Pope Francis admits cover up; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 28

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president (312-399-4747[email protected])

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)


David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected][email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine(312-399-4747[email protected])

Showing 4 comments

  • Maureen Paul Turlish
    commented 2015-09-29 09:41:32 -0500
    “Chaput was asked about Pope Francis’ sincerity after he met with five local victims of sex abuse, hearing their stories and apologizing.”

    The quote above is for a news story posted on Monday by Philadelphia’s Channel 6 but…

    It’s Chaput’s sincerity that Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians should be questioning. There were three women and 2 men (as reported by the media) there meeting with Pope Francis but not all were sexually abused by priests.

    Were any of those meeting with the pope abused by priests who actually belong or belonged to the AOP or were they “order priests” or even priests from elsewhere since Timothy Dolan seems to have had a big hand in the whole affair?

    Well, now we know that the sexual abuse of children, or anyone else for that matter, is not a “Catholic Problem.” Thank the Lord that the pope, Chaput and Dolan have enlightened us. BUT Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput will not be able to use the old chestnut that legislation proposed in Harrisburg is anti-Catholic and applied on to Catholics anymore.

    BTW, for Pennsylvanians that proposed legislation before this session:

    Eliminating Civil Statutes of Limitation – Senate Bill 173
    Eliminating Criminal Statutes of Limitation – Senate Bill 172
    2 Year Civil Window – House Bill 951
    2 Year Civil Window – Senate Bill 770

    Chaput’s statement never was true but that never stopped Chaput from repeating it. It was successful in getting proposed legislation in Colorado defeated so why not do the same in PA with, of course, a few million dollars thrown in to pay for the lobbyists working their contacts in the legislature?

    Pope Francis recently created a Pontifical Tribunal whose responsibility is to hold responsible those bishops who abused their power of office in relation to sexually abusive priests, in particular, those known, credibly accused or convicted sexual predators of children. It should be no great secret to anyone that while the sexual abuse of children is not a “Catholic Problem,” the massive institutional cover-up by the hierarchy, the bishops, was and continues to be such; one unaddressed adequately, certainly by the hierarchy. Clericalism is alive and well.

    It was distressing to see Cardinal Archbishop Justin Rigali, formerly of Philadelphia, so prominent in celebrating Mass with Pope Francis. Other members of the hierarchy were prominent including Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Nienstedt. One would think that individuals with their history would be ashamed to show their faces.

    Morally corrupt and hypocritical are not too strong to use to describe many of them. Reread the 2005 & 2011 Grand Jury Reports covering the work of three Grand Juries that were impaneled to investigate the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and leaders Krol, Bevilaequa and Rigali.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Advocate for Victim/Survivors & Legislative Reform
    Delaware & Philadelphia
    [email protected]
  • Iain Pattison
    commented 2015-09-29 06:13:31 -0500
    Good post SNAP.
    Well said Barbara and well said Joyce Shovah. Don’t let these pedophiles lure people into a false sense of security, trick us. As SNAP has stated before pedophiles are very cunning people. It’s actions that count not words.
  • Joyce Shovah
    commented 2015-09-28 19:03:59 -0500
    Well stated Barbara. Until there is zero tolerance for pedophile priests and the bishops protecting them, this will never go away. To think predators and their protectors have gotten away with the despicable acts against children and cover ups for decades is reprehensible, Crimes against humanity.
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