Vatican--Prominent survivor leaves papal panel; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790[email protected])

We share Pete Saunders’ justifiable frustration with Vatican officials. They refuse to take quick, simple, common sense steps to protect kids and deter cover ups by punishing clerics who conceal abuse. Instead, they do what church officials have done for decades: shrewdly fixate on and discuss meaningless internal policies on paper that give the impression of progress while changing virtually nothing.

Contrary to considerable sloppy reporting, Francis has NOT sent us a church panel to judge bishops who enable or hide abuse. Last June, he said he would. But he has NOT done so. It’s inaccurate to claim otherwise. And it leads to more complacency about kids’ safety in a church where more vigilance is crucial.

Pete has been a brave, honest and tireless voice for kids and victims. We especially applaud him for speaking out about the Pope’s callous promotion and defense of the corrupt Chilean Bishop Juan Barros and for speaking up for courageous victims of Fr. Fernando Karadima (like Juan Carlos Cruz).

The Pope’s abuse panel will issue recommendations. The Pope will adopt them. And nothing will improve. Why? Because there will be no enforcement. Why? Because the church hierarchy is an entitled, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy. No new protocols or policies or procedures will radically undo a centuries-old self-serving structure that rewards clerics who keep a tight lid on child sex crimes and cover ups.

Here are 20 easy abuse prevention steps we proposed three years ago. As best we can tell, they’ve been ignored.

The clear answer to this crisis remains outside of the church hierarchy – with victims, witnesses and whistleblowers speaking up and with police, prosecutors and secular authorities stepping up.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747[email protected])

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