Rome- Victims plead with Vatican officials
Victims plead with Vatican officials
“Please stop honoring wrongdoers like JPII,” they beg
SNAP: “Those who commit or conceal crimes keep getting praised”
And that, they say, encourages other clerics to continue wrongdoing
Such callousness also deepens the pain of victims & parishioners, group charges
Two events in Rome on Friday, and one in Geneva in May, will feature victims
Holding signs and childhood pictures at a news conference, clergy sex abuse victims from Australia, Spain, Austria and the U.S. will
– denounce Vatican officials for making Pope John Paul II a saint,
– beg Pope Francis and other church staff to stop honoring those who commit and conceal child sex crimes and cover ups, and
– urge them to teach their flocks and employees how to act properly when clergy sex abuse reports surface.
Friday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m. (Rome time/Central European time)
Hotel Orange- Via Crescenzio, 86, 00193 Roma, Italy; +39 06 686 8969
Three-four clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders in an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. One is the founder and long time president of the organization, one heads SNAP's Australia chapter, the others are SNAP leaders from Europe.
SNAP leaders are convinced that clergy sex crimes and cover ups persist, in part, because the Catholic hierarchy praises wrongdoers instead of punishing them. Across the world, church buildings, scholarships, stained glass windows, streets, sports fields, etc. are named after proven wrongdoers and church speaking roles and honorific titles keep being given to them.
In just a handful of cases across the globe, clerics who protected predators and endangered kids were ever so slightly rebuked (mostly lower level church staff and only after their misdeeds were made public through civil lawsuits or investigative journalism). In many cases, wrongdoers were subsequently promoted.
In virtually all cases, no matter how deceitful or egregious their misconduct is, no cleric is ever defrocked, demoted, disciplined, or even denounced by his church supervisors, at the parish, diocesan or Vatican levels. That encourages even more reckless, callous and deceitful actions, SNAP says.
The canonization of Pope John Paul II, who for decades presided over thousands of clergy sex crimes and cover ups, is the latest and most hurtful example of this irresponsible pattern.
“For Pope Francis and Catholic officials to honor JPII with this exalted title is extraordinarily heartless and unwise. It rubs salt into the already deep wounds of tens of thousands of still-suffering clergy sex abuse victims and their loved ones across the globe,” said Nicky Davis of Sydney, who heads the SNAP Australia chapter.
“It further hurts millions of already disillusioned and betrayed current and former Catholics. It sends a dangerous signal: if you endanger children and protect predators, you’ll still be rewarded in the church,” said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP's founder. “And it discourages perhaps thousands of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up, exposing wrongdoers, protecting children and healing fully.”
“It sends a disturbing message when Catholic officials, who ignored or concealed abuse, are honored,” said Miguel Hurtado of London SNAP. “The message is ‘keep putting the reputations of officials above the safety of children and you'll still be protected and promoted in this church.’”
“Catholic officials must punish, not praise, those who hurt kids, whether directly or indirectly. Not doing so leads to continued cover ups,” said SNAP leader Miguel Hurtado.
SNAP says that for tens of thousands of clergy abuse victims across the world, Pope John Paul's sainthood ceremony will be a difficult time, stirring up wounds and adding to the hopelessness that many feel because the Catholic hierarchy refuses to reform its reckless, callous and deceitful handling of clergy sex case.
“We hope our brief, small presence in Rome during this insensitive ceremony will remind victims across the world that they aren't alone and that some one understands their pain,” said Blaine.
Under Pope John Paul II:
– the US bishops’ grudging, belated and weak abuse policy was delayed and further weakened allowing predators to remain in ministry and giving no consequences to those that enabled and shielded them,
– repeated warnings and reports about child sex crimes and misdeeds by the Legion of Christ founder Father Marcel Maciel were repeatedly ignored and concealed, keeping children needlessly at risk, and
– Boston's disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law was allowed to resign (instead of being punished) and move to Rome where he wielded even more power in the church hierarchy.
NOTE – TWO OTHER UPCOMING SNAP EVENTS IN EUROPE
1) Friday, April 25, from 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 pm, some these same victims will hold a brief, candlelight vigil in Rome in honor and remembrance of the boys, girls and vulnerable adults who were victimized by clergy sexual violence on JPII's watch. It will be on the rooftop of the Hotel Orange with the dome of St. Peter's in the background.
2) A few SNAP members from several nations will be in Geneva from April 30 through May 7 for a hearing on May 5 and 6 before the United Nations Committee Against Torture, which will consider whether Vatican officials are violating or complying with an international treaty regarding torture.
For details about the two Rome events, please contact:
– SNAP staff: Barbara Blaine (in Rome), European cell +39 366 1160224, U.S. cell +1 312 399 4747, Rome hotel- +39 06 598591; [email protected], Miguel Hurtado (in Rome) +44 7787 638245, Nicky Davis (in Rome) European cell +39 388 9068750, [email protected], 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]
For details about the Geneva event, please contact:
–SNAP staff: Barbara Blaine (in Europe), European cell +39 366 1160224, U.S. cell 312 399 4747, [email protected], Miguel Hurtado (in Rome) European cell +44 7787 638245, 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 at the SNAP office in Chicago at +1 312 455 1499, [email protected] or [email protected]
There are also dozens of local SNAP volunteer leaders on the SNAP website who are local spokespersons for the group: SNAPnetwork.org. Also please check the SNAP website for details, media statements, etc. THANKS!