Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


April 14, 2008

New poll show Catholics outrage over abuse & cover ups is highest ever

Parishioners' negative views about on-going crisis has shot up 25 points since 2004

Statement by Peter Isely of the SNAP National Board, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

A new ABC/Washington Post Poll released today shows that Catholics' disapproval of the church’s handling of the sex abuse issue is the highest level ever, and it has increased dramatically over the past four years, despite repeated pledges by bishops to do better (story which contains link to the full poll).

We are grateful that so many Catholics realize that little has changed in the church hierarchy's continued mismanagement and cover up of horrific child sex crimes. These findings are truly shocking, given that church officials have spent millions on public relations efforts designed to convince American Catholics that “everything has been fixed.”

Catholics aren't fools. They have seen - through news accounts, criminal prosecutions, civil lawsuits, grand jury investigations, and personal experience - that bishops say one thing in public and do something very different in private. Parishioners have not been swayed by smooth promises of reform by bishops when those same bishops' actions prove no real reform has happened.

Despite pledges to promptly suspend accused predators, bishops often don't do that. Despite promises to be 'transparent' about child sex cases, bishops often don't do that. Despite pledges to treat victims with compassion, bishops don't often do that.

And since bishops' actions don't match their words, Catholics' justifiable outrage over their continuing scandal keeps growing. Until there is widespread, real reform within the church, Catholics won't be mollified by smoke and mirrors and public relations.

No one, of course, can initiate real reform like the Pope himself. Instead of offering just prayers, apologies and promises this week, the pontiff finally should take strong, decisive, world-wide action to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 314.566.9790
Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312.399.4747
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259
Mark Serrano, SNAP Midatlantic Director, 703.727.4940

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests