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.

Ratzinger papacy investigates again: this time, Medjugorjan Blessed Virgin 'sightings' targeted by inquisitors 
Adding the mystics of Medjugorje to his potential heretic hit-list -- along with gay seminarians and "uppity" women in genuine ministries -- the German pope has cranked up the smoke and mirrors intended to further enshroud the sexual perversion crisis of the imploding Roman priesthood and its hierarchy, exacerbated by the pope himself and his own secretive, blame-throwing, ideologically absolutist regime.

BBC News and the American Paulist Catholic news outlet CathNewsUSA report that in March, 2010 the Vatican announced that a 20-strong commission will report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Inquisition) on claims that the Virgin Mary appears on a daily basis in a town in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

It is said she speaks in Croatian, uttering the words: “I’ve come because there are many true believers here. I wish to be with you to convert and reconcile the whole world.”

The Roman Church, under the Polish and German papacies, has long debated the credibility of the sightings. So the timing of this commission must give any mature observer of world events pause.
Read the story in the BBC report 'Vatican investigates Bosnia "apparition" of Virgin Mary' ...
Read the CathNewsUSA story 'Vatican announces Medjugorje investigation' ...

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Vatican 13 years delinquent in submitting legally required UN report on 'Rights of the Child' 
On 20 November 2009, the global community celebrated the 20th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the unique document that sets international standards for the care, treatment and protection of all individuals below age 18.

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.

But the Vatican has ignored repeated UN requests to file the report for years.

In 2009, a Vatican official announced to a UN assembly that the long-delinquent report was being "finalized as we speak."

Not so. The head of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child told the Associated Press just this month (July, 2010) that:
"... the UN required Vatican report "is now almost 13 years overdue."


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

Read 'Vatican breaks UN treaty on children's safety; SNAP responds' on the SNAP national website ...
Download the 16 page executive summary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child from the UNICEF website ...
For more on the CRC, visit Unite for Children on the UNICEF website ...

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Convicted Mother Teresa spiritual advisor used status to prey on unsuspecting families and children; SNAP responds 
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled to keep Fr. Donald McGuire behind bars. McGuire is an unrepentant, narcissistic, serial child predator who used his status as a Jesuit and Mother Teresa’s spiritual adviser to prey on unsuspecting families and kids.
"This case should remind all sex abuse victims that even the most high profile, widely-respected and cunning child molesting cleric can sometimes be prosecuted and kept away from kids if only we are brave, patient and persistent." -- SNAP founder Barbara Blaine
Read SNAP founder and president Barbara Blaine's full statement on the SNAP national website ...

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'Rome fiddles, We Burn' - NYTimes Columnist Marueen Dowd comments on latest Vatican priest sex crime rules  
"The church still believes in its own intrinsic holiness despite all evidence to the contrary...

"The casuistic document
  • did not issue a zero-tolerance policy to defrock priests after they are found guilty of pedophilia;
  • it did not order bishops to report every instance of abuse to the police;
  • it did not set up sanctions on bishops who sweep abuse under the rectory rug;
  • it did not eliminate the statute of limitations for abused children;
  • it did not tell bishops to stop lobbying legislatures to prevent child-abuse laws from being toughened.
"There is no moral awakening here. The cruelty and indecency of child abuse once more inspires tactical contrition. All the penitence of the church is grudging and reactive. Church leaders are merely as penitent as they need to be to protect the institution. " -- Maureen Dowd, NY Times Published July 16, 2010
Read the entire column "Rome Fiddles, We Burn" on the NYTimes website ...

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Canonist and survivors' advocate Thomas Doyle speaks out on new Roman rules for handling sex abuse by priests 
"The main problem with the Vatican's latest attempt at damage control is that they continue to deny the fundamental issue: the nature of the clericalized monarchical structure of the institutional church and its role in the systematic dismantling of the reality of church as People of God."
"The norms list several canonical crimes that are subject to the CDF. There is a serious gap in this list: failure to properly and responsibly respond to reports of sex abuse by clerics. This would obviously nail the majority of U.S. bishops, both retired and active. This crime is just as devastating as the sex abuse itself because it obviously enables continued rape and molestation of innocent children and adults. The bishops' systemic practice of cover-up and dishonesty, which should be a crime, is also a gross insult to all lay persons and not just victims and their families."
"The cloak of secrecy hasn't been removed. (The Vatican spokesman) claims that secrecy is maintained "in order to safeguard the dignity of all the people involved." This of course, is a lame excuse for the Vatican's obsession with image."
"The eighth revision is a potential for disaster. This one gives the local bishops the power to proceed judicially against people whom they suspect of heresy, apostasy or schism. The potential for misuse of this norm and the consequent denial of due process and the right of free expression to people the bishops decide don't think like them is terrifying."

