Press Releases 2002

At End of Bishops’ Meeting, Catholic Reform Groups Support Survivor Network Call for Dismissal of All Priests, Bishops and Cardinals Who Ever Abused

Media Contact:
202 986 6093

Call for resignation of every bishop who facilitated that abuse in any way.

Dallas, Texas—  Moved by the clarity and determination of the Survivor’s Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and outraged by the lack of commitment shown by the bishops, thirteen Catholic reform groups are supporting the survivors’ network’s call for the dismissal of all priests, bishops and cardinals who have ever sexually abused a minor. The groups also call for the resignation of every bishop or cardinal who facilitated that sexual abuse in any way.

At the conclusion of the June 2002 meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic reform groups asserted the following:

  • The solution is simple, priests and bishops who abused minors in the past, present or future, once, twice or a hundred times must go.
  • There is no need for the bishops to agonize over mechanisms for making zero tolerance a reality.  They must accept this as a key element of the solution and stall no longer.
  • Catholic people are no longer interested in excuses. We are not interested in shifting the blame. As bishops, these men are to be intelligent, good managers who know how to implement new management policies. Their job is to do it.
  • To allow an abuser to remain in the priesthood, even in an inactive status, is an offense to those who have been abused and a danger to all our children.

In addition, the Catholic reform groups called for the resignation of every church official, including bishops and cardinals, who facilitated the continuation in the priesthood of any abuser.  The call for resignation extends to officials who transferred abusing priests to other parishes, who did not report offenses to civil authorities, who denied documents to victims’ lawyers and civil authorities, and who, in any way, abused the dignity of victims.

The groups called on all Catholic organizations, right and left, to adopt policies supporting the positions of the survivors.

The Catholic reform groups are launching a new website, www.BishopsWatch.org, to monitor and track the actions of the worst of the nation’s bishops, including a national registry of priests and bishops who are admitted, proven, and/or convicted sexual abusers.

The groups vowed to work with the laity and encourage individual Catholics to take action and send a signal to their bishop, including asking all Catholics to take the money they would give to the church and give it to a group that they trust to carry out the gospel.

The Catholic reform groups stand firmly with the women and men who are the victims of sexual abuse by clergy and pledge to support them as we wait for true change in the Catholic church.

Statement Supporters

Catholics for a Free Choice
Frances Kissling, President
Tel: (202) 986-6093

Catholics Speak Out/Quixote Center
Rea Howarth, National Coordinator
Tel: (301) 699-0042

Celibacy is the Issue (CITI)
Louise Haggett, President and Founder
Tel: (508) 788-0385

CORPUS
Anthony T. Padovano, past President and Catholic theologian
Tel: (973) 539-8732

Dignity/USA
Mary Louise Cervone, President
Pager: (215) 719-5379

Federation of Christian Ministries
Sr. Bridget Mary Meehan, SFCC, President
Tel: (703) 967-6736

Loretto Women’s Network
Maureen McCormack, SL
Tel: (303) 783-0450

Sisters Against Sexism
Ruth Fitzpatrick
Tel: (703) 938-0746

WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual)
Diann Neu
Tel: (301) 589-2509

Women-Church Convergence
Mary E. Hunt
Tel: (301) 589-2509

Women in Spirit of Colorado: Catholic Women for Reform
Kay Norton Haughey, Founding Director
Tel: (970) 586-2708

Women’s Ordination Conference
Genevieve Chavez, Executive Director
Tel: (505) 649-5479

Young Feminist Network
Joy Barnes
Tel: 703-307-5631

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Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.