The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, July 15, 2010
US-based clergy victims group backs Austrian call for Vatican records
Statement by Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, [email protected])
We wholeheartedly endorse the call by Austrian victims to have the Vatican open its secret files about sexual abuses. It's folly to act as though real reform is possible without revealing the clergy sex crimes and cover ups that have happened in the past and are happening right now.
Before prescribing a potential cure, a doctor must first thoroughly examine a patient and understand precisely what, and how bad, the ailment is. That's what must happen with Vatican records on abuse - there must be full disclosure and independent evaluation if there is even a chance for effective change.
Such disclosure could happen in two ways. First - if Catholics and citizens across the world insist on it and pressure recalcitrant, secretive Vatican officials to "come clean," act responsibly, and tell the truth. Second - if more law enforcement officials show courage, like those in Belgium did recently, and use their investigative powers to compel church disclosure.
One thing is certain: if victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, Catholics and secular authorities are complacent, little truth will emerge and many children will be hurt. But if victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, Catholics and secular authorities stay strong, speak up, and push for real change, it will happen.
We applaud our colleagues in Austria who are pushing for this long-overdue disclosure.
(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. 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, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected])
Vatican urged to open abuse archives
The Vatican must open up its archives on sexual abuse by priests, an Austrian victim support group said on Thursday, saying the Church's new rules on handling abuse cases were insufficient.
"Ecclesiastical justice is of no interest to us. The Vatican is still not ready to open up its archives and hand over to the civil authorities the records concerning abuse," a spokeman for a group called Victims of Church Violence, Franz-Jakob said.
In a bid to fend off charges of high level complacency towards sex abuse, the Roman Catholic Church moved on Thursday to accelerate internal investigations and extended by a decade the statute of limitations in abuse cases.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests