SNAP Responds to the Defrocking of Fr. Fernando Karadima by Pope Francis
For immediate release, September 28, 2018
Statement by Zach Hiner, Executive Director, zhiner@SNAPnetwork.org, (517) 974-9009
Today, Pope Francis took the long overdue step of formally laicizing Fr. Fernando Karadima and removing him from his ecclesiastical status. While we hope that this measure provides some small support the survivors of Fr. Karadima, we also recognize that this move comes about seven years after Fr. Karadima was found guilty, in a Vatican tribunal, of abusing dozens of children.
If Pope Francis truly wants to do what is best for survivors of sexual abuse, he cannot continue to self-investigate allegations of abuse and then wait for years, and in some cases decades, to take action against priests who have been credibly accused. This is compounded by the fact that Pope Francis himself has admitted errors into his own investigation into the Chilean church. We can only assume that similar errors have been made in dioceses around the world.
We believe that all allegations of sexual abuse, whether they occurred today or twenty years ago, should immediately be turned over to law enforcement for investigation, and the church should step aside and allow independent investigators to determine the full extent of the crimes and subsequent cover-ups.
Today’s announcement is the smallest of steps. We are looking forward to seeing much more impactful ones in the near future and believe such an impact can only be made with the help of independent, outside authorities.
(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)