SNAP of Tennessee Responds to Appointment of New Memphis Bishop
David Talley of Alexandria, Louisiana, to be appointed new bishop of Memphis, TN
Advocates and victims of clergy sexual abuse question his transparency on CSA
"Continued cover-up" expected from the Metropolitan See of Louisville, KY and from the Memphis diocese?
Perhaps Bishop Talley will be the transparent one in the equation of Tennessee
For Immediate Release 03/05/2019
Reports are that Bishop David Talley of Alexandria, Louisiana, will be annouced today to be the new bishop of Memphis, Tennessee. What can Memphians expect from Bishop Talley? SNAP of Tennessee (Survivors Network of those Abuse by Priests) has the following observations.
In the wake of the revelation that the first bishop of Memphis, Carroll T. Dozier, was a pedophile listed on the "credibly accused" list of pedophile priests recently released in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, SNAP of Tennessee certainly hopes there will be a better track record than has been seen in the past in Memphis."
Do the prospects of this happening look promising given Talley's recent stand on release of names in his own diocese in Louisiana? We're not sure.
We’re encouraged that Bishop David P. Talley has worked as a caseworker for abused and neglected children.
At the same time, knowledge doesn’t guarantee courage. And a lack of courage has prevented, and still prevents, many Catholic officials from acting responsibly in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. So while we are mildly optimistic about Talley’s new role, we are also cautious. Thousands of Catholic staffers understand child sexual abuse. Only a handful of them, unfortunately, have been brave enough to buck an unhealthy, self-protective and secretive clerical culture and put the safety of kids ahead of their personal comfort and careers.
For the protection of youngsters, Talley should immediately post on church websites the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. Then, he should thoroughly pore over all personnel files and add names and information to that list, like photos, whereabouts and full work histories.
It’s irresponsible to hide even one more predator’s identity even one more day. It puts kids in harm’s way. And it only adds to the already deep and still fresh wounds of survivors. There’s no excuse for Memphis church officials to NOT post the names of the predators they know about today.
The Alexandria LA diocese, where Talley last worked, recently did this. The list did not, however, include full work histories of the accused, an omission that only helps wrongdoers. It also
Regardless, every single current and former Catholic church employee and member who has seen, suspected or suffered clergy sexual misconduct should play it safe and report to secular, not church officials.
Yesterday the Vatican announced it would soon be opening its Secret Archives regarding the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, long thought by many not to have done enough to help the Jewish people facing atrocities of the Holocaust during World War II. Pope Francis had this to say:
“The church is not afraid of history, on the contrary, she loves it & would like to love it more and better, just as she loves God."
One would think the newly announced Bishop of the Diocese Memphis, Bishop David Talley of Alexandria, Louisiana, shares the Holy Father’s view of history, at least when it comes to the sexual abuse of minors by the Catholic Church’s clergy:
"This evil can only be purged through a vigilant process that is transparent to the public. Our response must demonstrate the highest levels of honesty and scrutiny."
Turns out, though, that Bishop Talley is far more about saying the right thing than doing the right thing:
“Communities are not to be re-traumatized about a sad portion of their history, placing an unwanted spotlight on the community of faith today in 2019," said Joan Ferguson, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Alexandria, when asked Thursday about the exclusion of parish assignments. She also said the Diocese excluded the work histories because they did not want to "re-victimize any victims."
And Ferguson said that past abuse allegations at Alexandria churches "affected the spirit of the community negatively."
"As a victim of clergy sexual abuse, I am hoping for better than what we have heard so far from Bishop Talley," says David Brown, SNAP leader in the Memphis area. "I know what victims of clergy sexual abuse want and it is not continued cover-up of facts. We want total transparency about what has gone on and so do the people in the pews."
Noting the failure to attach assignment records to the outed priest pedophiles in Louisiana, Susan Vance of SNAP of Tennesse notes: "It sounds like Bishop David Talley has had experience with hiding details. SNAP of Tennessee will be more than happy to help with research and keep the people of the diocese of Memphis informed of where the pedophiles have been assigned, Name them, Bishop, and we will begin our research."
Summing up: Talk is cheap, Bishop Talley, and actions speak louder than words.
Susan Vance 865-748-3518 [email protected]
David Brown 901-569-4500 [email protected]