Vatican- Vatican responds to scathing abuse report, SNAP reacts

For immediate release Wednesday, February 05, 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, [email protected])

Yet again, as they've done for decades, today embattled Catholic officials make more promises about children – specifically, to “study” a new UN panel's report. But their words contradict reality. They've made similar promises for years. Almost always, they refuse to keep these promises.

Just like they did last month in Geneva and have done for decades, Vatican officials again ignore the church's continuing and well-documented cover ups of horrific child sex crimes worldwide. Again they try to deflect attention from their extraordinarily devastating actions and talk of “church teaching” instead of bishops' behavior.

The UN panel says the Vatican should remove predator priests from ministry and report them to law enforcement. That needs study? The panel says the Vatican should endorse, not oppose, reforming secular child safety laws. That needs study?

Bishops don't move predators, shun victims, rebuff prosecutors, shred evidence, intimidate witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, dodge responsibility, fabricate alibis, and blame others for clergy sex crimes and cover ups because of inadequate “study.” It's always been, and remains, a lack of courage by bishops, not a lack of information, that prevents them from acting responsibly about and working hard to prevent clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

The Associated Press points out today that "No Catholic bishop has ever been sanctioned by the Vatican for sheltering an abusive priest." So why would bishops risk their precious clerical careers by doing anything different with child molesting clerics (priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops) than any of their peers have ever done?

The vast bulk of the United Nations panel's findings have nothing to do with birth control, homosexuality, abortion or doctrine. But the church hierarchy ignores this because deep down, they know they cannot defend the indefensible – their consistent, deliberate, and selfish decisions that safeguard their own reputations and hurt their own flocks. 

It's disingenuous for Catholic officials to trot out the “religious freedom” canard when confronted with uncontroverted evidence of massive wrongdoing. 

The Vatican's unrepentant 150 word response – which does not contain the words “abuse,” “crimes,” or “cover ups,” - is here.

Catholics deserve - and kids need – a better response than this.

(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, [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])


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  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 11:07:50 -0600
    My fuller meaning: WE MUST FIGHT THEM ON ALL FRONTS!
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 11:05:43 -0600
    Thank you, Barbara Dorris for your very considered, skillfully and carefully written response. These sexual abuse crimes committed by priests and others employed by the catholic church; crimes against the children of catholic parishoners and orphans and disabled adults, MUST BE STOPPED.

    While I agree with you, that in many cases, wanting to “protect” their clerical careers is often what keeps the catholic hierarchy from stopping these crimes; in these last few months and recent years of learning about the fuller extent of the church’s sexual abuse and crimes against children, I for one, am coming to believe that it’s perhaps ALSO a matter that the very same people (i.e. the pope, and vatican officials, and all the cardinals), that we are asking to prevent and stop these criminals, are in fact, pedophiles who have committed the very same crimes, themselves! And, as you have very astutely observed, they have been dissembling for many, many years now. I have come to realize that I don’t think it’s really a matter of courage, or wanting to not “be fired”, but rather, so much easier to lie and be able to continue being an active pedophile. HOLY COW!!! Believing that, I am thinking that we have to continue to persue the case in the International Court at the Hague! Otherwise, they will simply continue the status quo as it has worked so well for them, in the past.

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