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.
Our first concern today as we alert our readers to the release of the John Jay Report is for the survivors and their families and for the families of those who committed suicide as it will be a day with increased news coverage about sexual abuse which brings with it the searing tearing at scars, the churning of memories, the trauma of flashback, and quite simply, pain. We renew our commitment to walk with you."
We join with NSAC today in this commitment to Survivors.
Read the full NSAC editorial ...
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Citing "the blame Woodstock" explanation, the report has outraged survivor and victims advocates worldwide.
Among the outrages, say the survivors, is the continuing attempt of the Roman hierarchy to redefine 'pedophile' in the public's mind as someone attracted to children under 10. This skews the numbers to imply that a significantly fewer number of Catholic priest perpetrators are actually "pedophiles."
The implication, of course, is that rape of older children is somehow less heinous than rape of younger children -- further implying that the older the children are, the more complicit in their own rapes they are, and the less culpable the priests are.
This is completely consistent with Catholic theology which places the "age of reason" -- i.e. the age at which a child can be guilty of a "mortal sin," punishable by eternal damnation -- somewhere between 7 and 10 years of age. It is part and parcel of a co-dependent and abusive environment within which all Catholics are raised.
Read all about the report and the responses from victims and survivors advocates world wide by following the links below:
- NYtimes: Church Report Cites Social Tumult in Priest Scandals ...
- Action3News Omaha: New Report Outrages Sex Abuse Victims
- 3 victims respond to new church abuse report
- 4 fallacies in new bishop’s abuse report - SNAP
- New bishops document on abuse released; SNAP responds
- SNAP: Bishops to issue “blame-shifting” report
- Ten reasons the Vatican’s new abuse guidelines will change little
- New Vatican child sex abuse guidelines; SNAP responds
- Victims rap Vatican child sex abuse guidelines
- What the Vatican COULD have done today; SNAP responds
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This marked the first time the Vatican was named in the group's Annual Report on the state of human rights around the world. The 2011 Annual Report covered human rights in 157 countries, looking particularly at rights abuses and restrictions and at failures to implement international rights' agreements.
The report, released May 13, said, "The Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children," specifically regarding sex abuse.
"Canon law does not include an obligation for church authorities to report cases to civil authorities for criminal investigation. Secrecy is mandatory throughout the proceedings," the Amnesty report said.
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WHAT THE POPE CAN DO TO PROTECT CHURCH ASSETS:
Sept 22, 2010 -- Irish Times Headline
Dec 30, 2010 -- Irish Times Headline:
WHAT THE POPE HAS DONE TO PROTECT CHILDREN
Jul 15, 2010 - Associated Press
May 5, 2010 -- NYTimes
May 16, 2011 -- National Catholic Reporter
May 16, 2011 -- SNAP National Website
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Fr. Patrick Conway is a smart, well-educated man. He knew child molestation was a crime. He knew suspected crimes should be reported to police. But he didn’t.
Read Peter Isely's full statement on the SNAP national website ...
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Reilly, who died in 1999, was a priest at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington from 1969 through 1987. He retired in 1987 and moved to Philadelphia.
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Calling Morris' removal "profoundly disheartening," the auxiliary bishop of Brisbane, Brian Finnigan, who was asked to oversee the Toowoomba diocese while a permanent replacement is found, issued a statement praising Morris' service, particularly his handling of a sexual abuse case in which students at a Toowoomba Catholic school were assaulted by a teacher. Morris quickly accepted legal liability for the abuse, sparing the victims a court trial. "The good work that Bishop Morris has done to address the needs of the victims will continue into the future," Finnigan said.
Once again the motives of Rome become patently clear.
Read the complete AP story ...
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Yet Roman hierarch Bernard Law, who presided over the Boston sex abuse scandal of 2001, continues to sit on the arch-priest throne of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome -- enjoying full international diplomatic immunity from prosecution for covering up American catholic clergy abuse crimes, thanks to "Blessed" John Paul II.
Now, the current pope has fired Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese, west of Brisbane in Australia. Morris recently published an open letter saying he was being removed for a 2006 message to the faithful in which he argued that a shortage of priests should prompt the church to consider ordaining women and married men.
This papacy has made its intentions and motives in the world wide priest sex abuse crisis patently clear: protect the priesthood - the all male, ostensibly celibate fraternity, and the international monarchy which presides over it -- not the children.
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This a historic achievement.-- SNAP Press Statement, 22 April, 2011
"This a historic achievement. It is the first time ever that the Vatican is being forced by secular authorities to turn over clergy sex abuse documents."
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"One fact to consider: On May 27, 2004, John Paul named ex-Boston Cardinal Bernard Law as head of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, giving him the title archpriest. That appointment came less than two years after John Paul accepted Law's resignation from his Boston post -- a move prompted by Law's repeated failure to remove pedophile priests from the ministry." -- Huffington Post, 25 April, 2011
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"Next Sunday, two days after the Kate and William show, another European spectacle will unfold: Pope Benedict XVI will preside over the beatification for the man he revered, the first time in a millennium that a pope has elevated his immediate predecessor and the swiftest ascension toward sainthood on record.
Hoping to get a P.R. boost by resurrecting John Paul’s magic, Benedict fast-tracked the process, waiving the usual five-year wait before starting.
But it won’t take away the indelible stain left by a global sex scandal that continues to sulfurously bubble as we celebrate Easter." -- Maureen Dowd, NYTimes
Read Hold the Halo by Maureen Dowd in today's NYTimes ...
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"But the Catholic Church risks breeding insensitivity by segregating its diocesan priests and bishops from the world of wives, children and the loving sex that begets them. It risks sending the message that those human joys would somehow sully their vocations — that those things are inferior to the priesthood, and so protecting the holy fraternity is what matters most during a crisis like the sexual abuse plague." ...
"Mandatory celibacy has led to an unnecessary isolation of our clergy — and, in turn, to the harmful sense of clerical superiority we've seen so much of during the abuse crisis."
Palm Sunday Plea: Let Priests Marry
By TIM PADGETT-TIME Sunday, Apr. 17, 2011
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FRONTLINE examines a little-known chapter of the Catholic Church sex abuse story -- decades of abuse of Native Americans by priests and other church workers in Alaska. Through candid interviews with survivors, this FRONTLINE report focuses on the abuse by a number of men who worked for the Church along Alaska's far west coast in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
All told, they would leave behind a trail of hundreds of claims of abuse, making this one of the hardest hit regions in the country. As part of FRONTLINE's new magazine program, The Silence airs as the second segment on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS.
The Silence is a co-presentation with Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT).
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SNAP and Boston-based research group BishopAccountability.org together are disclosing this newly-uncovered 18-page report by a Philadelphia grand jury. It resulted from a 2001-2003 investigation of abuse and cover-up in the Philadelphia Archdiocese -- preceding the 2005 and 2011 reports. Its harsh conclusions were sealed by a judge until the second grand jury investigation in 2005. Its findings were given to that subsequent grand jury.
Child endangerment charges, however, did not result until the 3rd grand jury recently indicted the diocese and its key administrator in the recent report.
Read the 2001 Grand Jury report (PDF)
Event: Victims disclose a THIRD Philly grand jury report
SNAP statement on newly-disclosed THIRD Philly grand jury report on clergy sex cover-ups
Fact sheet on the FIRST grand jury report (from 2002-03, previously undisclosed) on clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Philadelphia Archdiocese
Read the story of the 2011 grand jury posted on this site ...
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The settlement is one of the largest in the Catholic church's sweeping sex abuse scandal.
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However, despite the American Catholic hierarchy's repeated pledges to be “open and transparent” in clergy sexual abuse cases, the Catholic Religious order suspending Corapi failed to announce the move, only doing so in reaction to Corapi self-righteously announcing the suspension himself in an apparent ploy to play the media in his own defense.
