April 05, 2005

Groups: Vatican failed to address scandal

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Associated Press

NEW YORK - Among the crowd cheering Pope John Paul II at Shea Stadium in 1979 was a 15-year-old New Jersey boy named Mark Serrano - there courtesy of a ticket provided by the priest he later accused of sexually molesting him.

Like other advocates for victims of abuse by priests, Serrano has mixed emotions as he assesses the papal transition now unfolding in the Roman Catholic Church. Though never losing affection for John Paul II, Serrano feels the Vatican under his leadership responded too weakly to the U.S. sex abuse scandal - and may not do any better under the next pope.

"Can we say the pope failed us? I think John Paul could have done more," Serrano said. "Can we say the bureaucrats in Rome failed us? Absolutely."

Serrano, who now lives in Leesburg, Va., is a regional official of SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

SNAP's national director, David Clohessy, and president, Barbara Blaine, said the pope's rhetoric was admirable when he summoned America's cardinals to the Vatican in 2002 and told them there was "no place in the priesthood" for those who harm children.

"It's been disappointing that the people who were close to the pope didn't take his message to heart, and didn't go further," Blaine said. "We know full well that many bishops, even after that statement, left child molesters in the ministry."

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2005 03:20 PM