Pope Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal As He Starts Visit to Britain; SNAP Responds

September 16, 2010

Statement by Joelle Casteix of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Popeís disingenuous comments about the abuse and cover up crisis are hurtful, not helpful

Itís disingenuous to say church officials have been slow and insufficiently vigilant in dealing with clergy sex crimes and cover ups. On the contrary, theyíve been prompt and vigilant, but in concealing, not preventing, these horrors. Thatís why tens of thousands of priests have been able to assault hundreds of thousands of kids Ė because bishops actively work to protect the predators and the churchís reputation.

Itís not that bishops havenít worked hard on abuse. Itís that theyíve worked hard to hide it, not stop it.

Claims of inadequate vigilance and speed imply that allís well and that just a tad more attentiveness and promptness is needed. Thatís patently false.

Bishops across the world continue to deliberately choose secrecy and deception over safety and honesty in child sex cases. Thatís the sad, simple truth.

How many times will we let the worldís most powerful religious figure just talk about child sex crimes and cover ups and not insist that he do something about child sex crimes and cover ups?

The only Vatican movement on abuse has been so tiny as to be virtually insignificant. Earlier this year, under tremendous pressure, the Vatican told bishops to call the cops about abuse if forced to do so by local law. Thatís the biggest step that the pope has taken about abuse since 2001, when he ordered bishops to world-wide to keep being secretive about abuse.

He also lengthened the churchís internal statute of limitations on abuse, which is like bringing two cups of water to a raging wildfire instead of one.


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