The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, February 22, 2010
German Catholic bishop apologizes for church scandal; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)
Words protect no one. Only action protects kids. That’s what children need and parents deserve – not platitudes about alleged remorse and promised reforms.
It’s time for Catholic officials to stop pointing fingers at predators and start looking in the mirror. The real scandal isn’t predator priests. It’s complicit bishops.
There always have been and always will be child molesting coaches, teacher, and clerics. But in healthy institutions with ‘checks and balances’ and responsible leaders, they are ousted quickly. In the rigid, ancient, secretive, all-male church monarchy, however, they are protected and moved year after year. When the truth finally surfaces, Catholic officials profess shock and refuse to admit their own sizeable role in the devastating crimes. That’s the real crisis here – that even now, in 2010, after decades of stunning and hurtful scandal, Catholic bishops can’t bring themselves to admit they are the root cause of these crimes.
Child sex crimes and cover ups are a criminal matter, not a church matter. We urge German secular authorities to show courage and pursue investigations, and not let Catholic officials try to handle this “in house.”
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the America’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country and world. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Top Catholic bishop apologises for child abuse scandal
Published: 22 Feb 10 16:55 CET
Robert Zollitsch, the head of the German Bishop’s Conference (DBK), made a formal apology on Monday to the victims of widespread child abuse at Catholic schools and said there would be consequences.
“The abuse is of particular weight when it comes to the Church, because children and youth give a special trust to the priests,” Archbishop Zollitsch said ahead of the DBK’s conference in Freiburg, calling the crimes “heinous.”
The abuse scandal that was uncovered at Berlin’s prestigious Canisius school last month continues to grow, with around 50 former students claiming they were sexually abused in the 1970s and 1980s. But lawyers for victims have said more than 115 people across the country have since come forward with allegations of abuse by up to 12 different priests and teachers at other Catholic institutions too.
During the conference the bishops will discuss their “guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse of children by clergy” and “discuss possible changes,” Zollitsch said.
Church leaders will also discuss preventative measures, he said.
“Our future priests must possess the necessary maturity and suitability - also regarding sexual matters - for their posts,” Zollitsch said. “Furthermore we want to discuss how we can in this difficult situation restore the reputation of Catholic schools.”
Last week Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa faced heavy criticism for claiming the sexual revolution was partially to blame for the widespread abuse of children at German Catholic schools.
The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Mixa’s remarks had caused a rift within his diocese, with one church official saying they were “depressingly imprudent” and the situation was “increasingly embarrassing” having to explain the bishop’s latest “blunder.”
DDP/The Local ([email protected])
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests