Scotland--Victims blast archbishop’s apology

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 18

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566

Scotland’s top Catholic bishop has issued a weak, vague and self-serving apology to hundreds of victims of clerics who committed and concealed heinous child sex crimes. No one should be reassured or mollified by his hollow words.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia refuses to even admit, much less address, his complicity and the complicity of his colleagues, in this on-going crisis. 

He conveniently talks only of the predators and the past. But such talk is cheap and meaningless. It’s designed to help the hierarchy “turn the page” and give the impression of change instead of bringing actual change. It’s designed to imply that abuse and cover up happened years ago but aren’t happening now. That’s incredibly disingenuous.

All across the globe, we see the same dreadful pattern. In nation after nation, deeply wounded but compassionate victims find the strength to speak up. News accounts provoke outrage among parishioners and the public. Realizing that they can no longer ignore the outcry, bishops appoint what they claim is an “independent” body to “study” the crisis. 

That body responds with tough language and recommended reforms. Bishops apologize and promise change. A few tiny, cosmetic measures are taken, but the nearly unlimited power of bishops is never reduced. Yet many are naively mollified and public interest begins to wane. And soon, it’s back to “business as usual” by the same bishops.

Here’s what needs to happen: clerics who ignore, minimize, hide and enable clergy sex crimes must be punished. It’s just that simple. That’s what will deter future crimes and cover ups. Not new or revised policies, protocols, procedures and panels that leave the extraordinary power of bishops fully intact.

(As best we can tell, not a single Catholic employee – from Cardinal to custodian – has been defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even denounced for staying silent or actively concealing the horrific exploitation by Cardinal Keith O’Brien. That must change.)

We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes in Scotland to find the courage to speak up. We beg them to call secular authorities, not church officials. And we hope they will persist until their voices are heard and real change results.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,


Catholic Archbishop Philip Tartaglia says sorry to Church abuse victims

Scotland's most senior Catholic Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia, has apologised to survivors of abuse within the church in Scotland following the publication of an independent review of its handling of allegations.

A commission led by the Very Rev Andrew McLellan called for the church to make an ''unmistakeable and unequivocal'' apology and said support for survivors of abuse must be its ''absolute priority''.

Archbishop Tartaglia, president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, issued   . . .

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