SNAP Responds to Bishop Zubik's Pastoral Letter
Pittsburgh's top Catholic official has penned a letter laying out a five point plan to end the clergy abuse crisis, demonstrate transparency to the community, and support survivors.
We are grateful every time that church officials take steps towards transparency. Transparency helps keeps children safe, ensures communities are informed, and helps survivors. Bishop David Zubik's steps toward these goals as laid out in his letter today are welcome.
Yet others miss the mark by a wide margin. While holding listening sessions and retreats for survivors are interesting ideas, they are not examples of the kind of actions that are being demanded of church officials. And when made by someone like Bishop Zubik, who has mishandled cases of clergy sex abuse in both Green Bay and Pittsburgh, these gestures feel empty and late.
Instead of new church structures and offices to oversee future allegations of abuse, Bishop Zubik should instead ensure that those allegations are routed to law enforcement for investigation. Institutions cannot police themselves, no matter how recently created the office or lofty the title. We hope that the proposed Office of Investigation and Monitoring spends more time on the latter, and leaves the former to the police and prosecutors.
Finally, we hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered sexual violence in Pittsburgh will find the courage to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and find independent support from secular therapists, family and friends, or support groups like ours.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
(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)