Abuse victims group apologizes over 'Dirty Dozen' jibe
Clergy sex abuse victims on Friday apologized for describing 12 potential papal candidates as a "dirty dozen" over their alleged failure to do enough to tackle pedophile priests.
The US-based Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (SNAP) borrowed the name of the famous 1967 movie to refer to 12 cardinals who it said had in the past protected pedophile priests or made offensive public statements.
However the group's choice of language provoked an angry response from Canada's Quebec Diocese, whose Cardinal Marc Ouellet was among those named on the blacklist.
When translated into French, "The Dirty Dozen" contains a crude term, which angered many in the church. The Quebec Diocese said it had received numerous complaints after SNAP's statement.
The support group apologized for the furor on Friday -- but pointedly stated it should not deflect attention way from the key issue.
"We sincerely apologize for offending anyone by using the phrase 'dirty dozen'," SNAP said in a statement.
"We are a staff of three abuse victims working very hard to protect kids, help victims, expose wrongdoers and deter cover ups in a huge, powerful, global institution.
"We simply are incapable of monitoring how a 40-year-old movie title translates into multiple languages and slang expressions.
"We hope Catholics and citizens, in Canada and elsewhere, will focus on what we believe really matters."
SNAP said the 12 cardinals, who are all considered to be contenders to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, were guilty of failing to take decisive action against pedophile priests.
It reiterated its claim that Cardinal Ouellet had sought to cover-up a case involving Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien.
"Cardinal Ouellet's conduct with Cardinal O'Brien is more of what church officials have done for decades: acting slowly, tepidly and deceptively in sexual misconduct cases," SNAP said. "Ouellet has known of the allegations for months. He kept them silent for months."