"Catholics deserve better. The vulnerable need better. Bishops have promised better. But secrecy about alleged sexual misconduct continues to be “job one” for many Catholic officials." -- David Clohessy, SNAP national director
Urging anyone with any information or suspicions about Corapi to contact criminal authorities, not church authorities,SNAP director David Clohessy said,
Catholics deserve better. The vulnerable need better. Bishops have promised better. But secrecy about alleged sexual misconduct continues to be “job one” for many Catholic officials.
We've long been skeptical of these sort of 'freelance,' traveling priests who seem to foster a cult of personality and apparently get little or no real supervision.
Popular and charismatic priests have extraordinary power over devout Catholics, including adults. It's important to remember that Catholics are raised from birth to think of priests as holy, celibate men who can forgive sins and get us into heaven. This gives priests tremendous power over lay people.
Corapi, though apparently not accused of molesting kids, seems a lot like Fr. Ken Roberts of Dallas, who also claimed to have overcome a life of debauchery and became religious, then traveled the country engaging in sexual misconduct.
We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Corapi finds the strength to come forward and the wisdom to contact independent sources of help – police, prosecutors, therapists, loved ones and support groups like ours – instead of church officials.
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Germans who were sexually abused as children will now have up to 30 years after their 21st birthday to bring their perpetrators before the courts.
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Has the Zero-Tolerance policy been an unmitigated success in preventing perpetrators from having access to new victims? NO, mainly because secretly the church hierarchy is still completely mobilized to protect their own political power in the church – nothing else matters to them." -- James Jenkins, Ph.D
James Jenkins, as chair of the SF archdiocesan review board from 2000-05, was closely involved in the Roman hierarchy's response to the beginnings of the 2002 US priest sex abuse crisis.
In his guest opinion on the NSAC website, Jenkins reports that "no-tolerance" was a ploy, and has largely failed.
He ends his insider analysis saying, "History will continue to repeat itself until Catholics take matters into their own hands and forever reform the priesthood from parish to pope, as we have known it."
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The lawsuits mirror accusations made by city prosecutors in a grand jury report last month that led several priests to be charged with rape and, in a rare move, a church official to be charged with child endangerment.
Monday's suit, filed by a 32-year-old Arizona man, is the second that names the late Monsignor John E. Gillespie as the abuser. A 2005 grand jury report said Gillespie was alleged to have committed abuse, but frustrated prosecutors concluded the deadlines had passed to file criminal charges.
The "John Doe" who sued Monday said Gillespie had abused him from 1988 to 1991, when he was an altar boy at the Our Lady of Calvary parish in northeast Philadelphia. Gillespie continued to work around children despite repeated complaints to the archdiocese, and even after Gillespie was sent for sex-abuse treatment sometime before 1991, the suit said.
The 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report alleges that Gillespie's abuse dated as far back as 1957. He resigned from his parish assignment in 2000, after then-Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua determined he was a risk, but remained active in ministry, the suit said.
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The nuns say they have tried for more than five years to withdraw from the Boston archdiocese pension fund so they could set up a separate, pension plan for their U.S. lay employees.
The nuns claim in their lawsuit that the trustees, including O'Malley, did not keep separate records for the separate groups in the fund, which has complicated efforts to get a full accounting.
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"This is huge," said plaintiff attorney Jeff Anderson.
The court said that the plaintiff sufficiently pleaded rape and sexual abuse of children as “…cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” and crimes against humanity.
The suit names a US Catholic cardinal (Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles) and a Mexican cardinal, as well as the alleged predator, a priest for their roles in the sexual abuse of a Mexican man as a boy in 1997.
The decision means the California court will hear claims about sexual abuse that occurred in Mexico, with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles named as a defendant.
The Alien Tort Statute was enacted by the first US Congress in 1789. It reads in its entirety: “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. sec.1350.
It has been used to target human rights violations in a number of contexts, but is reportedly the first time the law has been used against the Catholic church.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs are Jeff Anderson & Associates in St. Paul, Mn.
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