Vatican- Defrocking is more defense strategy than child protection
For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
This is a decades-late drop in bucket. Defrocking predator priests is less about safeguarding kids. It's more about church damage control.
Yesterday in Geneva, Catholic officials claimed to be essentially powerless over pedophile priests. Today, Catholic officials are saying how many they've defrocked.
Here's the number Catholics should remember: zero. That's how many Catholic supervisors have been punished, worldwide, for enabling and hiding horrific clergy sex crimes. The Pope must start defrocking clerics who cover up sex crimes, not just clerics who commit them. Until that happens, little will change.
So why the alleged increase in defrocked pedophile priests? It's likely because more victims across the globe are gaining the strength and courage to come forward and are reporting to (and pressuring) church officials because archaic, predator-friendly secular laws prevent most victims from seeking justice in court. And it's likely because more bishops are convincing Vatican officials that defrocking predators is a smart public relations and legal defense strategy. Cutting all ties with the most egregious serial sex offender clerics helps convince Catholics that progress is being made.
But it's irresponsible for Catholic officials to recruit, educate, ordain, train, transfer and protect predator priests, then defrock them when they're caught and the heat gets too intense. Catholic officials should help make sure child molesting clerics are criminally prosecuted. If that can't happen, then Catholic officials should house them in remote, secure treatment centers. And Catholic officials should lobby for, not against, reforming outdated, secular laws that enable many who commit and conceal child sex crimes to escape punishment.
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Judy Jones 636-433-2511, [email protected]) Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected])