Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement


April 16, 2008

The pope continues to stand behind his men - the bishops who conceal clergy sex crimes.

Statements from a Chicago-based support group, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Statement by: Barbara Dorris of St. Louis (314 503 0003), SNAP outreach director

'Somewhat mishandled' is inaccurate, because this is a current crisis, not a past one. The phrase obscures the unassailable fact that hundreds of bishops willfully and repeatedly deceive parishioners, stonewall police, and leave children at risk.

It's less helpful for a brilliant theologian to speculate on deviant psychology. It's more helpful for a global leader to act like a leader.

The pope can focus on the inexplicable and uncontrollable: child sex crimes by predators. Or he can focus on the practical and manageable: deterring recklessness, deceit and secrecy by bishops.

Five years ago, US bishops paltry, begrudgingly adopted some minimal promises on paper. There's no evidence to suggest they've had any real impact and it's terribly naïve to assume that's the case. Child sex crimes and cover-ups have plagued the church for decades, and the church is an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male hierarchy that moves at a glacial pace. No one who truly understands institutional behavior could believe that centuries-old patterns can be undone in a few short years.

Outside factors may lead to pedophilia. Corruption does lead to cover ups. The pope can do little about tv and the internet across the globe. He can, however, do plenty about deception and callousness by those on his payroll.

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA (949 322 7434), SNAP southwest regional director

The pope continues to stand behind his men - the bishops who conceal clergy sex crimes. He stands on American soil and says that he cares about children raped by priests while Cardinal Bernard Law is still on the payroll in Rome. Clearly, the church cannot police itself.

What the pope should be doing is laying down the law with his bishops. He should holding them them accountable for concealing clergy sex crimes. He should be assuring Catholics worldwide that any bishop who shields a predator will lose his job and the priests will be swiftly defrocked.

He should be going out of his way to thank survivors for speaking up. He should be telling them that without their courage the church would be a more dangerous place. He should not just apologize for the crimes of priests and failures of bishops, but for his own ineptitude on this issue. And then he should take more aggressive action that demonstrates - really demonstrates - that this time he means business. Because the scandals are ongoing --- not behind us as the pope and bishops would have you believe.

The pope continues to treat child abuse as a public relations problem. And he continues to portray church officials and rapist priests as victims of the media. Child abuse is a crime. Survivors of abuse want children to be safe.

Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 399 4747
Peter Isely, SNAP Emeritus Board Member, 414 429 7259
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 314 566 9790
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314 503 0003

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests