Sex abuse victims tell Catholic Church: Stop pretending the worst is over
Clergy sex abuse victims listed a “dirty dozen” potential papal candidates Wednesday and urged the Roman Catholic Church to “get serious” about protecting children, helping victims and exposing corruption.
“We want to urge Catholic prelates to stop pretending that the worst is over regarding the clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis,” said David Clohessy, director of the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
“Tragically, the worst is almost certainly ahead,” he said, adding that the truth of “widespread, longstanding and deeply-rooted” abuse and coverups has “yet to surface in most nations.”
The organization cited a dozen cardinals from the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Italy, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, Argentina and Ghana accused of protecting pedophile priests and making offensive public statements.
They are all considered to be contenders to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who was criticized for his handling of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church in the United States and Europe.
SNAP also opposes electing any member of the Roman Curia, the administrative branch of the Holy See.
“We feel no current Vatican ‘insider’ has the will to truly ‘clean house’ in the Vatican and elsewhere,'” Clohessy said in a statement.
“Promoting a Curia member would discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and advocates from reporting wrongdoing.”
Public denunciations of the media for attacking the church and assertions that claims of widespread abuse were overstated were often cited among reasons to blacklist a papal candidate.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana made the list for claiming there were few child molesting clerics in Africa because they didn’t tolerate gay people there.
Cardinal Dominik Duka of Czech Republic was cited for claiming that only 10 percent of accusations against priests are proven.
Efforts to maintain secrecy rather than report abuse to law enforcement also led to condemnation.
Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico made the list for claiming there are no “documented” cases of abuse against minors in Mexico and allegedly concealing multiple child sex abuse allegations.
Cardinal Tarsicio Bertone of Italy was cited for saying “if a priest cannot confide in his bishop for fear of being denounced it would mean there is no more liberty of conscience” and blaming the child sex abuse epidemic on the “homosexual infiltration” of the clergy.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras was blacklisted for opposing the reporting of clerical sexual abuse to civil authorities and for saying the US media was bent on “persecution of the church.”
Three US bishops made the list for failing to protect parishioners from known abusers and undermining reform efforts: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina was dismissed as a “consummate Vatican insider” who publicly supported a notorious Mexican abuser, Father Marcial Maciel.
Cardinal Angelo Scola of Italy was blacklisted for minimizing church wrongdoings and calling coverage of Benedict’s role in the crisis an “iniquitous humiliation.”
Cardinal George Pell of Australia was cited for claiming the church was a victim of “smears,” insisting that there are no cover ups and for trying to seal a potentially damming court file.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, of Quebec, Canada was cited for refusing to meet with sex abuse victims and brokering a deal which SNAP said let “wrongdoers determine their own punishment.”