Rome- Victims upset about papal sainthood
For immediate release: Monday, March 17
Victims upset about papal sainthood
Several travel to Rome soon to hold vigil
Group: Honoring John Paul II "rubs salt into deep wounds"
"It also will likely encourage more church cover ups," they say
SNAP "Church must denounce, not praise, those who hurt kids”
An international support group for clergy sex abuse victims plans to hold a vigil on the eve of the canonization of Pope John Paul II.
"He did many things well but for decades, he turned a blind eye to clergy sex crimes and cover ups," said Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "For leaving kids in harms' way, he should not receive further honors and praise because rewarding wrongdoers encourages wrongdoing.”
Few dispute that Pope John Paul II “did almost nothing to help stop priests from raping children and stop bishops from hiding these crimes," Blaine said.
SNAP believes that the pontiff “must have known” about the multiple sexual abuse allegations against Legionaries of Christ founder Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado. Instead of disciplining or defrocking Fr. Maciel, the pope held a highly publicized special ceremony celebrating the anniversary of Maciel's ordination..
“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 victims, keep putting children in danger. There will be no negative consequences for you 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 Nicky Davis, Australian SNAP Leader. “It also rubs salt into already deep wounds of victims and betrayed Catholics.”
“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,” said Blaine. “We hope our brief and small presence in Rome will remind victims that they aren't alone and that some one understands their pain.”
(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 (+1 314 566 9790, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (+1 312 399 4747, [email protected], Barbara Dorris (+1 314 503 0003, [email protected]), Peter Isely (+1 414 429 7259, [email protected])