Barbara Blaine, founder and president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national advocacy group for survivors of clerical sexual abuse.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wrote yesterday in the Chicago Sun Times:
“It’s been 30 years since the first pedophile priest case attracted nationwide attention. Since then, we’ve seen literally hundreds of Catholic abuse panels of one stripe or another. So it’s hard for us in SNAP to feel excited about the promise of another one, especially one in which clerics will judge fellow clerics.”
In Barbara’s opinion:
“Each church committee feels like another move to handle criminal matters quietly and internally. There’s a far better alternative: the time-tested set of independent “tribunals” already in place to deal with those who commit or conceal child sex crimes called the secular justice system. It is where abuse and cover ups in other institutions are handled. But in most cases, church officials fight such legal action vigorously. They always have and still do.
If Vatican officials want to really protect kids and deter cover-ups, they have all the power and policies they need. They can start by insisting that bishops world-wide lobby politicians for stronger child safety laws, and turn over all files about accused predators to police now.
Within weeks of taking office, Pope Francis quickly ousted a German bishop who spent $42 million renovating his house. He could – and should — take similarly decisive action against hundreds of his complicit staff. No new “mechanism” was or is needed.
That’s the advantage of a clear, rigid monarchy –those on top can easily sack underlings. But Catholic officials won’t defrock, demote, discipline or denounce even one church employee, from custodian to cardinal, for protecting predators. Not one ordained cleric on earth even criticized by name Missouri Bishop Robert Finn, who was criminally convicted of endangering kids.
What the church hierarchy lacks are not policies, procedures, protocols and panels. It lacks the courage to “render unto Caesar” known and suspected criminal church officials who selfishly put their clerical careers and comfort ahead of the safety of their flock.
No words on paper – however reassuring or encouraging – will give these clerics the courage they’re missing. Let’s be prudent, stay vigilant and withhold judgment until we see if and how this panel might act.”
Thank you Barbara for clearly showing that Catholic officials don’t protect children from predatory clergy – they protect themselves at all costs.
|Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis resigned June 14|
Steve Sheehan, publisher of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition News had this to say today about Pope Francis’ latest attempt to show that he is chasing down bad bishops:
“Hark the Papal Tribunal sings! It seems to me I heard that song before. Well, play it again, Sam!”
Do you remember:
“1985: The Doyle, Mouton, Peterson report? Well, let's just put that aside and perhaps it will simply fade away.
2002: The Boston Globe Spotlight report? Well, we'll have a conference, write a charter, create a Review Board and then it'll just be history. Let's move Bernard Law to Rome where he'll be out of the hot seat.
2004: We were told that the clergy sexual abuse crisis is now "history."
2004 to 2012: Rather than seeking to heal the Church, the US Catholic bishops went on the offensive seeking to reassert their lost moral authority by politicizing the Eucharist and focusing on divisive social issues such as religious liberty and marriage equality at the expense of speaking out collectively for the poor, further surrendering their moral voice.
2012: Finn? Well, we'll just sit this one out and people will forget about him. In a few years he'll retire and we'll be out of the woods.
2013: Maybe we should form a Pontifical Commission. That'll look like we're doing something positive.
2015: The commission recommends a tribunal be established to look into holding bishops accountable. It'll take several years for that to get into action and in the meantime we'll talk about the environment and the economy and divert people's attention. Another encyclical will occupy their minds.
It's still the same old story - and the melody lingers on.”
What Steve says is true – these commissions are just window dressing – attempts by the Catholic Church hierarchy to look good and do nothing. What Pope Francis doesn’t realize is that we see through his smoke screen and we are the people that he can no longer fool.