Diocese of Santa Fe Continues to Minimize Abuse as They Sell Off Assets in Bankruptcy Proceedings
As they gear up to sell off assets in order to settle debts in an impending bankruptcy, Catholic officials in Santa Fe continue to minimize and sanitize the clergy abuse that has caused their current situation. We believe that Church leaders at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe must stop equating sexual abuse with "sin” and recognize the reality: it is a serious crime, and the impact on the victim is akin to the murder of the soul.
The recent article about the decision of the Archdicoese of Santa Fe to sell off assets is largely focused on parishioners who "have to pay” for the "sins" of clergy abuse. It is difficult to miss that very little empathy is expressed for the people who were victimized as children. It is galling to read comments like those from Fr. Clement Niggel who asks that people pray for all who “are feeling harmed because they are having to pay,” including the parishioners who are feeling the loss of having to see non-essential property sold.
Comments like this are so tone-deaf and only serve to belittle the pain, suffering, and trauma experienced by children who were raped and abused by adults who were supposed to care for them and love them. We are sorry that Fr. Niggel and his parishioners are sad because some property is being sold. We would ask them to empathize for one second with the children who were abused on those properties.
Instead of lamenting lost property, Catholic officials in Santa Fe should remind their priests and parishioners to keep their focus on the crimes of clergy abuse that caused this current situation and urge them to do everything they can to prevent future cases of abuse. We hope these court order proceedings - the sale of land as well as the listing of abusers and their enablers, leads to a greater understanding for how the Catholic bishops playbook wound up in federal bankruptcy court - and we hope this new understanding results in greater safety for today's Catholic children.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)