The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, January 14, 2011
Deceased Pope moving toward sainthood; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, [email protected])
Little can be done by Catholic officials to erase the pain of hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded men, women and children who have been sexually assaulted by clergy. But the church hierarchy CAN avoid rubbing more salt into these wounds by slowing down their hasty drive to confer sainthood on the pontiff under whose reign most of the widely-documented clergy sex crimes and cover ups took place.
We urge Vatican officials to move cautiously in their haste to honor Pope John Paul II.
There’s a reason we usually move slowly in honoring public figures. Often, some of their unsavory actions and inactions surface years later. That’s slowly happening with Pope John Paul II. The prudent course is to slow down this unwise and frantic rush.
When we honor those who ignore or conceal wrong-doing, we essentially condone wrong-doing.
(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 23 years and have more than 10,000 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, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747)
Evidence mounts over John Paul II beatification
(AP) – 7 hours ago
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Evidence is mounting that the pope will soon approve the miracle needed to beatify Pope John Paul II, setting the stage for a major celebration this year for a Catholic Church trying to recover from the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Italian news media have been reporting that in recent weeks Vatican-sponsored panels confirmed that a young French nun was miraculously cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to the Polish-born John Paul.
Pope Benedict XVI now must sign off on the miracle and set a date for the beatification, the first major step to possible sainthood.
Polish Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, former No. 2 of the Polish Bishops' Conference and an old friend of the late pope, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he understood an announcement could come Friday, though he stressed he didn't have independent confirmation.
He said the beatification date could be as early as May 1, though other reports have said it would be later in the year given the enormous preparations that will be necessary to host the influx of pilgrims for the event.
On Thursday, workers began restoring a mosaic in a chapel near the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica, where John Paul's remains presumably would be moved for better public access once beatified.
His tomb is currently in the grottoes underneath the basilica, where a short line of tourists waited Thursday to pay their respects.
The Vatican will not publicly discuss the possibility of such a move ahead of a formal announcement by Benedict, said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Benedict put John Paul on the fast track to possible sainthood just weeks after he died in 2005, responding to the chants of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood immediately!" that erupted during his funeral Mass.
Benedict waived the typical five-year waiting period before the process could begin, but he insisted that the investigation into John Paul's life be thorough so as to not leave any doubts about his virtues.
The last remaining hurdle concerned the approval by Vatican-appointed panels of doctors and theologians, cardinals and bishops that the cure of French nun, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, was a miracle due to the intercession of John Paul.
The nun has said she felt reborn when she woke up two months after John Paul died, cured of the disease that had made walking, writing and driving a car nearly impossible. She and her fellow sisters had prayed to John Paul, who also suffered from Parkinson's.
Last year, there were some questions about whether the nun's original diagnosis was correct. But those doubts were apparently put to rest after more doctors examined her case.
Il Giornale, a conservative newspaper which covers the Vatican closely, reported earlier this week that the nun's case had cleared the panels and that all that remained was Benedict's approval.
"The pope still needs to pronounce himself but it has not happened before that he would not accept such an opinion (confirming a miracle)," Pieronek told the AP.
A second miracle, occurring after beatification, must be confirmed for John Paul to be declared a saint.
Since John Paul was such a universally beloved figure, his beatification is expected to be a major boost for a church reeling from the fallout of the clerical sexual abuse scandal, which saw thousands of new cases in Europe and beyond come to light last year.
John Paul, though, did not escape scrutiny, since many of the cases concerned crimes or coverups that occurred under his watch.
Vatican officials have said there was nothing in John Paul's record that called into question his path to beatification.
Cardinal Jose Saraiva-Martins, the former head of the Vatican's saint-making office, said the beatification would be a "moment of joy" for the church which has been grieved not only by the abuse scandal but the persecution of Christians around the world.
"Something so joyful is certainly very important for the church," he told the AP.
Associated Press writer Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests