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Victims’ Groups Push US Bishops to Reinstate Full Audits

Two major victim advocacy groups are urging US bishops to reinstate full independent audits of Catholic dioceses across the country to ensure that the Church is fully addressing the priest sex abuse scandal. In November, the bishops voted to cut back the number of dioceses that would have on-site visits by retired FBI agents. Dioceses that were found fully compliant twice would only be required to fill out questionnaires, according to the Associated Press. In a letter sent to the National Review Board, the lay panel created by the bishops to monitor the situation, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that this decision is “a nearly total reversal of what bishops pledged in Dallas in June of 2002, of what took place in 2003 and 2004, and of the bare minimum steps of what Catholics and victims deserve and have come to expect.” The letter was signed by Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s president and founder, and David Chlohessy, SNAP’s national director. Voices of the Faithful sent a similar letter, saying, “Trust is on the line. If the bishops do not work to restore it, the Church will remain in jeopardy in the United States.” Without on-site audits, wrote Blaine and Chlohessy, “we’re basically back to square one, where we have no choice but to trust in many of the same men whose repeated deceit and misconduct led to the molestation of thousands of innocent Catholic youngsters.” According to the Associated Press, the bishops say they are only trying to make the audit process more efficient and less costly.

Sources:

SNAP/Voices of the Faithful letters and press statement 12/13/04; Associated Press 12/14/04

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