The Diocese of Brooklyn is demanding an immediate public apology from “Saturday Night Live” and NBC after Saturday night’s disgraceful and offensive skit in which cast member Pete Davidson, during the Weekend Update segment, said: “If you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan?” The statement clearly shocked the studio audience as gasps could be heard off camera.
Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church. The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions. The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.
The clergy sex abuse crisis is shameful, and no one should ever get a laugh at the expense of the victims who have suffered irreparably. The Diocese of Brooklyn strives every day to ensure that sexual abuse by clergy never happens again.
For nearly two decades, the Diocese of Brooklyn has taken this crisis seriously and instituted widespread changes mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Those changes include a zero-tolerance policy in which any clergy member credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is permanently removed from ministry. Since 2002, the Diocese of Brooklyn has shared all of its files and allegations against clergy with the District Attorneys of Brooklyn and Queens. In 2004, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio instituted a reporting line that sends reports directly to law enforcement authorities.
The charter also mandates sexual abuse awareness training for all clergy members, teachers, parish/academy/school employees, catechists and volunteers who work directly with children. Employees and volunteers also must agree to initial and ongoing criminal background checks and must sign a code of conduct.
To help victims, the Office of Victim Assistance provides referrals for therapy, support groups for survivors and an annual Healing Mass to pray for all who have been impacted by sexual abuse. The diocese also started the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program as another possible mechanism for healing that may help bring closure to victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
It is likely that no other institution has done more than the Catholic Church to combat and prevent sexual abuse. The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.