Prominent clergy sex abuse survivors & activists urge changes in leadership of Pope’s abuse commission.
Global group: ‘Pope’s commission needs new leader’.
‘After four years, commission has failed to deliver’.
Group also will respond to safeguarding session at World Meeting of Families.
[Note: This is an expanded version of an advisory we sent previously]
Availability begins at 12 Noon, Friday August 24. News conf/panel begins at approx.12:15.
Redwood Suite 4, Ballsbridge Hotel, Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Seven prominent survivor leaders and activists who are members of ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), a global justice project aimed at holding the Catholic church accountable for ending clergy sex abuse. See details below.
Leading survivors and activists from around the globe will gather at noon on Friday Aug 24 to react to the World Meeting of Families’ only session on safeguarding children, which is scheduled to occur Friday morning. See news advisory:
The group also will urge the Pope to appoint a new leader for his child protection commission.
In the four years that Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, has led the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the commission’s work has produced no meaningful reform.
O’Malley has failed to persuade the Pope to enact any of the commission’s worthwhile recommendations. The tribunal for complicit bishops never got off the ground. ‘Zero tolerance’ for predator priests still is not practiced by most of the world’s bishops and religious superiors.
O’Malley has failed even to implement the commission’s recommendation that every victim contacting the Vatican receive a response.
Under O’Malley, all of the commission’s strong-minded and victim-focused members have left or been fired.
‘Clearly, the commission needs a new leader – someone who is more forceful and determined, with a willingness to take risks,” says Peter Saunders.
An example of that kind of leadership, the group says, might be Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. Martin appears to be the only bishop in the world to voluntarily hand over to civil authorities the document archive of diocese, some 65,000 pages. Martin’s diocese is one of the few in the world outside of the United States to voluntarily enact ‘zero tolerance’ and remove priests from ministry with credible reports of child sexual abuse.
Recently and repeatedly, Martin has also correctly identified and defined the problem of child sexual abuse by clergy as a institutional system or “mechanism” that “permit or facilitate abuse.” These structures Martin stated “must be broken down and broken down forever.”
Ian Elliot, one of the truly independent internal watchdogs hired by the church in the history of the abuse crisis said this about Martin,”he could not in his conscience come to terms with the fact that any member of the clergy could abuse a young person.”
THESE LEADING SURVIVORS AND ACTIVISTS WILL BE SPEAKING:
*Pete Saunders of the U.K., a survivor of clergy sex abuse, active member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors from 2014 to 2016. He was put on leave after publicly criticizing the Pope’s retention of a complicit Chilean bishop and the cruel treatment of victims by Cardinal George Pell. Pete founded NAPAC, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood.
*Rev. Thomas P. Doyle of the U.S., a Dominican priest and canon lawyer, renowned whistleblower who warned U.S. bishops in 1985. Tom has served as expert witness in thousands of abuse cases worldwide.
*Mark Vincent Healy of Dublin, survivor of sexual abuse by two Irish priests, one of the first survivors to meet with Pope Francis
*Lieve Halsberghe of Belgium, leading activist and researcher whose work has brought several abusers to justice
*Matthias Katsch of Germany, a clergy sex abuse survivor, spokesperson for ECKIGER TISCH (Squared Table) and Member of the German Council of Survivors
*Peter Isely of the U.S., clergy sex abuse survivor, founding member and former Midwest director (1992-2017) of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Peter founded the world’s only in-patient hospital program for clergy sexual abuse survivors.
*Margaret McGuckin of Northern Ireland, a survivor of child abuse and founding member of the Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) support group. A survivor of years in the notorious Nazareth House children’s home, she helped bring about the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry.
ECA Global Founding Member and Spokesperson, United States survivor.
+14144297259 (available GMT)
ECA Assembly Member from Belgium
WHO WE ARE
Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide organization of survivors and human rights activists who compel the Roman Catholic Church to end clergy abuse, especially child sexual abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims. ECA assembly members represent over 18 countries and 4 continents. https://ecaglobal.org – @ENDCLERGYABUSE – firstname.lastname@example.org