The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
to Portland Archbishop Vlazny
August 5, 2004
Dear Archbishop Vlazny:
As survivors of sexual abuse by priests we know all too well the devastating impact that abuse has on innocent children.
We are aware that have you have repeatedly talked of reaching out to victims of sexual abuse by priests. We are gratified by such comments and ask you to take decisive action today to do just that.
We are gravely concerned about the negative impact your bankruptcy claim may have on survivors. We fear that some will remain suffering in silence, secrecy and shame because of negative publicity surrounding the bankruptcy filing. Victims are being portrayed as enemies of the church. Further, most survivors already feel guilty for the abuse happening but now may also feel guilty for contributing to the bankruptcy of the archdiocese. It is unfair and unnecessary for victims to take on any blame for the repercussions of victims trying to expose the truth of sexual abuse in the church.
In light of this, we ask that you take decisive action to help us to reach out to victims. We ask you to publish our plea and flyer on your archdiocesan website and in your archdiocesan newspaper. We also ask that you have pastors include the flyer in the parish bulletins. These three simple steps, using available resources, could help victims heal and help laity understand and embrace victims.
Please help Catholics in the pews to appreciate the gift that victims bring to the church. Without brave victims speaking out, hundreds of priest perpetrators would still be in ministry and more children would have been harmed. Please make it easier for this progress to continue.
Also, now more than ever, please emphatically and publicly urge anyone who witnessed, suspects or experienced abuse to report the crimes to police. Your pleas could potentially bring forward additional victims who need and deserve healing and justice.
Thanks for your consideration.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests