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.
Survivors Head for Reformation Day Gathering in Rome to Say 'Enough' to Sexual Abuse by Roman Catholic Priests
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60% of Chicago parishes employed publicly accused sexual predator priests, new SNAP supported study showsA study taking 5 years to complete by SNAP and two other survivors advocate groups has shown that nearly 60% of Roman Catholic parishes in Chicago employed priests who were publicly accused of child abuse and sexual predator behavior.
The study, conducted jointly by Voice of the Faithful, African American Advocates for Victims of Clergy and Sexual Abuse and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), looked at assignments made between 1917 and 2009 of priests accused of abuse. The researchers spent five years combing through data for the report--and they believe the number of unreported cases of abuse could make that percentage even larger.
SNAP president Barbara Blaine told the Huffington Post Monday that while she believes nearly every Chicago-land parish has been affected, the study showed that "poor parishes and minority parishes have a disproportionately high percentage of problem priests."
Blaine said further that the Chicago Archdiocese has consistently under-reported cases of abuse, and that SNAP encourages victims of abuse to reach out to advocacy groups--not to the church.
"SNAP encourages victims of abuse to reach out to advocacy groups -- not to the church."-- SNAP president Barbara Blaine
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Belgium's highest court reverses lower court's return of seized church records on pedophilia; orders reseizureIn a reversal of a lower court's order to return truckloads of files on priest sexual abuse by Roman Catholic dioceses in Belgium, Belgium's highest court has ordered the files re-seized.
The raids on June 24, conducted as a Vatican ambassador was meeting with church leaders, opened the eyes of the world to the scale of the scandal within the Belgian Catholic Church, but the church and retired archbishop, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, demanded that the material seized be declared out of bounds.
Lower courts, having found that the June police raid was illegal, ordered prosecutors to return all files to the Belgian bishops and the independent commission they had created to handle sex-abuse complaints. But the top court has now said that abuse victims should have had the opportunity to present their views before the case was decided.
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Can Restorative Justice work when religious sexual abuse perpetrators and their protecting leaders lack remorse?Restorative Justice is a concept in law that stresses the idea of promoting dialogue between victims and accused as opposed to a strict adversarial relationship based on abstract interpretations of legal code violations. To work best it requires goodwill on all sides.
The pope has spoken of "sin within the Church" but victims would like to see action, not mere lip service - action demonstrating the Church's sincerity in making things right.
An article on www.beliefnet.com suggests that building the path toward greater justice and healing guided by the parameters of Restorative Justice seems like it might be an idea worth trying.
However, the only credible comment to the article says,
Restorative Justice is a good thing. However, it necessitates a certain level or moral development in the perpetrator. He must be able to empathize with his victim. He must seek restoration because of empathy, not just because he got caught. It is not clear that today's religious leaders have a developed enough moral fiber to participate in restorative justice. ...
Frankly, I do not see any bishops of any ilk rushing to repair the survivors of clergy sex abuse. Neither do I see said bishops acting to embrace survivors as Christ.
Read more: On the BeliefNet website ...
Read more: Wikipedia article on Restorative Justice ...
Then you make the call.
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SNAP survivors of priest rape come to Britain for pope trip, ask action, not lip service, to protect childrenAmericans Therese Albrecht and SNAP president Barbara Blaine are in Britain representing fellow survivors of priest sexual abuse during the pope's current trip there. They want more openness about abuse in the Catholic Church.
"We are asking that the Pope and the Vatican establish a worldwide database with the names of all of the known and credibly-accused predator priests." -- SNAP President Barbara Blaine in Britain
Watch VOA video of SNAP survivors interviewed in Britain:
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Human rights jurist claims immunity protecting pope from legal action in pedophile crisis needs moral improvementIn a book set to be published in tandem with the popes visit to Britain, a leading British jurist has claimed that the diplomatic immunity model of international relations needs to be replaced by a more moral legal order, so that someday soon not even a pope will be above the law.
Read the article Should the Pope face charges? in the Canadian publication McLeans ...
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Professor Peter Adriaenssens, chairman of the commission, said the abuse in Belgium may have been even more rampant than the 200-page report suggests, because his panel's work was interrupted and all its files seized in a June 24 raid by Belgian judicial authorities who are conducting their own probe.
"Adriaenssens, a child psychiatrist who has worked with trauma victims for 23 years, said nothing had prepared him for the stories of abuse that blighted the lives of victims. He called the report's findings "a body blow" to the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium." -- Raf Casert, Associated Press
Belgian church authorities said they would react on Monday to the report. The Vatican had no immediate comment.
Read the entire AP story on the MSNBC website ...
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Belgian Cardinal pressured victim to protect bishop with secrecy until he retired, says tapes released and verifiedThe New York Times reported today that a Belgian cardinal, Godfried Danneels, pressed a sexual abuse victim to either accept a private apology or wait until a bishop accused of the victim's rape had retired before pressing charges, according to tapes recorded by the victim, and verified by the church as genuine.
"The cardinal warned the victim against trying to blackmail the church and suggested that he accept a private apology from the bishop and not drag 'his name through the mud.'
The victim responded, 'He has dragged my whole life through the mud, from 5 until 18 years old,” and asked, 'Why do you feel sorry for him and not for me?' "
The tapes, which church authorities have verified as accurate, are among the more revealing documents in the continuing scandal of sexual abuse by clerics and subsequent cover-ups by the church. And having a record of a cardinal entreating an abuse victim to keep his silence is another embarrassment for the Catholic Church, which continues to be much more protective of its abusive hierarchy than of its victims.
Read the full story in the New York Times today ...
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Irish abuse survivor 'shattered' by leadership of 'clerical culture' in abuse crisis considers option 'this is not the church for me'A survivor of clerical sexual abuse, well-known in Ireland, is considering quitting the Roman church following the pope's decision to keep two Dublin auxiliary archbishops implicated in the abuse scandal in office. Marie Collins has doggedly remained a Catholic in the hopes that the church will reform.
However, describing last week's revelation as the "final nail in the coffin" of her hope that the church would change as lead by the clerical culture, Collins said she has "really gone beyond the point I was at before".
"I have always said my Christianity is not in doubt. I am not disillusioned with my faith in God or Christ. But I am just at the point where I'm considering that I don't need to call myself a Catholic anymore, in a church where clerical power holds sway. My hope of reform coming from within the clerical church is gone." -- Marie Collins, Irish abuse survivor.
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Sexual theology of Roman Catholic Church in deep crisis, says priest/former-editor of Irish Bishops’ magazineThe sexual theology of the Roman Catholic Church is in deep crisis. So says Kevin Hegarty, priest and former editor of the Irish Bishop's magazine Intercom.
The majority of Catholic couples were ignoring its teaching on contraception, while its teaching on homosexuality had, rightly he thought, attracted much criticism.
He also said the sexual scandals had dealt the church its worst blow in Ireland in living memory.
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Survivors respond to pope's refusal to accept resignations of Irish bishops implicated in sexual abuse by priests scandalAndrew Madden, who was abused as an altar boy in Dublin, said he was "disappointed" by the pope's decision not to accept the auxiliary bishops' resignations. However, he said, "I am not surprised; I have long since given up hope of the Catholic Church getting its act together when it comes to child protection.
"The Catholic Church, right from the Vatican down, has refused to fully acknowledge this problem," Madden said.
Barbara Blaine, president and founder of the U.S. based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), issued a statement saying, "By rejecting the resignations of two complicit Irish bishops, the pope is rubbing more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of thousands of child sex abuse victims and millions of betrayed Catholics.
"By this move, the Pope has done irreparable damage to the already deeply damaged image of a selfish church hierarchy."-- SNAP president Barbara Blaine
"He's sending an alarming message to church employees across the globe: Even widespread documentation of the concealing of child sex crimes and the coddling of criminals won't cost you your job in the church," the statement said.
Read the article "Pope declines resignation of Dublin auxiliary bishops" including Madden's statement on the National Catholic Reporter website ...
Read the AP story and SNAP president Blaine's full statement on the SNAP national website ...
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SNAP confronts women religious leaders on behalf of those abused by nuns; 'come clean' as model for churchDALLAS -- Standing in a 105 degree temperature outside the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Dallas, four members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) held a press conference as heads of women religious communities were checking in inside the hotel lobby at the outset of the annual gathering for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
The SNAP assembly included Steve Theisen, Therese Albrecht, SNAP's National Director David Clohessy and SNAP DFW's Lisa Kendzior.
Clohessy said that the purpose for the conference was to send a message to the women religious leadership that it should do more to “come clean” about abusive nuns. He called for LCWR to develop a national abuse policy that could be a model for the bishops and for the entire world. Sadly, he said, efforts to work with LCWR have been rebuffed for the past six years.
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