The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, May 16, 2011
What the Vatican COULD have done today; SNAP responds
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, [email protected])
There’s a chance some good can come of these guidelines, but not soon enough to really safeguard kids being assaulted now by clerics and not soon enough to really help adults still suffering because they were assaulted by clerics.
If, years from now, every diocese on the planet is effectively training kids to protect themselves, that will obviously be progress (and we’ll be pleasantly surprised). But that does little or nothing to protect kids right now from priests, nuns, bishops and seminarians who are molesting them today.
Had the Vatican told bishops today "We’ll demote you unless you turn over to the police, right now, all files about any proven, admitted or credibly accused child molester," hundreds of pedophile priests might be behind bars in weeks.
Had the Vatican told bishops today "We’ll harshly punish you unless you post on your website, right now, the names of proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters”, thousands of pedophile priest might be exposed and hundreds of thousands of kids would be safer.
Had the Vatican told bishops today “We’ll discipline you unless you suspend, right now, every credibly accused child molesting cleric by the end of the week,” real change would be happening.
But instead of such action, we get more words from the Vatican.
In 2002, John Paul II said "There is no room in the priesthood for one who would hurt the young." Last year, Pope Benedict pledged to “do everything possible” to stop future abuse.
So the Vatican has said good things about abuse. But there is still extremely little reform.
In the wake of those crystal clear papal comments, as best we can tell, not a single bishop suspended a single priest for known or suspected child sex crimes, nor disciplined a single church employee for ignoring or concealing child sex crimes, citing the pontiff's words as their inspiration to act.
It’s obvious then that strong papal words bring virtually no change. Common sense tells us that strong papal penalties will, however, bring change. And while Benedict has taken harsh moves against theologians whose words break church teaching, he won’t take any moves against bishops whose actions have broken children’s lives, spirits, health and faith.
(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, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests