SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

"Don't Support Child Abuse" Warns Catholic Lay Group

January 22, 2003

International News Analysis Today Exclusive Report
By Toby Westerman
Copyright 2002 International News Analysis Today

One group of Chicago businessmen is denouncing U.S. Catholic religious leaders for not implementing promised reforms regarding clerical child abuse. The group urges "financial action" on the part of the laity to bring about a final resolution to the still smoldering abuse scandal in the American Catholic Church.

"No truth, no money," declared Michael Tario, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Prevention of Clergy Sex Abuse, in an exclusive interview with International News Analysis Today.com.

Tario's remarks come in advance of the the November 11 U.S. Bishops' conference, and prior to the Christmas season, when it is estimated that the Church receives some 60 percent of its donations.

Tario and the Ad Hoc Committee claim little has changed in the Catholic Church since last summer's series of lurid reports of clerical child abuse.

Tario holds little hope for the November meeting, stating that bishops, "know all [about the details of the clerical abuse scandal] -- but do nothing about it."

Tario is calling upon all Catholics -- especially those who have suffered clerical abuse -- to stop giving money to those who perpetrate or continue to "cover-up" abuse, and "redirect their funds to worthy individuals and groups."

"Don't just drop your money in the basket -- you know part of that money is going to cover-up the problem of clerical abuse -- send your money where you know it does some good," Tario declared.

Tario and the Ad Hoc Committee avoid "ideological" labels when suggesting alternatives to the traditional collection basket, and groups cited for giving include Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, and those seeking to "tell the truth" about clerical abuse, including Roman Catholic Faithful, SNAP, Linkup, Helpsavethekids.com, and others who "speak the truth."

The Ad Hoc Committee for the Prevention of Clergy Sex Abuse, however, accepts no contributions.

"Money is central….it takes a lot of money" to finance and protect the clerical abuse within the Church, Tario stated.

Although a number of priests have gone to prison for abusive behavior, no bishop has been charged with any crime, despite repeated reports of personal misconduct by some bishops. Several news sources have also documented a widespread pattern of concealment of clerical abuse in many dioceses.

Tario voiced his frustration with the Archdiocese of Chicago over the treatment of clerical abuse victims and their parents, despite purported pledges of reform by the bishops. "I know of four victims dealing with the [Archdiocese] board [for child abuse], and they're still getting the run around," said Tario.

Tario denounced so-called "gag" restraints, provisions used across the country in child abuse settlements that prevent the parents of victim children from ever publicly discussing the incident or settlement.

Should these provisions be violated, the settlement would be voided, and parents of the abused child would be open to a lawsuit by attorneys for the diocese.

Tario explained that the true extent of clerical abuse, and the identities of habitual perpetrators, remain hidden because of these legal restraints. The Ad Hoc Committee is seeking to remove all "gag" provisions, as well as open Archdiocesan files to determine the identity of perpetrators, and remove them from contact with children.

"We can't get to the files, and 'gag' agreements are still in effect," Tario stated. "The bishops were supposed to end the use of 'gag'agreements, but we know that these agreements been used since Dallas," Tario stated.

One member of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Prevention of Clergy Sex Abuse lashed out against what he sees as a continuing culture of child abuse within most dioceses in the U.S.

"The bishops are defending an act which would get you killed in prison," said a committee member who requested anonymity, referring to the brutal -- and sometimes deadly -- treatment child abusers encounter in prison.

This committee member is currently assisting individuals whose children have been assaulted by Archdiocesan clergy, and he remains highly informed on developments regarding clerical abuse in Chicago and the U.S.

Until the Ad Hoc Committee's demands are met, Tario is calling for Catholics to "redirect" their financial contributions.

Catholics must ask, "Why am I subsidizing this?" Tario stated, and advises fellow Catholics, "if you give money to those covering up child abuse, you subsidize the abuse of children."

Citing the success of German and Polish groups which have withheld financial assistance to corrupt churchmen, Tario states that the "redirection of money" is the "only antidote" to widespread abuse in the American Catholic Church.

The Ad Hoc Committee for the Prevention of Clergy Sex Abuse may be reached at 312-542-8005.

Copyright 2003 International News Analysis

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