Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-08-14

Pope Begs Forgiveness of Sexual Abuse Survivors, But Survivors Want Action

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on Pope Francis yesterday to take "tangible steps" to prevent widespread sexual abuse by clergy members instead of asking for forgiveness from victims.

Yesterday Pope Francis met with six people who were sexually abused by clergy members as children to ask for their forgiveness. He led them in a private mass and met individually with the survivors, one man and one woman each from Ireland, Britain, and Germany. In his homily yesterday, he also pledged to crack down on child sexual abusers in the clergy.

Although advocates for survivors were glad to see the Pope call for more accountability, advocates feared that the meeting was simply a public relations stunt, allowing Catholic church leaders to sidestep dealing with the issue head-on. "These meetings are public relations coups for the Vatican and distracting placebos for others. They provide temporary but false hope," said Mary Caplan, a member of SNAP. "In meetings, people can share knowledge. But Catholic officials don't lack knowledge. They lack courage - the courage to be honest, to "out" and oust their criminal colleagues, both those who commit and conceal sexual violence against children. And they lack the incentive to act responsibly because those who act irresponsibly are virtually never defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even defrocked. No meeting with victims - however many or compelling or articulate they may be - changes this fundamental, distressing and unhealthy reality."

Barbara Blaine, Founder and President of SNAP, who was herself raped by a parish priest as a teenager, commented that sexual abuse by church clergy and its cover up is still ongoing. "Stop talking about the crisis as though it's past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panel discusses details," Blaine said. "You know the right thing to do."

SNAP released a statement with 15 steps the Vatican could take to protect children from sexual abuse and hold offending clergy members accountable. Among other things, SNAP calls on the Vatican to insist that bishops permanently post information about child molesting clerics on diocesan and parish websites; to ensure that only licensed therapists work with abuse victims, instead of priests or nuns; and to use independent corrections staff to monitor child molesting clerics instead of other clergy members.

In the US alone, between 1950 and 2010, 6,100 priests were accused of abuse, leading to an estimated 100,000 victims. Globally, thousands more have been accused, and they have been frequently protected from punishment by being transferred to a different parish where they could start abusing others, as shown in recently released documents of the Chicago archdiocese.

While the Vatican has known about this issue for decades, they have done little to hold abusers accountable. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report demanding the Vatican take action in February, and the UN Committee Against Torture held a hearing to question Vatican leaders about their actions to address global child sexual abuse.

Media Resources: The New York Times 7/7/14; Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 7/7/14; Feminist Newswire 1/23/14, 2/5/14, 5/6/14


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

5/6/2015 Four Sentenced to Death, Eight to Prison for Brutal Murder of Afghan Woman - The verdict for the 49 men charged with the murder of 27-year- old Farkhunda came yesterday, following a highly publicized and televised week-long trial and public outrage for violence against women in Afghanistan. Farkhunda, who was an Islamic law student, accused a local Mullah of acting inappropriately. . . .
 
5/6/2015 MEDIA ADVISORY: Title IX Sex Discrimination Complaint to be Filed Against University of Mary Washington by Feminist Groups - MEDIA ADVISORY Title IX Sex Discrimination Complaint to be Filed Against University of Mary Washington by Feminist Groups WHAT: On Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 10:30 a.m., UMW student group Feminists United, national women's rights organization, Feminist Majority Foundation, and individual UMW students will announce the filing of a major Title IX sex discrimination complaint against the University of Mary Washington. . . .
 
5/5/2015 Sen. Reid Promises to Filibuster "Fast Track" for the TransPacific Partnership - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has promised to delay efforts to push through the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal until the Senate first deals with two stalled bills that may soon expire. Reid says that the two measures, an infrastructure bill on highway funding, and reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are "very complicated issues," that require the Senate's attention "before we even deal with [the Trans-Pacific Partnership]." The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement currently being promoted by the Obama Administration, has been heavily criticized by humanitarian groups, environmental groups, and medical groups. . . .