Vatican- It's wrong for pope to ask forgiveness, SNAP says
For immediate release: Friday, April 11, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
Pope Francis says he felt “called to take upon himself” the subject of clergy sex crimes and cover ups. He should. He is the world's only global monarch and he continues to let this decades-old crisis fester and build by refusing to take even a single step that protects a single child or exposes a single wrongdoer.
Reuters says he is “using some of his strongest words yet” and Religion News Service says “in his strongest personal remarks yet. . .”
But if a husband keeps beating his wife, the tone, tenor or length of his words are irrelevant.
Words – whether few or many, vague or clear, weak or strong – do absolutely nothing for the boy who is being sodomized today or the girl who is being raped today. They do nothing to divulge even one carefully-hidden church record about a complicit bishop. They do nothing to help fix archaic, predator-friendly secular laws. They do nothing of substance, especially now, especially in this context: a scandal-ridden, secretive, self-serving church hierarchy that wants to pretend real change is happening.
Nice words are especially meaningless and disingenuous when uttered by a powerful man who could instead make practical reforms.
We agree with Pope Francis that Catholic officials understand, to some extent, the damage that has been done. Sadly, that understanding has lead to little real change.
And the damage is still being done. It's disingenuous to pretend, by using the past tense, that kids are not being sexually violated and predators are not being transferred and cover ups are not being perpetuated right now.
The Pope also asked for forgiveness today. We believe it is dreadfully duplicitous for the Pope to ask forgiveness from hundreds of thousands of suffering victims and millions of betrayed Catholics while doing virtually nothing to spare hundreds of at-risk kids from heinous sexual violence right now.
Forgiveness is a private individual choice. The pope however is a public figure. He has the ability to take bold steps that will reduce the need for forgiveness by safeguarding innocent kids and vulnerable adults from predator priests and complicit bishops. That’s what he must do. That’s what he refuses to do.
It is irresponsible to talk 'forgiveness' while the deranged gunman is still shooting or while the drunk driver is still hitting pedestrians. Let's discuss forgiveness when innocent kids are no longer being assaulted, when wounded adults are no longer being deceived, when shrewd predators are no longer in parishes and when callous bishops are no longer being promoted and when secular laws are reformed. Until then, talk of forgiveness is at best, premature, and at worst, a self-serving distraction from the real work to be done: stopping kids from being severely hurt.
Finally, we do not criticize the pope for refusing to meet with victims. Such a meeting, like papal comments, would do nothing, in any practical way, to help anyone, except the Pope himself. It would make some temporarily feel good. It would not signify or lead to reform. (Francis admits understanding the “damage.”) It would likely lead to more complacency, not more vigilance and change.
(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 15,000 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 Dorris (314-503-0003, [email protected])
Showing 15 comments
Yes, I know what it is like for young people who have been sexually abused. I help facilitate their treatment. I get their pain. I advocate on their behalf, but I don’t tell half-truths like SNAP.
David Clohessy and Barbara Blaine why don’t you come clean about your own failures to protect children?
What I would add to your comment about what is wanted not being revenge, but rather JUSTICE, is that personally, I also seek an END and the FUTURE PREVENTION of these heinous crimes and this scourge, being of and in the catholic church.
Turn all church records that have anything to do with abuse over to local authorities and cooperate in all ongoing and past abuse cases. Don’t you get it? We are talking about mentally and sexually abusing CHILDREN! Can’t you understand what a heinous crime that is? Where is your human compassion? Where is your morality? To equate all this with the abused just wanting revenge does make you a vile human being. Trust me, there is no revenge for ANY of the abused that will change the past. What I and many of the abused are asking for is simple JUSTICE and if you really cannot understand that, than I feel very sorry for you and I thank God that after everything is said and done, I still have the ability to feel compassion and that I still have some shred of humanity left in me………..
From: Gittlen, Grant [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 7:48 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Concerned about referring information to DA Zappala.
Again, thank you for your email to Mayor Peduto. We have sent everything you have passed to us to the Allegheny County District Attorney. If you do not believe this is the appropriate outlet than please feel free to direct your information towards other levels of law enforcement.
On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 4:11 AM, <[email protected]> wrote:
I’m very concerned about referring the matter to DA Stephen Zappala. With all the investigations going on in Allegheny County and the fact that DA Zappala has been aware of this case for years, I think the Pittsburgh Branch of the FBI may be better suited to sort things out. Attached is a letter from former Senator Jane Orie advising him DA Zappala to review the alleged criminal information that I had. Nothing was done.
Also, DA Zappala sits on the review board for the US Bishops Conference that reviews clergy sex abuse crimes, truly a conflict of interest. Another conflict of interest is former PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr. sits on the Pittsburgh Diocesan review board that makes determinations on the credibility of clergy sex abuse cases. Another obvious conflict of interest.
I think the alleged charges that I presented to the Mayor’s office are at least as serious as the $200,000 in missing items from various locations in the city/county building that the mayor turned over the Pittsburgh Branch of the FBI. I think my allegations should also be turned over to the FBI.
Again, I want to thank you for you time and everyone involved in this matter. Please respond that you did receive this message and were able to open the attachment.