A message from SNAPDFW’s facilitator, Lisa Kendzior
Acknowledge your courage
It takes courage to acknowledge that we’ve been abused and it is not easy to even admit it to ourselves. Just browsing this website is a big step.
Know that you are not alone!
If you’ve been victimized by clergy, please know that you are not alone. You can get better. You can reach out to others who’ve been hurt just like you have.
Together, we can heal one another.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 66-0. A similar bill overwhelmingly passed the House last week. Katharine Tinucci, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Dayton, said in an email that she expects the governor will sign it.
Past victims of child sexual abuse said the vote was a relief after years of similar yet unsuccessful efforts to achieve it.
Read more about this monumental achievement in survivors' rights and Justice:
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The shake-up comes a week after it was disclosed that Michael Fugee, a priest of the neighboring Archdiocese of Newark, had been involved with a youth group in defiance of an agreement that bars him from ministering to children or holding any position in which children are involved. Fugee, 52, agreed to the terms in 2007 to avoid retrial on charges that he abused a 13-year-old boy. The Newark Archdiocese also signed on to the agreement, pledging to supervise Fugee and to keep him away from children.
But the supervision was, at best, lax, allowing the priest to interact with minors not only at St. Mary’s but at Holy Family Catholic Church in Nutley, N.J., where Fugee is friends with the pastor.
Read the full story in the Huffington Post
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Release of the material was due largely to the determination of a boy (now 38) who was sexually abused when making his first confession at the age of 8 in his home parish in Mokena, Ill. His lawyer, Terrence Johnson, said getting the records "was the worst, most abusive process of discovery I've ever seen."
"Sure. Sex and the priests, let's blast it all over the place. Never let it go." -- Joseph Imesch, Joliet bishop during the abuse, after being confronted by the Tribune
"(This) was the worst, most abusive process of discovery I've ever seen." -- Terence Johnson, victim's attorney
Read 'Files detail decades of abuse in Joliet Diocese' in the Chicago Tribune ...
Ready 'Major sex abuse uncovered in Joliet, Ill., diocese' in National Catholic Reporter ...
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"Many bishops in Latin America have covered up and have denied having abuse in their countries. ... a secret kept by the Catholic hierarchy and that is repeated in many countries in Latin America. ...
"In Chile there are 32 bishops and at least half of them have covered up abuse. ... They are still not taking it seriously.
"It is very difficult in Latin America because of the culture of reverence to the Catholic Church and the power that it has in the region ... it is very difficult to bring something up and not have it crushed by judges that are easily dominated by these groups.
"There are reports of abuse in several Latin American countries but the power and control that the Church exercises there is so much that they are constantly crushed and denied.
"We need a Pope that deals with the powerful and secretive bishops like the ones in Latin America and has the courage to confront them and let so many good priests take the reins of a ship that is sinking in the region."
Read the entire post on the SNAP Network website ...
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13 March 2013
"It is always hopeful when someone new takes office. We often assume that the new person will be better than the last person, especially in a scandal ridden institution.
But that assumption is reckless. There’s no guarantee that a new person means a new direction.
Our hope is that the new Pope is that he will be bold and courageous in tackling the centuries-old and ongoing abuse and cover up crisis in the church. It’s long-standing, deeply-entrenched and tragically pervasive. Real reform may well take decades.
To help the institution he loves, Pope Benedict resigned. We hope that this pope will take similarly radical steps to protect children.
Actions, not words protect kids. While long on words, apologies and promises, Benedict was short on decisive action. We hope his successor will be different. We strongly urge him to start by harshly disciplining prelates who are enabling or have enabled child molesting clerics, be they priests, nuns, seminarians, bishops or cardinals.
And we urge Catholics to judge him on the concrete steps he may take to stop the abuse and cover-up, not on the vague pledges he may make about the crisis.
We in SNAP will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard children, expose wrongdoing and heal victims. We will keep working to hold those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children responsible, and see that they are prosecuted and convicted and kept away from kids. We will vigorously push to reform predator friendly abuse laws, so that more wounded victims can warn families and protect kids through the justice system. We beg compassionate and concerned Catholics to join us in this struggle.
No one man caused this crisis; no one man can remedy it either. Every single person who sees, suspects or suffers child sex crimes in the church must report, and preferably to secular authorities, not church figures. Complacency protects no one. Only vigilance protects the vulnerable."
Read the post on the SNAPNetwork website ...
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BishopAccountability.org provides a valuable service by providing facts about clergy sex abuse. They do this without being partisan and without skewing information. They are archivists of information, not any sort of propaganda organization. It is one thing for Vatican officials to turn a blind eye to these facts, as they have done for years, but it is quite another to attempt to prevent others from seeing them as well, particularly by lying about its content.
The very name of this organization (BISHOPS ACCOUNTABILITY) shows exactly what church officials are afraid of; being held accountable for their decades of inaction on clergy sex abuse. Today, they finally took action, but once again, it was the wrong one. By refusing to allow themselves to be held accountable, they prove ever more how it is true that it is people, not polices that are the problem.
This is a cowardly move, and it should be known as such. We applaud BishopAccountability.org in their work, and the fact that they are trying to be silenced today proves just how much of an impact they have made, and despite this setback, will continue to make.
(Note: The report says It is still possible to access the website from non-Vatican controlled servers. Only Vatican servers are blocking the site).
Read 'Access to clergy sex abuse site limited at Vatican' in the National Catholic Reporter ...
Read 'ITALY - Victims praise abuse archive; question Vatican censorship' on the SNAP national website
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A new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicates that American Catholics see sex abuse by clergy as the church's biggest problem.
In addition, Roman Catholics in the United States say that their church and bishops are out of touch according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
Despite the church's claims of reform in this regard, Catholics polled said the Vatican and the pope have done a worse job handling reports of sexual abuse (69%) compared to 2010 (55 %), when the scandal flared in Europe.
Read 'Sex Abuse Biggest Problem In Catholic Church, U.S. Catholics Say In New Surveys' in the Huffington Post ...
Read ' U.S. Catholics in Poll See a Church Out of Touch' in the NYTimes ...
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O'Brien previously denied the allegations through his spokesman. On Saturday, he released a statement acknowledging the abuse and asking forgiveness.
As a Roman Catholic cardinal, appointed by Benedict XVI, O'Brien was entitled to take part in the secret vote to determine the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church
However, he recused himself from the conclave following news reports of allegations of abusive and unwanted sexual contact with three priests and one former priest. The incidents are reported to have occurred over the past 30 years.
Read the full account in 'Scottish cardinal admits improper sexual conduct' on the National Catholic Reporter website ...
Read 'Don't call it an affair. Call it what it is - the illegal and dehumanizing abuse of professional religious power ' here on the SNAPDFW website ...
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Like all UN member states signing the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Vatican is required by international law to submit regular reports on its efforts to safeguard child rights, well-being and dignity.
But the Vatican has ignored these repeated UN requests to file their report for over 15 years.
The UN committee has summoned the Vatican to answer questions about its record of ensuring children are protected from sexual violence. This is the first time the Holy See will have been called to account for its actions on these issues before an international body with authority. The first meeting will take place in Geneva in June.
SNAP FILES ALTERNATE REPORT
On 28 February 2013 the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed an alternate report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child documenting the ongoing worldwide sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
“When the Committee on the Rights of the Child meets in June and demands answers from the Vatican on its handling of the epidemic of sexual violence in the church, it will be a historic day for survivors. The church has put itself and its reputation above the welfare of children at every step, in many cases knowingly moving a pedophile priest from one congregation to the next to keep things quiet, allowing the priest to continue to operate and have contact with children. This UN body has authority to determine whether the Holy See has violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a long overdue calling to account.” -- Pam Spees, Senior Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
According to the UNICEF website Unite for Children, filing the report is a legally binding, international responsibility:
""The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too." Unite for Children, UNICEF
- NSAC Editorial: Yet Another Deadline Passes, Still No Report
- Vatican 13 years delinquent in submitting legally required UN report on 'Rights of the Child'
- SNAP petitions international court to investigate the pope and top Vatican officials for possible crimes against humanity
- Amnesty International human rights report lists Vatican for failure to protect children
- Vatican 2010 priorities: protect assets; ignore 'Rights of the Child'
- Moral bankruptcy of Roman hierarchy read into record of United Nations Human Rights Council
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So writes one of only two (the other being Benedict XVI) still living Vatican II Roman Catholic theologians, Hans Küng.
Writing in the New York Times this week, Küng speculates on the future of the Roman church. He also reflects on the broken papacy of his one time colleague, Joseph Ratzinger:
"The major scandals during his papacy are known: there was Benedict’s recognition of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s arch-conservative Society of St. Pius X, which is bitterly opposed to the Second Vatican Council, as well as of a Holocaust denier, Bishop Richard Williamson.
There was the widespread sexual abuse of children and youths by clergymen, which the pope was largely responsible for covering up when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. And there was the “Vatileaks” affair, which revealed a horrendous amount of intrigue, power struggles, corruption and sexual lapses in the Curia, and which seems to be a main reason Benedict has decided to resign."
If the next conclave were to elect a pope who goes down the same old road, the church will never experience a new spring, but fall into a new ice age and run the danger of shrinking into an increasingly irrelevant sect.-- Vatican II theologian Hans Küng in the New York Times
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Barbara Boehland said her son killed himself after suffering sexual abuse from a priest while he was a student.
Boehland is the director of the San Antonio chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The organization has asked the international crime court to open up an investigation requesting the prosecution of high-level Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI and several of his cardinals, as criminally responsible for aiding and abetting these crimes.
This includes moving priests to different locations after an alleged sexual incident has happened.
Boehland hopes that this investigation can stop any other families from going through the pain that she is dealing with.
Read the full story 'Pope Benedict named in sexual abuse lawsuit' on the San Antonio CBS affiliate website ...
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When persons in positions of power — counselors, pastors, physicians — attempt to engage in sexual relationships with those over whom they have authority, the relationship is not consensual ... the act is legally defined as abuse because of the authority the professional holds.
-- Diana Garland, Dean of Baylor University School of Social Work
SNAPDFW not only supports and advocates for survivors of clergy abuse occurring in childhood, but for adults abused by clergy as well.
In an article published in the Waco, Texas Tribune on January 24, 2010, guest columnist Diana Garland, Dean of Baylor University School of Social Work, addresses the highly misunderstood issue of abuse perpetrated upon adults who trust in the care of their clergy.
"Clergy sexual misconduct with adults is a more nuanced issue than the sexual abuse of children. Sexual involvement of an adult with a child is always wrong because we know that children are not developmentally able to give consent. Because adults always have authority over children, children cannot “just say no” to adults.
When the sexual offense occurs between adults, however, we assume that if there is no physical coercion, the relationship is consensual. In fact, however, when persons in positions of power — counselors, pastors, physicians — attempt to engage in sexual relationships with those over whom they have authority, the relationship is not consensual. The feelings or willingness of the victim are irrelevant; the act is legally defined as abuse because of the authority the professional holds."
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