Rome--More diversity in church hierarchy may endanger kids

For immediate release: Saturday, Feb. 14

Statement by Mary Caplan of New York City, SNAP Leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (917 439 4187, [email protected])

On Sunday, the hierarchy of the Catholic church becomes more inclusive than ever as prelates are promoted from several new nations. For the safety of kids, this could be problematic.   

In our experience, very few church officials handle clergy sex crimes and cover ups well. Bishops in the developed world, however, have made minimal progress but only because they’ve been forced to act due to civil lawsuits, journalistic investigations, educated laity and well-funded, sophisticated law enforcement agencies. Sadly, these factors are less prevalent in the developing world.

In the developing world, there tend more religious order priests, closer ties between government and religion and a wider power and education gap between clerics and lay people. These are problematic factors too.

So bishops in those regions tend to be even less responsive and forthcoming about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Put more bluntly, they tend to conceal clergy sex crimes more because they know they can get by with it more.

In the larger picture, adding more prelates from traditionally under-represented regions of the world may be just and healthy. But we fear it won't make kids safer and may in fact make kids more vulnerable.           

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have 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

Contact - David Clohessy +1 314-566-9790, [email protected], Barbara Dorris +1 314-503-0003, [email protected], Barbara Blaine +1 312-399-4747, [email protected]


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