I'm posting a newsletter from SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
For immediate release: Wednesday, Nov. 30
Statement by Lieve Halsberghe, SNAP Belgium, www.snapbelgium.org, +32 475 910918
We're highly skeptical of reports about clergy sex crimes and cover ups commissioned by the very same bishops who ignored and concealed those crimes.
No one should describe or consider this upcoming report "independent" in any way.
The only reliable way to investigate clergy sex crimes and cover ups is by secular authorities who have the power to force church officials to cooperate. Anything short of that is dreadfully flawed and likely done as a public relations move for the church hierarchy
Bishops are smart, well-educated men surrounded by bevies of smart, well-educated advisors. They repeatedly made self-serving, reckless and callous decisions about the safety of kids. But they claim they just made "judgment errors," or "lapses" or "oversights." We greatly fear and strongly suspect this commission will mischaracterize bishops' actions in the same minimizing, self-serving fashion.
That's the problem when Catholic appointees allegedly investigate Catholic bishops - selfish choices are depicted as well-intentioned "mistakes" and people are left with the impression that deliberate cover ups are simple mistakes. The results are inevitably skewed in favor of the church hierarchy and the truth is severely compromised.
Kids will not be safer in the church if we can't even accurately describe what's going on.
We are far from convinced that Dutch bishops are "reforming." It's still crucial that more, truly independent, state-sponsored investigations into widespread clergy sex crimes and cover ups take place so that all those who committed and concealed this devastation - past and present - can be exposed.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (+1 314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (+1 312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (+1 414-429-7259, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (+1 314-862-7688 home, +1 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com) Lieve Halsberghe, (firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 475 910918)