Spain--Praying not enough: Bishop should take action to protect the vulnerable
For immediate release Saturday, November 29
Statement by Miguel Hurtado of the U.K/Spain, SNAP leader (+44 7787 638245, [email protected])
Praying not enough: Bishop should take action to protect the vulnerable
Bishop should seek out other victims and suspend those involved
Symbolic actions hold meaning but do not protect children. Action will protect children. Grenada’s Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez should encourage anyone who has experienced, witnessed or suspected wrong-doing to speak up and report it to police, not church officials.
Martinez should go to every church where the accused have worked and encourage his employees and parishioners to report any information they have to police. He should compassionately tell anyone who may have been harmed that it is not their fault and that healing is possible. He should encourage parents and family members to discuss the allegations in their homes so children will learn that it is ok to tell.
The Archbishop should suspend any priest, bishop, seminarian, deacon or employee who has either been credibly accused or known about sex crimes by Catholic priests or officials. He should turn them over to police and ensure that all documents and evidence immediately be turned over to police.
Martinez should tell parishioners and the public if he removes or transfers an accused priest or employee.
Martinez should insist that every stone be turned over to find every victim. He should create a climate of openness and one where everyone is encouraged to speak out. He should not wait for police to uncover the truth but rather should be using his vast resources to assist police in getting those involved jailed as soon as possible. Martinez should use diocesan and parish websites to encourage everyone to report information to police. Martinez needs to show that his administration will not tolerate sexual violence by anyone.
The two victims who have spoken up should be rewarded. They are heroes for taking the courage to report the crimes they have endured. The evil of sexual violence festers in secrecy and silence. Other children remain at risk while the climate of secrecy remains. When the sexual violence is exposed victims begin to heal.
Now more than ever anyone with information should report it to police, not church officials. Martinez should be clear that it is both their civic and Christian duty to report information to police. This is the type of leadership that makes a difference. This is what Martinez should do immediately.
(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 25 years and have more than 20,000 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 +1 314-566-9790, [email protected], Barbara Dorris +1 314-503-0003, [email protected], Barbara Blaine +1 312-399-4747, [email protected]; Miguel Hurtado of the U.K/Spain, SNAP leader (+44 7787 638245, [email protected])