Rome- Papal PR man desperately defends sainthood
For immediate release: Friday, April 25, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, [email protected])
At this late stage, it's pathetic that Pope John Paul II's longtime spokesman still tries to defend his horrific record on sexual violence against kids and church cover ups of predators.
As best we can tell, in 27 years as pope, he took one step: in 2002, he met with a few U.S. cardinals about it. What came out of that event? A photo op for the church hierarchy that gave the misleading impression that things were changing.
US prelates were already drafting a first-ever national abuse policy before sitting down with John Paul. And once it was finalized, the pope and his staff severely weakened an already weak policy.
Reasonable people can speculate forever on why John Paul did virtually nothing about this crisis. But no reasonable person can cite even one practical step he took to prevent, slow, stop or expose it.
Some say, in the words of the Associated Press, that "he grasped the scale of the scandal only late in his papacy." So? Even late in his tenure, John Paul took no effective steps whatsoever to protect one child, expose one predator, punish one bishop or deter one cover up.
Spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls claims (again according to the AP ) that "John Paul found it difficult to accept that priests might abuse children because of the 'purity of his thought.'" That's both insulting and laughable.
One does not rise to the very top of the world's oldest, largest and most powerful monarchy by being naive. By all accounts, John Paul was a very shrewd man. He was not ignorant about this scandal.
These days, we recall him as an elderly, beloved, kindly, suffering and stoop shouldered media figure. But everyone knows he was - like every pope - a brilliant man. He fully knew that many priests rape, sodomize, fondle and assault children and that many bishops ignore and hide these heinous crimes.
He simply chose to do nothing about the crisis. And for that reason alone, it's wrong to make him a saint.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)