Clergy Sex-Abuse Victims Speak Out
Speculation that the Pope would meet with some victims of clergy sex abuse goes back to the day his visit to the U.S. was announced.
Since top Vatican diplomat Archbishop Pietro Sambi recently told National Catholic Reporter columnist John Allen that it was "within the field of possibility" that the pope would meet privately with some sex-abuse victims, speculation has been whether, where and when.
But leader of the leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, aren't holding their collective breaths. Even if such a meeting were to take place, SNAP national director David Clohessy told us, it would be merely a symbolic act that does nothing to help current, and past, victims of clergy sex abuse.
"Words, gestures, symbols -- at this juncture, to be honest, aren't really that helpful," said Clohessy. "What we need from him are actions, not words or a photo op."
Clohessy said his group requested a meeting with the pope while he is here to push its concerns about reform but has not received a response. It doesn't expect to, he said. If the pope were to meet with victims, they would be "less independent" abuse victims, the group says.
As pope, Benedict has spoken strongly about the clergy sex scandal, endorsing efforts to examine allegations and support victims. As Cardinal Ratzinger, he denounced what he called "filth" in the church "even among those ... in the priesthood."
But Clohessy said his group believes the Vatican still isn't taking the crisis seriously enough. It says that some U.S. bishops continue to ignore the severity of the issue and that the Vatican has done little to protect children in the rest of the world from abusive priests.
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Posted by: Mike | April 11, 2008 10:29 PM