Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, July 15, 2010

New bishop vows patience; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314 862 7688

SNAP comments on new Indiana bishop

When a new bishop is installed, many Catholics, including child sex abuse victims, assume he’ll automatically be more compassionate and pro-active than his predecessor. In our experience, that’s not always the case.

We strongly urge Indiana citizens and Catholics to continue to be vigilant about children’s safety, and report suspicions or knowledge of abuse to secular authorities, not church authorities, no matter who the bishop happens to be.

Bishop Higi’s track record on this horrific, on-going crisis has been terrible. Let’s keep an open mind about Bishop Doherty. He may be better. He may be worse. Only time will tell. And only vigilance, not complacency, will safeguard children.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’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 globe. 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

Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312 399 4747), Mark Serrano (703 727 4940), Peter Isely (414 429 7259), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003)

July 14, 2010

New bishop vows patience - By Bob Scott - Lafayette Journal and Courier

LAFAYETE, Ind. -- Bishop-designate Timothy L. Doherty will be ordained and installed Thursday as sixth bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

Doherty, 59, will replace retired Bishop William L. Higi, who served almost 26 years as the Catholic diocese leader.

"It is a transition," Doherty said of the change in leadership. "It will require patience. I will be patient.

"I still remain humbled by the call to serve God and the diocese."

The diocese, established in 1944, takes in 24 counties, including the rapidly growing counties immediately north of Indianapolis. An estimated 105,000 Catholics live in the diocese.

"We're very excited about the new bishop," said Steve Craver, a lay leader at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Hamilton County. "We have such high hopes for him."

Higi provided strong leadership as the church has had to face the priest sex scandals that have touched so many Catholics, Craver said. He hopes Doherty continues offering spiritual care and guidance to the victims.

Most of all, Craver said, he wants Doherty to lead the church by setting a strong example for all Catholics.

"I would like for him to continue his deep, prayerful life that we know he has, centering his life around the Eucharist," Craver said.

The 2 1/2-hour installation ceremony will attract a capacity crowd of about 700 people to St. Mary Cathedral in Lafayette.

At least 18 bishops will attend the installation, along with two cardinals and two papal nuncios, or ambassadors. Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein of the Indianapolis Archdiocese will preside at the installation.

During part of the ritualistic installation, Doherty will lie facedown on the floor as a gesture of humility and submission as prayers are said by the archbishop and other bishops near the altar. The investiture will include a ring, a miter and a crosier -- all ancient symbols of a bishop's authority.

As the installation Mass ends, the new bishop will give a special blessing to all those who are watching.

Catholic scholar Jim Davidson, West Lafayette, a professor emeritus at Purdue University, said the pope made a good move in appointing Doherty as bishop.

"I think Doherty will come in with his eyes wide open and see things that many of us don't see," he said. "Bishop Higi left the diocese in good shape, better than many dioceses around the country."

Davidson said Doherty's background fits the diocesan needs.

"The Vatican seems to have chosen a person who has good experience in pastoral ministry, a good educational background and (who) does not appear to be somebody who is an ideologue to the left or the right," he said.

"The pope (Benedict XVI) has made a moderate choice, a good choice."

Davidson said Doherty will face the same challenges as other bishops nationwide, including improving the bond between the bishop and diocesan priests, along with keeping younger Catholics involved with their faith.

"The priests must be able to relate to the bishop. Their collegiality to work among themselves is important," he said.

"What will the bishop do with the younger adults? They are less attached to the church than previous generations. They are geared more toward spirituality than organized religion."

President F. Dennis Riegelnegg of St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer said he appreciates Doherty's background in Catholic education. St. Joseph's is a Catholic college.

"He is aware of the issues we face," he said. "Bishop Doherty seems very enlightened and well-informed."

Craver also said he was pleased that Doherty has a strong background in education. Craver, 52, said both of his sons attended Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville, which opened in 2004.

"I'm very excited for Guerin Catholic," Craver said. "It's a wonderful school. The population is exploding at the school."

Additional Facts

Bishop-elect Timothy L. Doherty will join 424 other bishops in America. There are 258 active bishops, including 28 archbishops and 166 retired bishops.

» The youngest U.S. bishop, Bishop Oscar Cantú, is 43. He is the Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio.

» The oldest is Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety, 97, he Archbishop Emeritus of Newark, N.J.

» Other bishops in Indiana and their dioceses are: Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger of Evansville; Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend; Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary; and Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein of the Indianapolis Archdiocese.

Sources: The Diocese of Lafayette-in- Indiana, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests