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Belief Beat

Pope Watch: Clergy Abuse Victims Respond to Vatican Defense

As I predicted yesterday, the clergy and commentators defending Pope Benedict’s response to the clergy sex abuse scandal — including a legal defense being planned in the U.S. — has fueled a backlash from victims and their supporters.

After the American bishops affirmed that they “stand with” the pope and the Vatican’s handling of the pedophile priest problem, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, aka SNAP, issued an outraged press release:


Instead of exposing predators and helping victims, America’s bishops busy themselves with self-congratulations and public relations. They tout their plentiful but largely ineffective policies, panels and procedures which were adopted as public relations moves. Since 2002, they have done little but water down and increasingly ignore their pledges of greater openness, confident that ‘the wave has crested’ and they have little to fear from more victims, lawsuits, prosecutions or media exposes.
Once again, bishops still refuse to use the words “bishop” or “cover up” when talking about a crisis caused by bishops covering up. This statement, like so many others, tries to minimize this crisis, blaming only the predators and ignoring their corrupt supervisors.


SNAP also announced that a chapter of the Chicago-based group is forming in England, which should make Pope Benedict’s September travel plans — the first official visit to Britain by a pope — more interesting.

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posted March 31, 2010 at 9:29 am

criminals (pedophile priests) should be prosecuted.
those who aid, abet, cover up, shuffle around serial criminals, or refuse to help criminal investigations of criminal behaviour, should be prosecuted, (Catholic Bishops, Cardinals).
those who blame, ignore, or vilify the victims should be what? ashamed? (the Vatican)

report abuse


posted March 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

absolute drivel. SNAP is an organization of the perpetually wounded out for self agrandizement. Prosecuted by whom? Martha Coakley? As attorney general responsible for prosecuting cases in Massachusetts during Cardinal Law’s time she refused to file charges. Why isn’t she being dragged into court to face indictment. Obama vociferously supports partial birth abortions. What is worse? A mudered child or an abused one? If your logic is consistent he should be arrested and indicted. It is obvious that the knee jerk know it alls on the left are targeting Benedict to try to silence the church and they want to do it by their rules. sorry. ain’t going to fly.

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Charles Cosimano

posted March 31, 2010 at 11:33 am

It is not necessary to silence the Catholic Church. It is only necessary to cause everyone to laugh at it anytime one of the large sewer rats called Bishops says anything in its defense.

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joe gonzalez

posted March 31, 2010 at 12:49 pm

What is so astounding that the catholic church want to cover its behind in all this unsavory and criminal mess ? The church is a regal institution, that is, it is based on monarchy. Monarchy hardly ever surrendered to public scrutiny. One of the church’s great writers and representatives, Josef Pieper, holds that monarchy is the ideal type of government. Also, another vow that clergy take – bishops, priests,- the whole lot, is obedience to their superiors. You break the vow, out you go. Out on the street ; and let’s not forget that all the clergy get their bread and butter from the church.
We’re a democracy – our dominant structural form is declared to be so.
Yet look at the current economic HUGE ( let no one fool you )crisis. brought on by the relentless greed of the big banks, financiers and money worshippers, it has left us in the brink, tottering. Countless people without jobs or homes ; what have we done to punish and make the guilty make amends ? We rewarded the guilty with backwards-socialism ; all we taxpayers put up out of our pockets more than we can ever afford to right their abominable deeds. Who, in the present government ( and the republicans would be thrice as bad ) has had any success in curbing the big banks and corporations, in regulating them ? Not a one. Nothing’s changed. We’re in the same state we were in before the crisis, with all the precipitants of the crisis still in place. Those in the know ( the silent minority because no one will listen to them ) tell us that, definitively, there’s another crisis coming soon. Makes sense. Yet, it seems like : who cares ? everything will right itself in the end. NO. Norman Mailer told us a long time ago : ‘ everything DOES NOT have to come out right in the end.” Are we hopeless romantics or just easy to dupe fools ? So who is surprised that a hierarchy like the church gets away with what it does and did ? WE have the means – the institutionalized means – to do something about what’s utterly and indiscriminately destroying us, and we’re doing nothing. Shame on the church forever ! Shame on our government !

report abuse


posted March 31, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Correct name of our group is the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is simply to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
– David Clohessy, Executive Director, SNAP-Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143 (314 566 9790),, SNAPclohessy@aol.

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posted April 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm

You do not heal the wounded by practicing viral Woundology. Healing comes from nuturing, caring, realization, understanding and ultimately from forgiveness and graduation. It does not come from organizational brouhaha, demonstrations, endless court actions, rabid lawyers, rabble rousing or continuing to keep the wounds open for self serving interests. Caroline Myss has written several outstanding works on the ‘culture’ of woundology, its unfortunate consequences and how to heal the wounds and move on. Paid executives from self perpetuating organizations, no matter how henious the victimization do nothing to heal anyone.

report abuse


posted April 3, 2010 at 12:43 am

SNAP, and it’s mission “to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded” is especially vital today, since the Catholic Church is more committed to damage control and protecting it’s moral image, than it is to acknowledging it’s moral failings…a theme that it preaches
to it’s faithful followers, but absolutely fails to see in itself.
Denial breeds more denial and mistrust. So, really, how can anyone
believe the Catholic Church is in a postion to preach morality when their Bishops, clergy and even the titan figurehead himself, the Pope, perpetrated, or allowed to have perpetrated, the most horrific crimes against the most trusting and vulnerable members of their flock…kids. The Church should be so lucky that an organization like SNAP exists.

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