Welcome, Survivors and Supporters! 
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.

Vatican diplomatic immunity ploy to evade prosecution in child abuse blocked by US Supreme Court 
The United States Supreme Court has denied a Vatican petition to hear an Oregon clergy sexual abuse case. The decision to deny allows a civil lawsuit against the Holy See to proceed despite the Vatican’s claim of Foreign Sovereign Immunity.
“Today’s action by the Justices is an answer to the prayers of literally thousands of survivors of sexual abuse who finally have a real shot at obtaining justice, and the truth, about the complicity of Vatican leaders in covering up the criminal acts of Catholic priests against innocent children." -- Plaintiff attorney, victim advocate Jeff Anderson

Read the full news release on the SNAP Great Plains website ...

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Catholic group urges disenfranchised laity to send bishops a strong message by withholding Peter's Pence 
A group of distinguished Catholics, among whom are Fr. Thomas Doyle, and SNAPDFW's group facilitator, Lisa Kendzior, are calling on Catholics to send a strong message to their bishops in the only place it will be felt -- the collection basket.
"Catholics have no elections, recall procedures, or impeachment processes that allow them to replace those in authority. Withholding donations is the best way for a disenfranchised laity to send, with one voice, a message to church officials in the only language they understand--MONEY!

We urge Catholics to re-direct their Peter's Pence collection donation
on June 27 to a non-church charity of their choice.

The bishops have squandered our trust. We need to send them a strong message. We urge all Catholics to Send the Bishops a Message by withholding cash, check, and credit card donations on designated 'Withholding Sundays.'" -- Send the bishops a me$$age website.

Join the movement! Stop the outrage!

Visit the 'Send the bishops a me$$age" website NOW ...

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Testimony archdiocese sought to repress shows cardinal protected admitted pedophile priest from police 
Claiming that church policy at the time was to withold church knowledge of pedophile priests from the law, and that the victims, being "illegal aliens," (direct quote from the deposition) had already left the country anyway, the head of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, commented on testimony he gave concerning the molestation of children under his care.

Speaking of the church hierarchy, of which he is a high ranking member, Mahony said,
"I believed ... in our ability to treat and monitor (the pedophile priest) effectively."

The archdiocese attempted unsuccessfully to have a judge seal the document from public view.

KTLA, Los Angeles, reports today that according to church documents, the priest, Michael Baker, told Mahony in 1986 at a priests' retreat that he had molested two young boys from 1978 to 1985. Mahony did not notify police and sent Baker to a residential facility that treated priests for sexual abuse problems.

In the years that followed, Baker was assigned to nine parishes but was barred from having one-on-one contact with minors. He violated those restrictions three times, according to church personnel file summaries previously released by the archdiocese.

Baker was not removed from the priesthood until 2000, after two men filed a lawsuit alleging he sexually molested them between 1984 and 1999. He is currently serving 10 years in prison for abusing children.

Responding for SNAP to Mahony's excuse for not reporting Baker to police because the children had already left the country, Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP, said:
"This is among the most absurd excuses we've ever heard a bishop make - that he refused to call police because an admitted predator claimed the victims had left the country. The legal status of children who are molested is irrevelant and it's shameful that Mahony would claim otherwise.

If, in fact, Fr. Baker's victims had left the US, Mahony's duty to call police was even greater, since the chances that the kids themselves would contact law enforcement was virtually nil."
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times ...
Read the story on the KTLA website ...
Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response ...

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'Why I can't accept the pope's latest apology' - SNAP's Director comments on pope's year of priest speech 
"No entity can effectively police itself, least of all an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy with a widely-documented track record with predatory employees and complicit supervisors." -- SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy

Read Clohessy's complete article in Monday CNN news ...

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Law Remains Above the Law - Pedophile Protector Remains ArchPriest Under Vatican Diplomatic Immunity 
Dozens of protesters took to the sidewalks outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Sunday morning to voice their opinions on Cardinal Bernard Law.

Law resigned as Boston’s archbishop in 2003 following the clergy sex abuse crisis. Area Catholics said he knew of sexual misconduct and covered it up.

Law was transferred to Rome after his resignation where the last eight years he has been the archbishop emeritus of Boston and archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Members of National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Speak Truth To Power and People of Conscience picketed outside the Cathedral Sunday while a special mass to honor couples celebrating their gold and silver wedding anniversaries was going on.

Protesters said they wanted to remind church goers that there was something wrong about Cardinal Law being allowed to maintain his position with the Vatican.

Read more on the SNAP Great Plains website ...

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Pope's apology to victims: The Devil made us do it, as thousands of priests gather in Rome to celebrate themselves 
Implying 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

SNAP responds:
"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

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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.
Read the full Reuters News story ...

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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

Read the story and SNAP news release from June 7 ...

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Clerical abuse shows Catholic church needs nothing less than total reform, says Australian Catholic bishop 
Calling 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.

Read the entire article in the Australian Jesuit magazine Eureka Street ...

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Church pressure contributes to defeat of NY Child Victims Act for 5th consecutive year; SNAP director responds 
On 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 today 
Later 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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Innocent nun excommunicated as bishops continue to deny cover up of child abuse by priests 
As Roman priests worldwide scramble to evade prosecution for rape and the abuse of innocent children, and the Vatican's well-paid American lawyer prepares the pope's defense against charges of global complicity in these horrible crimes against humanity, an innocent catholic sister is rejected by the Catholic hierarchy for allowing an abortion to save a mother's life.
"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

Read more in the current Time Magazine cover story ...:

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Fact Sheet and Action Guide: Sexual Abuse of Women by Clergy 
"Sexual relations between clergy and congregation members is an abuse of power." So says the Fact Sheet and Action Guide: Sexual Abuse of Women by Clergy published by the National Organization for Women (NOW).

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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For Someone Awakening to the Trauma of His or Her Past  
Dear Friends,

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.

Lisa Kendzior
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.

Read Cozzens' entire commentary on NCROnline ...

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This Week in Quotes: Boston Globe columnist says clergy abuse directly tied to "inhuman asexuality" of priests 
"Catholic scandal has laid bare an essential pathology that is unique to the culture of clericalism, and mandatory celibacy is essential to it. Immaturity, narcissism, misogyny, incapacity for intimacy, illusions about sexual morality — such all-too-common characteristics of today’s Catholic clergy are directly tied to the inhuman asexuality that is put before them as an ideal." -- Catholic author and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll - Boston Globe, May 16, 2010

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This Week in Quotes: Boston Herald columnist says Roman hierarchy responsive to its victims only if forced 
"For the Catholic hierarchy, again, has made it abundantly clear: They won’t stand up for children anywhere until somebody makes them." -- Boston Herald Columnist Margery Eagan -- Sunday, May 16, 2010

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Pope's defense: Official documents are no proof; bishops not on Vatican payroll; motives too complicated for courts 
The Vatican is detailing its defense against the first U.S. case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence for the failure of bishops to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children.

Apparently grasping for legal straws, the pope's high-powered US defense lawyer is expected to detail a strategy crafted to shield the pope and his bureaucracy in Rome from prosecution for negligence in protecting victims of rape and abuse by their underlings.

According to an AP report filed yesterday, the defense, in effect, says:
  • Official secret documents do not prove coverup;
  • Vatican is not responsible for actions by US bishops, who are not paid by Rome;
  • Pope/bishop relationship is too "complicated" for courts to use in legalities designed to protect victims of the Catholic priest system.

Read the entire AP report filed earlier today ...

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Narrow culture of clericalism in the church must be eliminated, says Ireland archbishop 
Diarmuid Martin, Ireland's archbishop, seems to have reassured some abuse victims by lashing out at the clerical caste system in the Roman church in Ireland this week.

Irish Times reports that in many meetings with abuse victims and their supporters, mostly in private, Martin has earned a unique degree of trust. That may have been dented last February when, on his return from meeting the pope with the other Irish bishops in Rome, it was felt by the abused that his wings had been clipped.

But that may change after his recent remarks.
Read the entire story in the Irish Times ...

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