Vatican- Pope's abuse panel based on deception, SNAP says

For immediate release: Saturday, March 22, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell,

Eight people have been appointed to a papal abuse study panel. This panel is based on a deceptive premise. It perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information about abuse and cover ups. They don't. They need courage. They know what's right. They simply refuse to do what's right. The reason: because they are monarchs who can do whatever they like, and they like their power and the status quo more than anything else. 

Some wonder whether this panel will or won't discuss complicit bishops. That shouldn't matter. The Pope obviously can oust these “enablers” right now. But he hasn't and won't. 

He's had more than a year to defrock, demote, discipline or denounce even one of them. But, just like his predecessors, he refuses to take this simple but crucial step toward justice, healing and prevention. For ages, clerics who ignore or hid child sex crimes have suffered no consequences for their severe wrongdoing. They still don't. And when this new panel ceases to exist, they still won't. (We're reminded of Frederick Douglass' wisdom: “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will.”)

Right now, the Pope can extradite the accused child molesting Polish archbishop. But he refuses.

Right now, the Pope can oust the convicted Missouri bishop whose recent crimes directly lead to more little girls being sexually assaulted and exploited. But he refuses.

Right now, the Pope can defrock Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity who faces several credible child sex abuse allegations in the US but has been promoted and is now second-in-command of a diocese in Paraguay. 

We could go on and on. . .

Thousands of lay people, including dozens or hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims, sit on or have sat on church panels like this. But structures aren't changing, so prelates will still have all the power. 

And these panels, which go back years and years, have produced little if any real reform. 

Finally, Cardinal Sean O'Malley's handling of clergy sex cases is deeply flawed, despite his carefully crafted image and extraordinarily savvy public relations. has painstakingly documented his misdeeds here: 

We try very hard to stay hopeful. But it's the continuing courage of victims, police, journalists and other secular authorities – like prosecutors and others in law enforcement – that gives us hope, not another hand-picked church panel.

(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 

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,

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  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-03-24 13:10:52 -0500
    WE DEMAND THAT YOU, pope francis, STOP THIS SCOURGE IN THE Catholic church, NOW!!!
    Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2, FULL STOP!!!
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-03-24 12:43:05 -0500
    Thank you, for your well-written post, Mrs. Dorris. When I finished reading it, only one question remained for me that I can’t refrain from asking you, here, (even if, it may well be rhetorical). Here is my question to you, now:
    After all these years of trying to stop and prevent this scourge in the catholic church, without success, why do you even continue to “try very hard to stay hopeful.”? Why try to stay “hopeful” about effecting real change in handling the issue of pedophile priests, laity and enablers in the catholic church from within the church? Is it that you, too, are afraid? Are you afraid that even after your “due diligence” of reporting the crimes, and criminals (to “the world”, and indirectly to the whole catholic church) and supporting the victims as best you can, that if the catholic pope still does not change this historical pattern of ongoing heinous CRIMES being committed inside the catholic church, that you will no longer be able to justify your own religious (catholic) faith?
    I read your post and think that your reference to and quoting "Frederick Douglass’ wisdom: ‘Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will.’ ” is useless to re-print, unless you understand, believe it and are able to apply it, yourself. Please remember, Douglass’ comment does not say “do your hard work, AND stay hopeful”. He does not suggest that combating the issue wanting to effect change, (with the same people in POWER) in the church with a mindset of ‘hope’ is what will eventually make this sea change.
    No, and Douglass doesn’t suggest that your and my continuing to have a “hope-filled” attitude, will produce a different result"…no, Douglass says to you and all of us who agree with him, that we must DEMAND of those in power that this resolvable issue, BE CHANGED! NOW!!!
    NO “hoping” ABOUT IT, WE ARE DEMANDING THAT YOU, pope francis, STOP THIS SCOURGE IN THE Catholic church, NOW!!! Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2, FULL STOP!!!
    Let us DEMAND resolution, everytime we speak of this REAL crime.

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