Vatican - Pope is “Person of the Year” - Victims respond

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747[email protected])

The pope has made many feel hopeful, with his personal humility, down-to-earth gestures, and obvious deep compassion for the poor. He has not, however, made a single child safer. He hasn't exposed one predator priest or disciplined one corrupt bishop.

After nine months of essentially ignoring the church's most severe crisis, he hastily announced last week that he'll appoint an abuse study panel. That's it. Meanwhile, kids are being raped, predators are being helped, police are being ignored, prosecutors are being stonewalled and secrets are being hidden.

Unlike many religious figures, the Pope has enormous power. With great power comes great responsibility, the responsibility to do more than just pick a panel to study a crisis that has been percolating for centuries and that hurts children every single day.

Pope Francis presides over the world's only global monarchy. And it's a wealthy, rigid, hierarchical one with a long and sordid history of enabling and hiding child sex crimes. That hierarchy is still enabling horrific child sex crimes, by their actions (refusing to give information to the United Nations) and inaction (not revealing the names of known child molesting clerics, not punishing those who conceal their crimes, not lobbying for better child safety laws).

Thus far, Pope Francis has taken no effective steps to change any of this. (He has even ignored Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn, who remains in power despite having been criminally convicted of refusing to give evidence of heinous child sex crimes to law enforcement.) In fact, he has promoted several bishops who have terrible track records on children’s safety.

TIME is correct when it says that Pope Francis "has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church."

But a winning personality doesn’t stop child sex crimes or cover ups. A brave and stern disciplinarian does. That’s not who the pontiff has been or likely will be.

It’s taken a long time for many to finally understand that an adult can be charming, charismatic and professionally outstanding yet still be a child molester. Our refusal to accept this reality has led to more kids being hurt.

Let’s hope many more quickly understand that an adult can be charming, charismatic and professionally outstanding yet still cover up for and enable child molesters.

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]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434[email protected]), Judy Jones 636-433-2511[email protected])

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  • Kenny Landes
    commented 2013-12-11 11:23:58 -0600
    Thank you. While I remain hopeful about Francis, I remain unimpressed by his failure to act on one of the most pressing issues of our time, which he is uniquely positioned to change. Especially now in this season, it is painful to look on the image of the infant Christ and think how little the church he created has done to protect the children in its care.

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