‘Pope’s meeting with clerical abuse survivors a PR stunt’

This 2012 video says about itself:

David Clohessy, a member of SNAP – the survivors network for those abused by priests speaks to Al Jazeera from St. Louis, Missouri in the U.S.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Pope’s meeting with abuse victims is meaningless, says US advocacy group

Main US clerical sex abuse victims’ group dismisses Pope Francis‘s planned meeting as a public relations coup

Lizzy Davies in Rome and agencies

Tuesday 27 May 2014 16.32 BST

The head of a US-based group advocating for victims of clerical sex abuse has dismissed news that Pope Francis is to meet with a group of abuse victims for the first time, reportedly labelling the planned encounter “utterly meaningless”.

On his way back from a high-profile, three-day trip to the Middle East, the Argentinian pontiff told journalists on board the papal plane that sex abuse was “an ugly crime”.

“It is like a satanic mass,” he is reported to have said. “We must go ahead with zero tolerance.”

Echoing a similar move made by his predecessor Benedict XVI in 2010, Francis said he would meet with eight victims of sex abuse at the Vatican early next month. They would also attend mass at the Vatican guesthouse where he lives, he said.

Though applauded for his reform agenda in other areas, Francis has been accused by abuse victims of failing to grasp the deep changes they say are needed to prevent further cases and properly punish perpetrators not only of the abuse itself but of its cover-up.

Francis has made the personal touch a trademark of his papacy – communicating a warmth and understanding to ordinary people that his predecessor rarely managed – but victims of abuse by officials in the Roman Catholic church have repeatedly chided him for failing to express more empathy.

They reacted with particular annoyance to an interview that Francis gave to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in March, in which he defended the church’s handling of the crisis and said no other institution in the world had “done more” to stamp out child abuse.

On Tuesday, news of the pope’s planned meeting with victims appeared to have done little to change the mind of David Clohessy, executive director of the main US victims’ group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (Snap).

“The simple truth is this is another gesture, another public relations coup, another nice bit of symbolism that will leave no child better off and bring no real reform to a continuing, scandal-ridden church hierarchy,” he told the Associated Press.

Clohessy said the meeting was “just utterly, utterly meaningless.” He has been equally damning of Francis’s other major contribution to the church’s efforts to improve its record: the establishment in December of a commission of experts, including an Irish victim of abuse, Marie Collins, to look at ways of better protecting minors.

Not everyone was as dismissive of the meeting, which is being organised by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the US city shaken by abuse revelations in 2002.

Mitchell Garabedian, a local attorney who represents victims, told the AP that a face-to-face encounter with victims was “the most powerful tool that the pope can use in understanding the ugliness and horror of clergy sexual abuse and why it must be stopped or prevented”.

He hoped, however, that there would be more than just one meeting, and that it would prove “substantive and meaningful”.

During his 40-minute exchange with journalists on the flight back to Rome from Tel Aviv, Francis also revealed that three bishops were currently under investigation by the Vatican for abuse-related reasons. It was not clear whether they were accused of committing abuse or having covered it up.

During Francis’s papacy, a new dynamic has formed in the debate around the church’s handling of the sex abuse scandal, with two United Nations human-rights panels criticising the Vatican’s actions and urging it to do more.

The latest of these came last week, when the United Nations Committee Against Torture (Cat) produced its concluding observations on the Holy See, calling on it, among other recommendations, to place “meaningful sanctions” on clerics who fail to deal properly with credible allegations against priests.

The Vatican disputed much of the report’s legitimacy, but said it would “give serious consideration” to the recommendations.

A former Church of England bishop has admitted sexually abusing 18 young men decades after his victims first complained. Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning to two counts of indecent assault relating to two young men and one charge of misconduct in public office, which relates to the sexual abuse of 16 young men over a period of 15 years from 1977-1992. Ball, 83, has connections to Prince Charles, whom he has described in the past as “a loyal friend”: here.

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1 thought on “‘Pope’s meeting with clerical abuse survivors a PR stunt’

  1. Pingback: Child abuse survivor on Catholic mandatory celibacy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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