[Tom Doyle is a priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse survivors.]
Read Tom Doyle's entire article "The Vatican's new norms" on the NCR website ...

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Catholic news outlet calls Vatican refusal to implicate bishops in sexual crime coverup 'the elephant in the sanctuary' 
"Lacking in both the Dallas Norms governing the American church and Cardinal Levada’s announcement of changes in the church’s universal laws was any mention of the fate of bishops who, by ignoring the reported sexual abuse of children by their priests, allow them to victimize yet other children.

"This truly is the elephant in the sanctuary.

"The Dallas Norms effectively shifted the burden of the abuse crisis from the bishops who ignored the abuse to the priests who perpetrated it. The universal norms announced by Cardinal Levada ignore the problem entirely." -- National Catholic Reporter
Read the full article on the NCROnline website ...

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Mega-church elder pleads guilty to rape of church member, and to pending charge of spreading HIV ...  
[Dallas, TX] Nathaniel Tumbwe, a self-proclaimed "reverend, doctor and prince" pleaded guilty Friday to raping a church member while still an elder in the Dallas mega-church Potter's House. Tumbwe also pleaded guilty to a pending charge of transmitting HIV to another women. A third victim was prepared to testify to having also been unknowingly infected with HIV by the former churchman.
After the guilty plea, Tumbwe's rape victim took the witness stand to address Tumbwe in a victim impact statement, in which, in part, she said directly to her perpetrator:

"Mr. Tumbwe, not Rev. Dr. Tumbwe, not Rev. Dr. Prince Tumbwe - Nathaniel Tumbwe, how dare you think you can take advantage of a woman, especially a Christian woman?

"You caused me considerable damage and pain," she said. "Every Sunday, it's in my mind. You caused me to question the church and the faith community.

"How dare you, how dare you, how dare you ..."

The former minister-rapist will serve concurrent 15 year sentences for the charges. Upon release or parole, he will be deported by US authorities.
Read the story in yesterdays Dallas Morning News ...
Read SNAP outreach director Barbara Dorris' statement, issued prior to the outcome of the trial ...

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Vatican reduces protection for 23.7% of potential victims of priest child rape; claims 'major contribution' 
Although the recently released rewording of Vatican status quo on the priest rape crisis extends the Vatican's self-authored statute of limitations to 20 years, the Ratzinger administration has, in essence, increased the dangerous vulnerability of children between ages 14 and 18 by removing their already flimsy Roman hierarchy protection from pornographic rape by priests.

According to the Roman church's own statistics, 23.7% of priest rape victims are between ages 14 and 18. SNAP suspects the number to be much higher. However, in light of that report, the Vatican's latest "major contribution" to "rigor and transparency" in dealing with its priests' criminal rape of children, actually makes this 23.7% of potential victims, i.e. the age group 14-18, to be more vulnerable to predator priests, not less.
Read 'The Politics of Statistics' from Commonweal magazine on the Bishops Accountablitly website ...

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Vatican tweaks statute; defines "child" as under 14; groups women priests, priest rapists; remains unaccountable 
In yet another grossly insensitive attempt to manipulate public opinion in its favor and against its own victims, the Vatican has produced a woefully inadequate rewrite of its long standing status quo in regards to the protection of child victims of priest and priesthood rape. SNAP's response is that "the church's approach needs 'massive overhaul, not mere tweaking."

Although the statement extends the Vatican-self-authored statute of limitations to 20 years, the Ratzinger administration has, in essence, increased the dangerous vulnerability of children between ages 14 and 18 by removing their protection from pornographic rape by priests.

According to the John Jay report of 2003, commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, 23.7% of priest rape victims are between ages 14 and 18. The Vatican's latest "major contribution" to "rigor and transparency" in dealing with its priests' criminal rape of children, renders that age group more vulnerable to predator priests, not less.
Read the two SNAP responses to Vatican "guidelines" rewording status quo ...
Read 'Vatican revises church law on sex abuse' on the NCROnline website ...

