Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sharply criticized Pope Francis for failing to make child sexual abuse in the church a top priority. Pope Francis made headlines last week for remarking that the Catholic church had become obsessed with gay rights, abortion and birth control, and for putting moral doctrines before serving the poor and marginalized. He described his vision of the church as a “home for all.”
“It’s good to make adults happier,” said SNAP director David Clohessy. “But it’s better to make children safer. That should have been the pontiff’s top priority on day one. It should become his top priority now. He’s done nothing to protect children, expose predators and deter cover ups. Not as a priest, bishop, archbishop or cardinal. Not as the pope.”
SNAP stressed that the Pope has not confronted the church’s history of child sexual abuse and cover ups, despite statements he made after his election that he wanted to root out the sexual abuse of children and punish perpetrators.
According to BishopAccountability.org, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has counted 16,795 individuals who have alleged that they were abused as minors by priests between the years of 1950 and 2013.
Media Resources: New York Times 9/20/2013; Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Media Statement 9/20/2013; NBC News 4/5/2013; BishopAccountability.org 5/9/2013