Rome- Pope to hold "another PR meeting with victims"
For immediate release: Monday, May 26, 2014
Statement by Joelle Casteix, western regional director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) 949-322-7434 [email protected]
Francis made three meaningless abuse comments today. None of them are significant in any way. All are disappointing because they amount to more public relations instead of real action.
No child rape will be prevented, no abuse cover up will be prevented and no predator priest will be exposed by anything the pope said today or will do next month. His upcoming and self-serving meeting with victims is more of what we've seen for decades – more gestures, promises, symbolism and public relations.
One was his apparent zero tolerance pledge. The other was his announcement of a meeting next month with victims. The third was an announcement that three bishops are being investigated by the Vatican.
Again, we should all be crystal clear: none of this changes anything. It's not intended to. It's intended to promote complacency, and complacency is the enemy of reform. It's intended to mollify the faithful, not safeguard the vulnerable
Francis will be the third pope to meet with victims. Ask yourself: can you cite a single positive outcome of any of these meetings? We can't.
These meetings make a few people feel good for a short while. But the pope's most important constituency – abused and at risk kids – will remain vulnerable.
Papal words and gestures can be meaningful, but not on this crisis. Papal words and gestures can highlight concerns – like war and hunger – over which he has no power but his words and gestures.
This is different. This is a church-caused crisis. He's the head of the church. He can fix it. But he refuses, just like his predecessors did.
Francis should give hundreds of thousands of Vatican abuse and cover up records to police and prosecutors. He should order bishops to fight for – not against -secular laws that better protect kids. He should insist that bishops post on their websites the names and whereabouts of predator priests. These are simple, effective, common sense safety steps that would make a difference. But like his predecessors, Francis lacks the courage to take decisive action on the church's central and continuing crisis – sexual violence against kids and cover ups of that violence
(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 18,000 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,[email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected])