The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Friday, April 9, 2010
Pope’s spokesman says he’ll meet w/ victims; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis MO (USA), Outreach Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003)
Any meeting the Pope may have with victims helps him look good while doing nothing noteworthy. It may give those few, hand-picked victims a short-term sense of validation. It won’t, however, make any child on the planet safer. His last brief meeting with a handful of victims brought no reform in the secretive, reckless and self-serving way church officials deal with abuse victims or abusive clergy.
Kids need and deserve immediate protection and dramatic reform, not public relations ploys and photo ops. They need substance, not symbols.
Candlelight vigils, prayer services, healing masses are likewise largely symbols, not substance. Symbols may be appropriate after a crisis, but not during one. The first priority must be to stop the abuse of kids who are being assaulted now and to prevent the abuse of kids in the future. The second priority must be to help adults who were sexually assaulted and are suffering today in shame, silence and self-blame, trying to cope with depression, addictions, isolation and suicidal thoughts.
“Regaining trust,” which church officials often talk about (and Fr. Lombardi spoke of today), should be last on the priority list. If the Catholic hierarchy protects the vulnerable and heals the wounded, trust will automatically be restored.
Lacking any real clout, one who is powerless uses symbols. The church, however, has virtually limitless power. If kids are to be protected, he must use that power to discipline corrupt bishops, oust child molesting clerics, seek secular investigations of cover ups, and reform predator-friendly laws.
(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 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. 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)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Pope willing to meet sex abuse victims again: Vatican
AGENCIES, Apr 9, 2010, 06.16pm IST
VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI is “available for new meetings” with victims of sex abuse by priests, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio on Friday.
“The Roman Catholic Church must cooperate with police and the judiciary on child abuse by priests as “the only way to regain trust,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
Speaking on Vatican Radio, Lombardi said that, “Apart from the attention we must pay to the victims, we must pursue cooperation with the relevant civilian judicial and penal authorities, in line with the legal and other situations in each country.”
“This is the only way to restore a climate of justice and full confidence in the institution of the Church,” he added.
The Church has been shaken by a whole series of scandals involving paedophile priests in various countries, amid criticism that it protected guilty clergy instead of handing them over to be tried.