Victims blast pope’s praise of bishops
For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 23
In a speech today to U.S. bishops, according to ABC News, Francis “does not specifically reference the pedophilia that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.”
He does, however, speak of some alleged “great sacrifice" made by bishops because of the abuse and cover up crisis.
What sacrifice? What bishops takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he’s shielding predators and endangering kids? None.
Only four US bishops (out of hundreds) have resigned because they hide and enabled horrific crimes, but only after staying in power for years and only after massive public, police, prosecutor and parishioner outrage. (Law, Finn, Piche and Neinstedt)
Virtually none of the other US clerics, (out of thousands) have ever been punished in the slightest for protecting predators, destroying evidence, stonewalling police, deceiving prosecutors, shunning victims or helping child molesting clerics get new jobs or flee overseas.
And no one in the entire US Catholic hierarchy, despite 30 years of horrific scandal and at least 100,000 US victims, has been defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even publicly denounced by a church colleague or supervisor, for covering up child sex crimes, no matter how clearly or often or egregiously he did so.
In carefully-crafted remarks, Francis claims church officials are working “to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated." He knows, however, this is disingenuous. Such crimes are happening right now, all across the world. He refuses to admit this, however, preferring to conveniently imply that somehow, because of tiny, belated and grudging steps forced on bishops in a few Western nations, no priest, nun, seminarian or bishop anywhere is assaulting children today.
Finally, Francis says he has "no wish” to tell US bishop “what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us.” He’s half right – bishops do indeed know precisely how to protect kids. But they refuse, like Francis himself does, to take the simple, proven steps to do this.
Still, we’re deeply disappointed that Francis refuses to tell bishops to do a single thing more than they’ve been forced to do by courageous victims, angry Catholics, determined law enforcement, and the church’s own insurers, defense lawyers and public relations experts.
(Here are just some of the tangible steps Francis could have told US bishops to take to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and end the cover ups:
His remarks today confirm what we’ve long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis. Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not church figures (however popular they may be).
(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 SNAPnetwork.org)