NY--Cardinal should denounce Syracuse bishops

For immediate release: Sunday, Sept. 13

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)

New York Cardinal Tim Dolan should harshly, publicly and immediately denounce two Syracuse bishops for blaming victims of pedophile priests for their victimization.


In a 2011 deposition, Bishop Robert Cunningham was asked a clear, simple question: "did the (abused) boy commit a sin?" He made a clear, simple reply: "The boy is culpable."

Shame on him.

And his predecessor, Bishop James Moynihan, told abuse victim Charles Bailey 'The age of reason is 7, so if you're at least 7 you're culpable for your actions.'

Shame on him too.

And shame on any and every Catholic official who ignores – and thus essentially endorses – these mean-spirited remarks.

Dolan, as the “metropolitan” bishop over all of New York, has a particular duty to speak up loudly and clearly here unless he wants to deepen the pain of thousands of abuse victims and deepen the victim-shaming and victim-blaming church culture that still persists.

These are inexcusable, irresponsible comments from powerful, smart men. They will deter others who were raped and sodomized from reporting criminals and protecting kids.

This warped, self-serving view – that a child is to blame for his or her victimization by a priest - stems from the exalted and 'superior' status clerics give themselves. Bishops think this way because they've been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that the ordained are 'above' the common folk.

Bishops often talk of "the dignity of every person." But deep down, many of them are convinced that they really are better than the rest of us, which is why many of them almost compulsively blame others when clerics commit crimes.

We hope Syracuse Catholics will be so disgusted by these mean-spirited remarks that they stop donating to institutions that hide abuse and give instead to agencies that fight abuse.

We also hope that US bishops will harshly and publicly denounce him, so that hurtful comments like this are deterred. They’ve pledged (starting in 2002) that they will “fraternally correct” their colleagues who endanger kids, protect predators, conceal crimes and otherwise mishandle this continuing crisis. Now is the time for them do so.

And we hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Syracuse will find the courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, seek justice and start healing, by first seeking independent sources of help and NOT reporting to corrupt, self-serving Catholic officials.

(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 SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.comSNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,bblaine@snapnetwork.org)


Child victims partly to blame in priest sex-abuse cases, Syracuse bishop testified

By John O'Brien | jobrien@syracuse.com,  September 13, 2015 at 8:55 AM

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The victims of child-molesting priests are partly to blame for their own abuse, the bishop of Syracuse said in a sworn deposition that revealed his views on the church's sex abuse scandal.

Bishop Robert Cunningham testified in a 2011 deposition in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a man who said a priest in the Syracuse diocese sexually abused him as a child.

The man's lawyer asked Cunningham whether, in the eyes of the church, a child molested by a priest has committed a sin.

"The boy is culpable," Cunningham said  . . . 

Read full article here

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  • Dan Guerriero
    commented 2015-09-15 14:32:01 -0500
    In a recent survey as to why the Catholic Church is losing the under 30’s what came up the most was the child abuse scandal. I find it myself very hard to get over what was done. Priests just do not have the credibility I use to give them. I know go to the Episcopal Church. I do like the programming on Ewtn but that is about it.
  • Marlene Lammers
    commented 2015-09-14 12:06:48 -0500
    So there is a reason scripture has The God-man, hypo static union, Jesus Christ saying, in the eighth station, “Women, don’t weep for me, but for yourselves and for your children, for what they have done to the green tree, what will they do to the branches.”.
    The Catholic couple is told, “Be generous, have lots of children, educate them Catholic.” So those who can dutifully and at great sacrifice send their children to Catholic Schools and Religious Ed. Then if the child is seduced or raped, (and a minor by law is raped) , the child is held culpable. It follows that the mother and spouse is also held culpable for their docile obedience.
  • Jeb Barrett
    commented 2015-09-13 17:58:04 -0500
    There was a time when people thought abuse was only happening in Boston, Louisiana or the USA. Today, we know better. THAT’S WHY WE ALL NEED TO CONTINUE SPEAKING TRUTH WITH POWER TO THOSE IN POWER. These bishops are probably but the tip of a large, ugly iceberg of secrets, and such should have no voice or authority over anyone, and CERTAINLY no moral authority. This is despicable!
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