Vatican--Victims “depressed” by papal abuse panel website

For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

The new website of the papal abuse panel is depressingly disingenuous.

The first sentence says it all: “The healing and pastoral care of victims/survivors of sexual abuse is of primary importance.”

That’s dead wrong. The safety of children, not the healing of adults, must come first.

The second sentence is no better: “The first way for us all to learn how to protect minors and vulnerable adults is to meet with victims/survivors and to listen to them.”

Dead wrong again. Listening doesn’t prevent child rape. Decisive action prevents child rape.

It talks of “ways to improve response mechanisms and communication channels with victims and survivors in local churches.” 

Again, dead wrong. “Response mechanisms” aren’t glaring need. Prevention mechanisms are.

So why this fixation on what happens after the crimes and cover ups? Because it advances the convenient, self-serving narrative Catholic officials have put forth for years: the implication that the crisis is behind us and what remains is just chatting - with or maybe paying off – some wounded adults.

What SHOULD BE the panel’s top priority - prevention – gets a one-word mention on the home page with no substance whatsoever (“Victims/survivors, more than anyone else, can also teach us how to prevent future abuse.”)

What Francis PROMISED WOULD BE the panel’s top priority – prevention – is essentially ignored. (When he announced the panel, Francis said its “specific task is to propose to me the most opportune initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults. . .”) 

It’s the old “bait and switch.” Big promises at first. Huge disappointment later. Initial pledges of prevention, followed by vague talk of “healing.” And not one child is safer, not one predator is exposed, not one enabler is deterred, not one law is reformed.

Instead of action, we get pablum like this: “Listening is an important part of the healing process for the victims/survivors, but also for their families, communities, and for the entire church” Pablum like this might reassure some of the flock. But it’s meaningless, especially in light of the scale and devastation of this continuing crisis.

And notice the use of the word "learn." More disingenuous. What's the implication? That when bishops ignore or conceal felonies, it's just because they don't understand. A little more "learning" will fix it all.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors should change its name to the Pontifical Commission for Church Public Relations.

No matter how much shrewd public relations church officials generate, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in institutions – especially in churches – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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 (+1 314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (+1 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]) , Barbara Blaine (+1 312-399-4747 cell, ([email protected] )


Vatican commission launches child protection website

By Catholic News Service, 12.6.2016 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has launched a beta version of its website in English and has included its template for local guidelines on preventing sexual abuse, resources for a day of prayer for the victims and survivors as well as a mailing address to contact commission members.

The website -- -- eventually will include  . . . 

Read full article here

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