Pope Francis and Protection: Your Help Needed, by Kristine Ward

March 20, 2013

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) appreciates Pope Francis emphasis on protection in the homily of his installation Mass.

But the word must become kinetic to solve and eradicate the crisis of sexual abuse in the Church by priests and nuns.

It must have the energy of action behind it to truly protect children and give the survivors the protection of justice.

Juxtaposed to the Pope’s installation homily are two news stories published yesterday that are disturbing.

Here are the links:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/pope-francis-was-often-quiet-on-argentine-sex-abuse-cases-as-archbishop/2013/03/18/26e7eca4-8ff6-11e2-9cfd-36d6c9b5d7ad_story.html

http://www.whbf.com/story/21723020/abuse-victims-want-pope-to-open-argentina-files

Given the gravity of this crisis to speak of protection and directly link the word to children in the inaugural Mass homily holds out hope and not to act on these words would border on cruelty not on tenderness.

That means removals and resignations not only of predator priests and nuns but Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Curia and Chancery personnel who aided and abetted criminals and obstructed justice favoring the predator over the child.

Criminally convicted Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph must be replaced.

Documents in Argentina and throughout the universal Church must be released.

Catholics can and should find their way to all of the virtues of St. Francis. While it’s nice to have a Pope lead them there, it’s possible to get there without one.

That’s not the case when it comes to setting, demanding and acting on the standards of justice for survivors and protection for children involving the removal of predator priests and nuns, Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and Curial officials who have either abused or aided and abetted those who have.

For that you need a Pope.

Cardinals spoke frequently publicly before the conclave about how the Church realized the scourge of the sexual abuse crisis and a new pope must act regarding it.

If Pope Francis doesn’t act decisively regarding the crisis of sexual abuse by priests and nuns these public pronouncements by Cardinals will become a sham and a shill for getting over and through the time of massive media attention focused on the Church with the veneer of public relations but no real firm purpose of justice, amendment, or the protection of children.

We implore all of our readers but particularly those who live in dioceses headed by Cardinal electors to be in contact with those elector Cardinals regarding the hypocrisy of talking one game before an election and accepting words alone as accountability and responsibility after an election and the fading of television lights and newsprint.

We urge all of our readers to make your position known by contact with the Cardinal electors. Contact your Bishop and making your voice heard. Bishops’ contact information is available at www.usccb.org.

If you think contacting hierarchs is a waste of time, or even if you don’t, write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper and the largest circulation newspaper in your State.

Two popes before Francis offered words.

Words alone, pretty or plain, will be no substitute for action.

We wait now for action from this new pope.

But not with patience for the wait so far in this crisis for the Church to act decisively to cleanse itself and set up a new path has taken far too long.

Survivors and their families must not be set up and used in the crucible of media glare only to be cast off again in an era of good feeling.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is an all volunteer organization of in the pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill supporting survivors of sexual abuse and working to educate society about sexual abuse and to bring about effective legislative reforms. NSAC News is a daily free online news briefing on the scandal distributed online Monday through Friday. To subscribe email Steve Sheehan: sheehan1777@aol.com.

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