PA - SNAP's letter to Archbishop Chaput

June 27, 2012

Dear Archbishop Chaput;

We are leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

We are writing you today with a simple and straightforward request about Monsignor William Lynn. He has been tried. He has been convicted. He should be defrocked.

This is not about being vindictive. It’s about being prudent. It’s about trying to reverse decades or centuries of self-serving secrecy in child sex abuse cases by thousands of Catholic officials. It’s about sending the most clear and severe message possible to current and future church employees who ignore, conceal and enable heinous crimes against kids. That message should be a “no brainer” – if you protect predators and hurt kids by hiding known and suspected crimes, you will be out of a job.

Sadly, even now, that message is virtually never sent. With only a handful of exceptions, Catholic staffers who act recklessly, callously and deceitfully with the safety of kids are virtually never disciplined by officials like you. So sadly, the same hurtful patterns of complicity - that have been so thoroughly exposed, so extensively documented and so widely criticized – continue.

This is simple common sense, Archbishop. If you do what virtually every US bishop has done - keep on staff virtually every cleric who put innocent kids second and the church’s reputation first – how can you possibly expect that the well-being of kids will ever take priority over the well-being of predators?

You can question why Msgr. Lynn did what he did and to what extend he’s really to blame. But no reasonable person can deny that, for more than a decade, Msgr. Lynn ignored, concealed and enabled child sex crimes, refusing, in dozens of cases, to call police even once about known or suspected child sex crimes. No reasonable person can deny that children suffered as a result of his actions and inactions.

No reasonable person can deny that he had many options but repeatedly chose the irresponsible one: never questioning or undermining or defying – even once – a deceitful or harmful decision by his supervisors or peers or underlings. And no one can deny that he is a felon.

Please help bring healing to your archdiocese. Please help prevent future horrors. Please stop doing what Msgr. Lynn and others did – protecting wrongdoers. Please start defrocking Msgr. Lynn today.

David Clohessy
SNAP Director
[email protected]

Barbara Dorris
SNAP Outreach Director
314.862.7688, 314.503.0003
[email protected]

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  • Robert Hartley
    commented 2012-06-27 16:20:59 -0500
    There will be no laicizing of Msgr. Lynn because Bishop Chaput knows full well that Msgr. Lynn’s actions were guided by Cardinal Bevilacqua.

    At the end of the day, Bevilacqua was Lynn’s conscience, as it is expected to be in the Roman Catholic Cult, where every subordinate sacrifices his/her conscience to a higher superior.

    Bevilacqua sacrificed his conscience to the pope; Lynn sacrificed his conscience to Bevilacqua.

    This is how it must be if the Cult is to continue and maintain power.

    To laicize Lynn will be to break the chain of hierarchical control, and send a message to all Chaput’s priests, that they will not receive his support even if they do what he wants, and when the chips are down, they too may be laicized for following his orders. This is contradictory to the hierarchical Cult structure and is self-destructive of Cult power.

    As the Cult structure now exists, there is no chance of Msgr. Lynn being laicized against his will.
  • Kay Goodnow
    commented 2012-06-27 11:30:50 -0500
    Maybe Chaput will read this letter, but probably not…
  • Jeannie Guzman
    commented 2012-06-27 11:04:29 -0500
    Frank: I respectfully disagree. I think the odds are an infintessimally larger, because Chaput doesn’t want to be the one to set the precedent. After all, he is the golden haired boy of the Vatican and Magisterium. To remove Lynn, Chaput would be risking his future Cardinal’s miter. (Remember, as the Grand Inquisitor Chaput was able to get a much-beloved bishop, Bishop Morris of Toowoomba Australia, removed from office and his only “sin” was going against Vatican protocols). If Lynn is defrocked, then every future bishops, archbishop and cardinal, who has covered up for Pedophile Priests, told parishioners, “There are no known Pedophile Priests working in the Archdiocese of _______,” shuffled them from parish to parish or country to country in the Church’s unofficial “Pedophile Priests WITHOUT Borders Program,” etc……. will also need to be defrocked, and SHOULD be defrocked. Unfortunately to defrock a member of the Hierarchy would take Vatican approval, and that’ll never happen to a “Prince of the Church!”
  • Frank Douglas
    commented 2012-06-27 09:36:28 -0500
    The odds are 40 to 1 against the archbishop taking defrocking action.
  • David Clohessy
    published this page in Media Statements 2012-06-27 09:01:00 -0500

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