Belief Beat

As I predicted yesterday, the clergy and commentators defending Pope Benedict’s response to the clergy sex abuse scandal — including a legal defense being planned in the U.S. — has fueled a backlash from victims and their supporters.

After the American bishops affirmed that they “stand with” the pope and the Vatican’s handling of the pedophile priest problem, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, aka SNAP, issued an outraged press release:

Instead of exposing predators and helping victims, America’s bishops busy themselves with self-congratulations and public relations. They tout their plentiful but largely ineffective policies, panels and procedures which were adopted as public relations moves. Since 2002, they have done little but water down and increasingly ignore their pledges of greater openness, confident that ‘the wave has crested’ and they have little to fear from more victims, lawsuits, prosecutions or media exposes.
Once again, bishops still refuse to use the words “bishop” or “cover up” when talking about a crisis caused by bishops covering up. This statement, like so many others, tries to minimize this crisis, blaming only the predators and ignoring their corrupt supervisors.

SNAP also announced that a chapter of the Chicago-based group is forming in England, which should make Pope Benedict’s September travel plans — the first official visit to Britain by a pope — more interesting.

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