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.
Pope's apology to victims: The Devil made us do it, as thousands of priests gather in Rome to celebrate themselvesImplying that a world without priests is a world without God, the pope punctuated his long-awaited "apology" to the victims of priest rape and child abuse by blaming it on 'the enemy,' catholic jargon for the devil.
“It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the ‘enemy,’” Benedict XVI said. “He would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world.” - Pope Benedict XVI
"The term "the enemy" is a traditional Catholic way of referring to the Devil." -- National Catholic Reporter
"Tonight, the Pope passed up a perfect chance to:
- announce bold steps that actually safeguard children,
- urge thousands of priests to call police if they see or suspect or learn of child sex crimes, and
- acknowledge and thank the few, brave whistleblower priests like Fr. Thomas Doyle, Fr. James Scahill and others who have found the strength, courage and compassion to expose their corrupt, predatory colleagues and supervisors." -- David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director
- Read about Benedict's "apology" in the NYTimes ...
- Read SNAP Director David Clohessy's response ...
- Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response ...
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Decades of Victims attend "Year of the Priest" in Rome, say lip servant pope must do more than "apologize"
Victim of sexual abuse by a priest, Joelle Casteix , member of U.S.-based Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), holds a banner during a news conference in downtown Rome June 8, 2010. -- Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile
(Reuters) - Victims of sexual abuse by priests Tuesday demanded Pope Benedict take concrete steps to discipline clerics who have molested children, saying a public apology they expect this week from the pope will not be enough.
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SNAP director says focus of cardinal's trip to Ireland obscures real problem: a secretive, self-serving hierarchy
"Focusing on the laity, especially regarding mass attendance and confession, more than "misses the boat." The problem has been and remains a rigid, secretive, self-serving all-male monarchy that consistently puts its own comfort and reputation above the safety and well-being of its flock." -- David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP
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Clerical abuse shows Catholic church needs nothing less than total reform, says Australian Catholic bishopCalling the current crisis facing the Catholic Church arising out of sexual abuse "arguably the most serious challenge the Church has faced since the Reformation in the 16th century," an Australian bishop insists that a total systemic reform of Church structures is needed.
"An ecclesiastical environment which allowed such aberrant behaviour can no longer be tolerated." -- Pat Powers, Auxiliary Bishop, Australia April 23, 2010.
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Church pressure contributes to defeat of NY Child Victims Act for 5th consecutive year; SNAP director respondsOn Wednesday, all seven Republicans on the Codes Committee and two of the nine Democrats voted no on the state's proposed Child Victims Act, which would have allowed greater flexibility to victims of childhood sexual abuse in civil suits against their abusers.
Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx and Westchester (was) one of the Democrats who opposed the measure, which had been vigorously opposed by Catholic officials.
The other Democrat who voted no was Senator Neil D. Breslin of Albany. Senator Shirley L. Huntley, a Democrat from Queens, voted “no recommendation.”
“I think (recent public awareness of the child abuse by Roman Catholic priests scandal) actually did increase public support, but that does not always translate into legislative remedy,” said David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
Mr. Clohessy said the vote ended efforts this year in three states to pass laws suspending the statute of limitations for a limited period in sex abuse cases. Similar bills have already been defeated in Arizona and Wisconsin.
California and Delaware are the only states to have adopted such legislation, though similar laws have been proposed in about 15 states since 2002, he said.
Read the story in the NYTimes ...
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Catholic officials oppose NY Child Victims Act to prevent child abuse, expose sex abusers; Senate votes todayLater today, the NY Senate Codes Committee is expected to vote on a bill that would help prevent child sex crimes, expose child sex abusers and help those who have already been molested get justice, healing and closure.
The proposal, called the Child Victims Act, would open a one year ‘window’ to allow those under 54 years old who were sexually assaulted as children to file civil lawsuits against both the predator and any employers/supervisors who ignored or concealed the crimes. It is fiercely opposed by some Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials.
Read the SNAP statement on the national website ...
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"The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die." -- Lisa Sowle Cahill, Catholic theologian, Boston College, NPR, All Things Considered, May 19, 2010
Read the full story on the NPR website ...
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Why being pope means never having to say you're sorry: Time Magazine cover story Trial of Benedict XVI
"The crisis facing the church is deeply complicated by the fact that in 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, the future Benedict XVI appears to have mismanaged the assignment of an accused pedophile priest under his charge." -- Time Magazine cover story May 2010
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Moreover, the fact sheet reports that sexual abuse of female parishioners by clergy is an extremely prevalent problem.
A study by Dr. Pamela Cooper-White of The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, estimates that more than 95% of clergy sexual abuse victims are women. ...
Most recent study, conducted by Baylor University researchers in 2008-2009, revealed that "one in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader" (source).
Get the facts, and what you can do about them on the NOW website: Fact Sheet and Action Guide ...
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A fellow DFW SNAP member sent this to me today and I thought it was beautiful and worth sharing. It may touch you in some way as it touched me. I warn you, it may be a tear-jerker though.
For Someone Awakening to the Trauma of His or Her Past
For everything under the sun there is a time
This is the season of your awkward harvesting,
When pain takes you where you would rather not go,
Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place
You had forgotten you knew from the inside out;
And a time when that bitter tree was planted.
That has grown always invisible beside you
And whose branches your awakened hands
Now long to disentangle from your heart.
You are coming to see how your looking often darkened
When you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love,
How deep down your eyes were always owned by something.
That faced them through a dark fester of thorns
Converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong;
You could only see what touched you as already torn.
Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning.
And your memory is ready to show you everything,
Having waited all these years for you to return and know.
Only you know where the casket of pain is interred.
You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering.
And according to your readiness, everything will open.
May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide
Who can accompany you through the fear and grief
Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.
As your tears fall over that wounded place,
May they wash away your hurt and free your heart.
May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound.
So that for the first time you can walk away from that place,
Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed,
And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.
from: To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue, 2008.
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This Week in Quotes: Catholic priest, canon lawyer, survivors advocate makes poignant, personal statement
My serious questioning started when I found myself on the inside looking out as the clergy sex abuse scandal started to unfold back in 1984 ... I saw first-hand the duplicity and institutionalized lying of the self-proclaimed “successors of the Apostles”... Thomas P. Doyle, priest, Catholic canon lawyer, and Survivors Advocate - 20 May 2010
Read Tom Doyle's new and very personal faith statement on his newly revised clergy abuse bibliography ...
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This Week in Quotes: Medieval monarchy model of church allows no accountability, says catholic theologian
"As elite members of the last feudal system in the West and one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, we shouldn't be surprised if bishops, as princes of the realm, are answerable only to their sovereign, the bishop of Rome.
"If the hierarchy's royal accruements were simply vestiges of their medieval past, they might be harmless enough. But these episcopal conceits have forged a culture of privilege, secrecy, and exemption that is now exposed as a detriment to both their teaching and pastoral roles." -- Donald Cozzens, Jesuit university professor.
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