the church experiences its first major scandal under this new Pope?
  • paulina del rio
    commented 2013-03-13 15:36:23 -0500
    This is what he wrote about same-sex marriage in a letter to Argentine nuns in 2010: “Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
  • paulina del rio
    commented 2013-03-13 15:32:34 -0500
    What about crimes against humanity? The new pope is suspected to have collaborated with the military dictatorship of the early 1970s-late 1980s that resulted in more than 30,000 executed or “disappeared”. He has not been judged by a criminal court in Argentina, but has been described by several victims as either “neutral” or “implicated” in the disappearance of a number of his fellow jesuit priests. In 2011 he had to make a deposition before a French court (which he did in writing, from Argentina), during the course of an investigation on the babies stolen from their mothers while illegally held in secret prisons.
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-13 14:45:46 -0500
    The new Pope is a Cardinal from Argentina. What can you tell us about his record? I don’t know anything about him, but he is 76 years old, so we can forget our hopes of a younger more dymanic Pope.

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