April 05, 2005

Sex Abuse Victims Want Cardinals' Attention

The Indiana Gazette

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer April 05, 2005

ROME - Three years ago Pope John Paul II summoned America's cardinals to the Vatican for an emergency meeting on the clergy sex abuse crisis. Now that those cardinals have returned to elect his successor, abuse victims fear the lessons from their suffering may be forgotten amid the ceremonies and papal politicking.

"It seems to me the victims offer a gift to the church," said Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The church needs the voices of victims in order to sanctify itself, in order to redeem itself, because the church leaders were the ones responsible for this outrageous abuse."

Church leaders rarely mention the scandal when asked about the key challenges facing the next pope. Interfaith tensions, global poverty and declining religious observance in North America and Europe are widely considered more pressing. Some Catholic officials still think of the crisis as mainly an American one, even though Austria, Ireland and other countries have experienced similar scandals.

Sue Archibald, head of the victim advocacy group The Linkup, said she has little expectation that the cardinals will discuss abuse during their conclave to pick a new pope.

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2005 07:57 AM