Rome--"Punishment, not advice, will stop church cover-ups"

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 17

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected], [email protected])

There’s never been a shortage of good people willing to advise Catholic officials on abuse. There’s been – and remains – a shortage of Catholic officials who practice celibacy and are thus able to defrock clerics who hide crimes, help predators and hurt kids. So whether yet another church abuse panel adds yet more members won’t change this.   

We know Pete Saunders and Marie Collins. They are wonderful, smart and compassionate individuals. We wish them, and the commission, well. But complicit Catholic officials need punishment, not advice. This commission can’t provide that. Only external pressure – from victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, and lawmakers – can.

As long as Catholic officials can pretend they need more information or advice, they can keep making excuses for refusing to take real steps to protect children.

Catholic officials have long know what’s right and what works. They lack the courage to do what’s right and what works. And because the church is monarchy, they lack the incentive to reform. It’s up to the rest of us to force them to reform. And that will take far more hard work than merely offering advice.

Pope Francis should immediately sack at least a dozen bishops who are concealing or had concealed heinous crimes against kids. And he should make it clear why he’s doing this. That single act would do more to stop cover ups and safeguard kids than hundreds more church study panels.

(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, 314-566-9790, [email protected], Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, [email protected], Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, [email protected]   

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