Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Victims respond to new policy by German Bishops

Victims respond to new policy by German Bishops

Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President 312 399 4747

A lack of words on paper isn't causing this crisis and more words on paper won't fix it. For starters, every church official who ignored or concealed child sex crimes must be removed. Every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric must be exposed and suspended immediately. Unless and until those two steps are taken, everything else is window dressing.

This is part of the standard public relations playbook bishops use. For decades, nearly every diocese in which a major child sex abuse scandal has emerged has adopted or tweaked written policies. It rarely makes any real difference, other than mollifying some naive parishioners.

The problem isn't inadequate policies, it's a corrupt structure and system, in which bishops exercise virtually limitless power and are accountable to virtually no one.

Just months ago, Belgium's most powerful Catholic official tried hard to keep admitted child sex crimes by a bishop covered up. He tried to guilt-trip and sweet-talk a deeply wounded man to protect the church's image. No policy, regardless of what it says, would have prevented such wrong-doing or will prevent it in the future.

Real change will only happen when victims come forward, secular laws are reformed, prosecutors file charges, bishops are jailed, and Catholics donate elsewhere.

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