Rhode Island Priest Grossly Misrepresents the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse, SNAP Calls for a Public Apology
A priest in Rhode Island last week used his bully pulpit to make ignorant and insensitive comments about clergy sexual abuse and now we are calling on Catholic officials in Rhode Island to publicly censure this cleric and denounce his remarks.
In a ham-fisted attempt to make an argument against abortion, Fr. Richard Bucci declared “pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone." The fact that a person would attempt to use sexual abuse as some sort of foil in an debate about abortion is not only insensitive, but ignorant and wrong. His foolish and uneducated comments are an embarrassment to the Diocese of Providence and illustrate Fr. Bucci’s ignorance about the devastating effects that sexual abuse can have.
We use the term “survivors” for our group for a reason. Not all victims survive the devastating consequences of sexual abuse by a trusted clergyman. Many take their own lives, or overdose on the drugs they use to mute their pain. To asset that "pedophilia doesn’t kill people," as Fr. Bucci did, is simply wrong. Even those who do survive often struggle with depression, PTSD, and a host of physical and mental health problems.
Catholic officials from the Diocese of Providence should not let this ignorant vitriol stand without comment. At a minimum, they should demand that Fr. Bucci apologize to parishioners and the public. Then, they should demonstrate their commitment to the prevention of abuse by allowing Attorney General Peter Neronha complete and unfettered access to their personnel files and their "secret files" so that his office can complete a secular investigation into cases of clergy sexual abuse.
It is clear that something is drastically wrong within the Diocese of Providence. Not only is their list of accused priests woefully inadequate, but they are also clearly tolerating arrogance and ignorance among their clerics. We hope that this latest news will spur A.G. Neronha to launch a secular investigation into clergy abuse, as it is clear that the public cannot rely on men like Fr. Bucci to protect children.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)