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Roman Catholic theologian says Vatican intends to equate women’s ordination with priest pedophilia 
A "magisterial" document (i.e. a divinely sanctioned, self-proclaimed "infallible" teaching by the Roman hierarchy) to be released later this summer by the Vatican is reported to include the ordination of women in the same category as sexual abuse by priests.
"Mixing the two issues, even under the same legal umbrella, is a profoundly perverse proposition. Either these gentlemen are more ethically tone deaf than one can imagine, or they are sly beyond the dreams of foxes in an effort to redirect attention from the criminal behavior of clergy against children to their wrath over the ordination of women." -- Mary E. Hunt, PhD, Roman Catholic theologian, July 12, 2010
Read Hunt's entire article published Monday on the Religion Dispatches Magazine website ...

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Roman church, Roman Polanski use similar tactics to evade justice for sexual abuse of minors, says SNAP leader 
Many in SNAP are victims of perpetrators who, even when convicted or who admit guilt, escape justice anyway by what SNAP President Barbara Blaine calls, "political clout, shrewd maneuvering or by 'running out the clock' on the statute of limitations.'

This points out the extreme similarity between the case of admitted child rapist, Roman Polanski and the Roman church's long-standing history of evasion from the law, as seen clearly in the current global priest pedophile crisis.
"Polanski case about rape, not legal wrangling. Let's not forget that" -- Headline of article in LA Times, July 12, 2010
"This is a travesty. Our hearts go out to anyone who was hurt by Polanski and to the tens of thousands of sexual assault victims whose perpetrators escaped justice by political clout, shrewd maneuvering or by 'running out the clock' on the statute of limitations." -- SNAP President Barbara Blaine, July 12, 2010

Polanski was released yesterday from house arrest in Switzerland, where the Swiss government refuses to allow the confessed and convicted child rapist to be extradited to the US for sentencing.

The Roman church's 2000 year history of secrecy, and evasion of criminal prosecution for its crimes against children and against humanity in general, can be seen as saturated with such legalistic maneuvers in order to remain seemingly "holy,' except for its scapegoated, but still protected, priests rapists, and their protective bishops.

For a fuller insight, read the two articles linked below.
Read the commentary from yesterday's LA Times Blogs ...
Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response in the SNAP National Website yesterday ...

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Levada, Ratzinger never intended acting on US abuse crisis, says former chair of SF Review Board 
"Levada (then archbishop of San Francisco, now Vatican chief inquisitor) reported to us on the SF Review Board that it was the opinion of the Inquisition (now the Vatican's CDF, then run by Ratzinger) that canon law should always supersede American law.

"Ratzinger and his allies in the curia were maneuvering to render all of the investigations of the Review Boards worthless before they even got started.

"Little did we then know that the hierarchy never had any intention of ever conducting independent and unvarnished investigations of sexual abuse by priests."

"One of the architects of the so-called "Dallas Charter," the Rev. Gregory Ingels, [canon lawyer and former SF chancellor for Levada] himself eventually indicted by a Marin County grand jury for the rape and sodomy of adolescents, predicted to me personally that canonical charges against him would never stand because of the prescriptions in canon law regarding statute of limitations and the majority age of males and females.

"My recollection of Levada's report of his consultations at the Inquisition was that the curia was not too pleased with the "zero tolerance" approach either adopted by American bishops at their Dallas meetings.

Face it, with Ratzinger running the show at the Inquisition, and now as pope, there was never any intention to deal forthrightly with the abuse scandal on the part of the Vatican hierarchy."

James A. Jenkins, PhD; former chair of the San Francisco (Archdiocesan) Review Board.

-- Newsletter for the National Survivors Advocacy Coalition, 08 July 2010 ...

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Vatican office headed by Ratzinger successor ignores case of still active pedophile priest from 2005 to the present 
Follow the trail of official documents and letters from 2005 to the present in this telling case of a priest pedophile transferred to the US where he molested young girls, and then was transferred to India where he still, to this day, heads an "Education" office which gives him full access to young potential victims.

