Pope Francis admits cover up; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 28
After 30 years of public scandal in the US over predator priests and complicit bishops, finally a Catholic official is admitting that “princes of the church” covered up heinous crimes. But he fell short of admitting something even worse: that these cover ups continue even now.
And we must stress that words – be they tougher, clearer, kinder or more frequent – are still just words. In a rigid, ancient, secretive, all-male monarchy, words are weak weapons in the battle against a massive, intractable crisis. Only actions can really make a difference. Those actions still are not happening.
We’re glad that Pope Francis admitted that church officials have concealed abuse. For decades, prelates have insisted these cover ups were “mistakes,” “oversights” and “errors in judgment” when, in fact, they are deliberate, daily decisions to put bishops’ reputations ahead of children’s safety.
Now, of course, Pope Francis must publicly and promptly punish bishops who are protecting predators now. And he must order bishops to do the same with their own staff and clerics who are protecting predators now.
(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)