Tuesday, October 20, 2015
From: Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC)
Thanks to the Wall Street Journal, it should now be apparent to every Catholic in the United States that the Roman Catholic Church is fully capable of initiating and funding a massive public relations campaign with top drawer talent when it wishes.
Here is the link to the Journal's new story that will fill you in on how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) used a campaign of social media to promote Pope Francis and his recent trip to the United States.
Take a listen to the USCCB communication's officer:
"This is certainly a new area for the church and a place we felt we needed to be to reach those we weren't able to reach before," said James Rogers, USCCB's chief communications officer.
And it's impressive whom and what the USCCB used to make its connections, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
The campaign included outreach to 120 influencers, such as Ms. (Bette) Midler, and 1,300 others on social media in both English and Spanish, as well as the creation of real-time videos, GIFs and other content. With the papal visit, USCCB wanted to shift from a "model of broadcast communication" to a more engaging dialogue in real time, Mr. Rogers said.
We agree. We believe that the Church needs to reach those that it hasn't been able to reach before - and in large number that's the sexual abuse survivors and their families.
Enlisting Bette Midler and 199 other "influencers" is a fine place to start the hunt for other survivors of a rapist and sodomizer when there is a survivor who comes forward.
And a fine place to start when a lawsuit is filed.
And a fine place to start when a police report is made.
And a fine place to start when a priest or religious sister or religious brother are placed on administrative leave because of credible allegations of abuse.
We urge our readers and those who contribute to collection plates to take a look at the website of the firm the bishops employed: http://golin.com and please don't miss Golin's tagline:
Go All In is our commitment to bravery over mediocrity.
One thing that the Wall Street Journal story doesn't provide is the answer to how much the USCCB paid for Golin's services.
In reality, although the contract was placed by the USCCB, it is Catholics in the pews who paid for Golin's campaign.
The money the USCCB spends comes from the collection plates. The USCCB is funded by assessments on dioceses in the same way as the dioceses are funded by assessing the parishes. What the USCCB, according to the Journal, was promoting was the "pope's message of goodwill."
It may be difficult for those contributing to the collection plates to understand why bishops felt the need to spend money on "influencers" to promote Pope Francis, one of the all time best communicators of his message.
Maybe not, perhaps those who contribute to collection plates will not think their money was spent as a redundancy.
The bishops may have been banking, pardon the pun, on the collection plate contributors to replenish the coffers.
Whatever the bishops' motivation and the funders' motivation was, the bishops did undertake the campaign, and they were successful.
And on those grounds we agree with the USCCB communication chief Mr. Rogers and his look forward, "Our task now is to look at how best we can operationalize this."
So, now, let's find those survivors.
Thank you, Kristine for showing us where the money goes.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Republicans, Catholics and Orthodox Jews block Child Victims Act in NY: Pope Francis ignores Markey’s efforts
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey of NY criticizes the current statute of limitation for prosecuting childhood sexual abuse
Queens Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth), has spent nearly a decade trying to pass a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children The Pope’s “God weeps for the sexual abuse of children” sound bite didn’t go nearly far enough in addressing the church’s role in perpetrating and enabling child abuse.
In an interview in the Times Ledger (Queens, NY, by Gabriel Rom), “Part of the reason church attendance is dwindling,” Markey speculated, “is that they refuse to address the issue of sexual abuse of children. This is an issue that is crying out for attention from voters, too. They want to see justice for victims.”
Markey had invited Francis to meet with members of the New York State Legislature and child abuse victims advocacy organizations and lend support to the bill, known as The Child Victims Act asking him to intervene with New York bishops but there was no response from the Vatican. The NY State Catholic Conference has vigorously opposed the bill, along with several Orthodox Jewish groups, all afraid of how much money they could lose by allowing victims, regardless of age, to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse suffered in childhood.
The bill passed in the Democrat-dominated Assembly four times, but it had never been brought up for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. Earlier this year, despite receiving a record number of sponsors, including more than a dozen Republicans, the bill stalled yet again.
“The church knows that in New York state there are dozens or perhaps hundreds of current and former child-molesting employees, and high-ranking church officials who ignored past crimes,” said David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “They don’t want that in the public.”
When they pass this bill, I will be there to point my finger at the criminals who covered up my abuse in upstate New York.