Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Why is it important that predator priests’ names are exposed?
First, because it’s the quickest, easiest, cheapest and most effective way to protect kids now. If a chemical company CEO knows of 20 or 30 places in a city where toxic chemicals have been dumped, her first duty is to warn the public. (Then, she must of course fence in the properties, put up ‘DANGER’ signs and take other remedial steps.)
Since bishops recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, transferred and shielded these predators – often until criminal statutes of limitations expired so prosecution wasn’t possible – the LEAST bishops can do is make it easier for police, prosecutors, parents, parishioners and the public to learn who these predators are so they can keep their loved ones away from them.
Second, because it helps heal the wounded. Somewhere, there’s an elderly Catholic mom on her knees praying “God forgive me for being a bad parent. Sally has an eating disorder and Bill is an alcoholic. I’ve obviously done something wrong.” When she sees Fr. John Smith exposed as a predator, she calls her kids and they acknowledge “Yes, he molested me,” and the whole family begins to stop blaming themselves and start their recovery. (“The truth,” the Bible says, “shall set us free.”)
Third, because it helps reassure Catholics. Until bishops “come clean” about all predator priests, parishioners must look up from the pews at their pastor and wonder “Has he committed or concealed child sex crimes?” They must wonder “Is the priest who baptized our kids or performed our wedding a predator?” and “Did Fr. Jack really retire or did they take him out of the parish because he’s an abuser?”
Fourth, because it’s what bishops have repeatedly pledged, for decade, to do: be “open and transparent about clergy sex crimes and abuse.” In fact, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national abuse policy, adopted in 2002, mandates “openness.”
Has this been done before?
Yes. About 30 US bishops have posted predators’ names.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.