Rome- New Vatican abuse panel to hold 1st meeting
New Vatican abuse panel to hold 1st meeting
Victims beg committee: “Take immediate action”
Use 'bully pulpit' to 'denounce bad bishops,' they urge
They also ask for open, public hearings in several countries
SNAP: “Vulnerable kids can't wait a year or two for Vatican steps”
“Practical moves, that require no study, are needed right now,” they say
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will call on Pope Francis' new child sex panel to take immediate steps to protect kids. Specifically, victims want the panel (at or shortly after their first meeting) to
--make public all agendas and minutes of their meetings,
--hold public hearings about the church's on-going abuse and cover up crisis in at least a dozen nations, and
They will also beg the panel to immediately denounce
--the new, secretive Italian bishops abuse policy, and
--Individual bishops who are clearly concealing or have concealed abuse.
Wednesday, April 30 at 11:00 a.m. (Rome time/Central European time)
Hotel Orange- Via Crescenzio, 86, 00193 Roma, Italy; +39 06 686 8969
One-two clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders in an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). One is a Chicago woman who is the founder and longtime president of the organization.
Pope Francis' new abuse study panel will meet for the first time ever on May 1 in Rome.
Over the past two decades, hundreds of similar church panels have been set up at the national and diocesan levels across the world, SNAP says. Those panels have been ineffective, SNAP says, in part because they tend to operate in secrecy with little real input from independent sources.
These hand-picked panel members –mostly all Catholic church-goers - have rarely spoken out in public, even in the most egregious cases of recklessness, callousness and deceit by Catholic officials.
So SNAP believes the pope's new panel should make public all agendas and minutes of their meetings and hold public hearings about the church's on-going abuse and cover up crisis in at least a dozen nations. SNAP also wants the panel to immediately denounce the new, secretive Italian bishops abuse policy, and individual bishops who are clearly concealing or have concealed abuse.
Historically, church spokesmen claim that these church abuse panels are to focus on the “big picture” and “long term proposals.” But SNAP says children can't wait for one or two or three years of “study.” Regardless of what the church hierarchy wants, SNAP contends that these panels - or panel members - have both the chance and the duty to take action now to expose and deter cover-ups. The best way to do that, SNAP feels, is to rebuke the most serious and blatant “enablers,” the church supervisors who endanger kids by protecting predators and keeping secrets.
The panel should also urge bishops to fight for, not against, reforming secular child safety laws (like the archaic, predatory-friendly statutes of limitations).
SNAP believes that only similar swift and public action will help keep children safe, and that the panel will only be effective if it insists on concrete reforms, including the punishment of wrongdoers.
(The first head of a similar panel in the US, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, was forced out after he publicly compared some recalcitrant bishops to the Mafia.http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/22/weekinreview/the-basics-church-mafia-why-the-link.html )
Finally, SNAP is also urging the Pope to take proven steps now to safeguard kids. He should not, they say, postpone action until the committee finishes its “study” or meetings.
Francis has also taken quick, decisive action to reform Vatican finances and governance, SNAP notes
And Francis moved quickly to remove the German “Bishop of Bling” because he embarrassed church officials with his extravagant spending.
But Francis hasn't taken a single step that protects a single child or exposes a single cover up denounces, much less disciplines, a single Catholic bishop who ignores or hides clergy sex crimes.
It took Francis months to announce his panel and more month to name even one member of the committee and more months to call the first meeting.
In Rome----Barbara Blaine, European cell +39 366 1160224, U.S. cell +1 312 399 4747, Rome hotel- +39 06 598591; [email protected], Miguel Hurtado +44 7787 638245, Nicky Davis, European cell +39 388 9068750,[email protected]
In the US----David Clohessy (in Missouri) +1 314 645 5915 home, +1 314 566 9790 cell, [email protected] or Barbara Dorris (in Missouri) +1 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected] or the SNAP office in Chicago at +1 312 455 1499, [email protected]g or [email protected]