Thursday, March 15, 2012

Church Using Priests' Cases to Pressure Victims' Network

Comment:  I wholeheartedly agree ..."SNAP has done more good for the church than the many hundreds of lawyers....."   and will send a donation.....

SNAP and the Bishops: Shooting the Messenger
The Monitor
March 13, 2012

Dear Friends,
I'm sure most of you have seen today's New York Times article entitled "Church Using Priests' Cases to Pressure Victims' Network.”
I hope that you'll consider responding to this important article by adding your comments on the NY Times site and by visiting the SNAP website too. SNAP deserves our financial and moral support.
The Catholic church in the United States has always played two games with individual survivors of abuse by its clergy -- pastoral softball and legal hardball. But now we have confirmation from a straight-talking, knowledgeable player, William Donohue of the Catholic League, that SNAP as an organization is being targeted:
“The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”
The USCCB has issued a denial, but there is ample corroboration for Mr. Donohue's assessment.
I would argue that, far from being a "menace to the Catholic Church," SNAP has done more good for the church than the many hundreds of lawyers and PR experts on diocesan payrolls. As a Catholic as well as an archivist, I believe that SNAP has performed two great services:
- SNAP has provided a community of solace for survivors of clergy abuse, both in its national and local meetings, and for the much larger group of survivors who don't go to meetings but are grateful to have SNAP's support. Helping the survivors of abuse is the responsibility of every Catholic layperson and cleric. SNAP is doing the church's work.
- SNAP has provided a way for survivors of abuse to talk about what they've suffered, and as a result, many hundreds of newspaper articles have been written, revealing a truth that would otherwise have festered. Without survivors' honesty and SNAP's advocacy, there would be no Charter and Norms, and hundreds of offending priests would still be in ministry.
Someday, I believe that SNAP's achievements, and their leading role in the worldwide movement for children's rights, will earn Barbara Blaine and David Clohessy the Nobel Peace Prize. The Catholic church, which has benefited greatly from SNAP's honesty and persistence, should take the lead in acknowledging their contribution.
All best,
Terence McKiernan

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