On November 2, five organizations, including Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Voice of the Faithful, held a news conference in Denver demanding that the Denver Archdiocese release “all church documents relating to clergy sex abuse.”
Those who made this absurd demand blew their credibility and should be dismissed as witch hunters. To begin with, it is absurd for any institution to simply dump confidential personnel files on the lap of strangers. To take but one industry—the media—there is not a single newspaper (beginning with the Denver Post), magazine, television network or radio station that would hand its personnel files over to the Catholic League. Ergo, what’s good for the media is good for the Catholic Church.
Second, the letter sent to Archbishop Charles Chaput contains a major lie: it says that had Colorado lawmakers succeeded earlier this year in passing legislation regarding the victims of sexual abuse, some of the truth about priestly sexual abuse would have been revealed. The lie is this: Archbishop Chaput was in favor of such a law provided it included all institutions. The reason he rightly insisted on uniform application was due to the fact that when this issue was originally taken up, public schools were exempted! It is only when the proposed laws were amended to include the public school industry that the teachers unions went ballistic, thus killing the legislation.
For SNAP and Voice of the Faithful to imply that the Denver Archdiocese is responsible for the failure of Colorado lawmakers to pass this legislation is scurrilous. If they were really interested in protecting all minors, they’d begin by demanding that the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Association of School Executives and the Colorado Education Association stop their obstructionist tactics.
Archbishop Chaput has the courage and wisdom to see right through this and will not be bullied by those who harbor an agenda.