The Vatican and the Jeyapaul Case
from the Bishops Accountability website

In 2004, Catholic priest Jeyapaul Joseph Palanivel was accepted by the U.S. Diocese of Crookston in Minnesota for parish work. The arrangement had been proposed for Jeyapaul, as the priest is usually known, by his home diocese of Ootacamund in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

Jeyapaul was in Crookston for less than a year, but in that brief time, he is accused of sexually abusing two female minors, is suspected of abusing at least one other girl, and is now the subject of a police investigation and a civil suit. Jeyapaul is also accused of taking money from the Crookston diocese.

Crookston bishop Victor Balke wrote repeatedly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, urging it to take the Jeyapaul case, and even appealed to the office in person.

Yet as of April 5, 2010, over five years after he allegedly committed the crimes, Jeyapaul is a senior official in the Diocese of Ootacamund, with the schools as one of his portfolios, and the CDF has ignored the case.

The link, below, the Bishop Accountability Web page on the case provides documents that were obtained by counsel for the plaintiff in the civil suit, Jane Doe 121 v. the Diocese of Crookston.

"The documents show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused."

-- Bishops Accountability website, July, 2010.

At a time when the role of the Vatican bureaucracy in abuse cases is coming under increased scrutiny, the Jeyapaul documents show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused. At a time when foreign priests are being used to patch a U.S. priest shortage, the Jeyapaul documents cast doubt on the formation of such priests, and on the system's ability to monitor and discipline them effectively.

Below is a link to the timeline of the Jeyapaul case with links to dozens of documents. The paper trail of neglect by Cardinal Levada at the CDF is contained in five documents: Bishop Balke's original 2005 request, the CDF's inadequate response, and then Balke's increasingly urgent letters, as the case worsened in his own diocese: see the letters he wrote in November 2006, December 2006, and March 2007.
Follow the document trail and read "Vatican, CDF, and Cardinal Levada's involvement from 2005 to the present in sexual abuse allegations against Father Joseph Jeyapaul" on the Bishop Acccountability website ...

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Pope praises predecessor who quit the papacy for not being equal to the job 
Addressing citizens of a central Italian town earlier today, the pope praised one of his 13th century predecessor popes, Celestine V, saying the lifestyle of this man, one of the several Catholic pontiffs who resigned the papacy, can serve as an example for modern men and women.

Celestine V assumed the papacy in 1294 at age 85 and resigned five months later, saying he was not up to the task.
Read the story on Earthink's International News website ...

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Ratzinger's office of inquisition, responsible since 1922, failed to act on abuse scandal says NYTimes 
The office which Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI, headed at the Vatican for years (formerly the "Holy Office of the Inquisition") has been shown by recent review of official Vatican documents by canon lawyers, to have been responsible all along for hearing cases of sexual abuse by priests. However, the implication put forth by the Vatican spin doctors was that Ratzinger only took control in 2001.

According to a comprehensive, in-depth article on the failures of Ratzinger's office in the sexual abuse scandal, published in yesterday's NYTimes, church documents and interviews with canon lawyers and bishops cast a 2001 secret meeting and the future pope’s track record in a new and less flattering light.

The Vatican took action only after bishops from English-speaking nations became so concerned about resistance from top church officials that the Vatican convened the secret meeting to hear their complaints.
"And the policy that resulted from that meeting, in contrast to the way it has been described by the Vatican, was not a sharp break with past practices. It was mainly a belated reaffirmation of longstanding church procedures that at least one bishop attending the meeting argued had been ignored for too long, according to church documents and interviews." -- NYTimes, 02 July 2010.

  • Read the entire article 'Church Office Failed to Act on Abuse Scandal' in yesterday's NYTimes ...
  • Read SNAP's complete response to the Times article on the SNAP national website ...

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    Supreme Court decision to refuse immunity of Vatican for priest sexual abusers could be far-reaching 
    This week the US supreme court issued a decision against the Vatican the importance of which has been compared by one lawyer to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    That may sound like an exaggeration, but the court's decision that the Vatican does not have legal immunity in a claim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest could have far-reaching ramifications for the church.
    "But the real issue in the case has been immunity. The Vatican attempted to invoke the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1976, under which foreign states cannot be sued. The supreme court refused to allow this." -- The Guardian, July 1, 2010

    Britain's news outlet The Guardian reported yesterday of one lawyer calling the Supreme Court decision comparable to the fall of the Berlin wall.

    Read the entire article 'Without its immunity, can the Vatican survive?' in yesterday's UK Guardian ...

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    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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