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Once again, not enough! – That’s the message from the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, following Pope Francis’ message Sunday morning that he had met with some victims of clergy sex abuse.
“Is a child anywhere on Earth safer now that a pope, for maybe the seventh or eighth time or ninth time, has briefly chatted with abuse victims? No,” SNAP Director David Clohessy said in a statement.
The pope said he promised to “zealously” protect young people and that “all those responsible are held accountable.”
But SNAP just dismissed the meeting as a “smart public relations move.”
“To give some perspective, let’s assume that roughly the same percentage of priests molest the same percentage of kids across the globe. In the U.S., in 2012, two church experts estimate 100,000 kids in the U.S.” Clohessy wrote.
“The US is about 6 percent of the world’s population. If you do the math, that means there are more than 1.5 million men and women on this planet who have been raped, sodomized or molested by Catholic priests,” he said.
When he talked to the abuse victims, who weren’t identified, the pope said: “I am deeply sorry for the time when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children,” according to a release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Rev. Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer who worked at the Vatican Embassy in Washington and is now an advocate for victims, told The Associated Press that including more than just victims of abusive clergy “seriously minimizes” the problem in the church.
“We don’t think we’re going to get any real support to change this from the leadership in the Vatican,” Doyle said in a phone interview. “They’re having this big meeting of families. But there’s been no real room for all the families that the Catholic Church has destroyed through sexual abuse.”