Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Victims hold rooftop candlelight vigil in Rome
Event is just before Pope John Paul II is named a saint
With St. Peter’s as backdrop, group honors ‘the wounded, not the complicit’
They’ll also read an ‘open letter’ to victims & whistleblowers urging ‘persistence
Group urges all who saw, suspected or suffered crimes & cover ups to ‘speak up now’
Holding candles, signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims from four or five countries will
stand in a small rooftop vigil with St. Peter’s Basilica in the background. They will also read aloud an open letter – in French, German, Spanish and English – to victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers, urging them to
– keep speaking up and reporting crimes, even though complicit Catholic officials (including Pope John Paul II) keep getting honored and promoted,
– report every single incident or suspicion of clergy sex crimes and cover ups to secular officials, not church officials, and
– boldly but compassionately keep reaching out and offering help to every single person who they know of or fear was sexually assaulted by clergy.
They will especially remember and honor dozens of victims of the world’s most notorious predator priest – Fr. Marcial Maciel – whose extensive crimes and misdeeds were ignored and hidden during Pope John Paul’s long papacy.
Friday, April 25 from 8 p.m.-10 p. m. (Rome time/Central European time)
On the rooftop of the Hotel Orange (4-5 stories up), Via Crescenzio, 86, 00193 Roma, Italy; +39 06 686 8969 (near the Vatican)
Four-five clergy sex abuse victims from Spain, Austria, Australia, and the U.S. who are leaders in an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
SNAP leaders worry about clergy sex abuse victims feeling disheartened and current and former Catholics feeling betrayed by what they call the “irresponsible and hurtful” canonization of Pope John Paul II and the continued practice of top church officials ignoring or rewarding those who conceal child sex offenses.
The victims will describe their own experiences of healing themselves, exposing predators, protecting kids and achieving justice, to offer hope to others who have been victimized and hurt but are still struggling in shame, silence, self-blame and hopelessness. (A copy of their ‘open letter’ will be posted late Friday afternoon, Rome time, on the SNAP website.)
SNAP believes that the pontiff “must have known” about the multiple sexual abuse allegations against Legionaries of Christ founder Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado. Instead of disciplining or defrocking Fr. Maciel, Pope John Paul II held a highly publicized special ceremony celebrating the anniversary of Maciel’s ordination.
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