PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Church abuse protesters handed out flyers during Ash Wednesday mass in front of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, one day after 21 priests were temporarily removed from ministry by the church (see previous story).
Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (“SNAP”) protested today in front of the basilica, on Logan Circle, during Ash Wednesday services being conducted by Cardinal Justin Rigali.
“Cardinal Rigali is still more concerned about reputations of grown adults than he is about the children,” said Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP.
Martha Conaty was handing out flyers. Her son, Matthias, was abused by a priest in elementary school.
“So they just want to continue with the prayers and the music, which has been totally destroyed for our family,” Martha Conaty said.
Matthias Conaty says his goal is to help protect other children who are in the position he once was.
“And the key to that is getting all the truth out, and the black-and-white gory details are all in the documents,” he said today. “I mean, they literally call it ‘the secret archive.’ Every diocese has one, including right here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. And there is absolutely no reason why that should not be brought to the light of day.”
One protester, Father Robert Hoetson, wore a sign that read, “Name the 21.”
“They suspended 21 priests yesterday and didn’t name them,” Hoetson said. “It doesn’t help the public to be any safer, and it doesn’t help us to help the victims when they are calling us to report the abuse.”
The names of the 21 suspended priests were revealed Wednesday afternoon to CBS Philly by sources (see related story).
“The church needs to take responsibility, stop the cover-ups, acknowledge the damage that this has done to families,” said Blaine, SNAP president.
Reported by Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio 1060.