Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


For Immediate Release:
July 5, 2007

Outrage at comments by Chicago Archdiocesan staffer

Statement by David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director 314-566-9790

Chicagoans should be outraged by the offensive comments today by Archdiocesan public relations staffer Colleen Dolan. Dolan should be ashamed of herself and should immediately and publicly apologize to Fr. McCormack’s victims and all clergy child molestation victims.

Her self-serving remarks are indicative of a pervasive archdiocesan insensitivity toward victims of childhood violence. Dolan’s remarks are reminiscent of George’s similarly insensitive comments in 2002 when he minimized the harm to teenaged female abuse victims, relative to younger male abuse victims.

Absolutely nothing positive comes from publicly minimizing the devastation cased by horrific, serial child sex crimes, especially when the victims are still young and when the hurtful, misguided remarks come from a church official. In fact, Dolan’s comments perpetuate old, painful myths about child sex abuse. Coming from a child predator’s defense lawyer, they would be bad enough. Coming from a Cardinal’s mouthpiece, however, they are absolutely inexcusable.

If church officials are so cold-hearted and hurtful in public, imagine what harmful things they say and do behind closed doors.

The violation of children’s boundaries and bodies are at the heart of child sexual abuse. The specifics of the actual physical violation are less relevant. An adult penetrating a child is terrible and damaging, whether with an object or a body part. And adult fondling a girl is severe and harmful, whether under her clothing or over her clothing. An adult kissing a boy on the lips is wrong and hurtful, whether it’s ‘normal’ kissing or French kissing.

When there’s a chance to educate, church officials often obfuscate. When there’s a chance for healing, church officials often cause more wounds.

Since Cardinal George only disciplines child predators when forced to do so, and virtually never disciplines any other wrongdoers (however egregious or inexcusable or hurtful their actions are), we doubt that he will discipline Dolan. But she should have the decency to apologize immediately and strongly for remarks that can only cause more harm where so much harm has already been done.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests