Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Friday, April 2, 2010

Sex abuse victims respond to Good Friday remarks

By: David Clohessy (314 566 9790), [email protected]
SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Executive Director

It's heart-breaking to see yet another smart, high-ranking Vatican official making such callous, remarks that insult both abuse victims and Jewish people.

It's morally wrong to equate actual physical violence and hatred against a large group of innocent people with mere public scrutiny of a small group of complicit officials.

Those who hatefully disparage Jewish people do so because of myths about their spiritual beliefs that harm no one. Those who thoughtfully question the Catholic hierarchy do so because of facts about their callous misdeeds which harm hundreds of thousands.

The Catholic hierarchy has engaged in and still engage in widely-documented, long-standing and on-going cover ups of devastating clergy sex crimes. That's why church records are being disclosed, predator priests are being exposed, and Catholic officials feel besieged.

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of clergy abuse.

Barbara Blaine, 312 399 4747, [email protected]
Barbara Dorris, 314 503 0003, [email protected]

Updated April 02, 2010

Pope's preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher on Friday likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.

The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday homily with the pope listening in St. Peter's Basilica that a Jewish friend wrote to him to say the accusations remind him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."

The 82-year-old pontiff looked weary as he sat near the central altar during the early evening prayer service a few before he was scheduled to take part in a candlelit Way of the Cross procession near the Colosseum which commemorates Christ's suffering before his crucifixion.

Thousands of Holy Week pilgrims were in St. Peter's Square as the church defends itself against accusations that Benedict had a role in covering up sex abuses cases.

The "coincidence" that Passover falls in the same week as Easter celebrations, said Cantalamessa, a Franciscan who offers reflections at Vatican Easter and Advent services, prompted him to think about Jews.

"They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms," the preacher said.

Quoting from the letter from the friend, who wasn't identified by Cantalamessa, the preacher said that he was following "'with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world.'"

"The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,'" Cantalamessa said his friend wrote him.

In the sermon, he referred to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying "unfortunately, not a few elements of the clergy are stained" by the violence." But Cantalamessa said he didn't want to dwell on the abuse of children, saying "there is sufficient talk outside of here."

Benedict didn't speak after the homily, but, in a tired-sounding voice, chanted prayers. He leaned up to remove a red cloth covering a tall crucifix, which was passed to him by an aide. He took off his shoes, knelt and prayed before the cross.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests