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.
SNAP strongly urges any and all victim survivors of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church, or any other religious or secular group, to CALL THE AUTHORITIES FIRST, NOT THE CHURCH. Then call supporters and advocates for victims of abuse. They will provide you with resources for the kinds of spiritual, emotional and legal care you need.
O'Malley's apology-by-proxy, read by a subordinate to a group of about 50 parishioners in a Boston area Catholic church Saturday night, apologized for the Dec. 11 tongue-lashing from the pulpit by the priest-in-charge, Stanislaw Kempa.
The verbal abuse was hurled at three young men, now in their 30s, who are accusing the late Rev. Czeslaw "Father Chet" Szymanski of sexually abusing them in the parish when they were children.
The first order of business -- always -- in incidents of suspected abuse of children or vulnerable adults by clergy is do everything possible to have the suspects removed from access to potential other victims.
The recent history of the Roman Catholic church, including Saturday's admission of failure to respond appropriately by O'Malley, emphasizes the fact that those abused by priests should NOT call the church first for help. Call the police. Protect the innocent. That is the first order of business, not calling in more priests.
Attorney Carmen Durso, who represents the three men, first announced the abuse allegations at a press conference on Dec. 9.
Kempa tongue-lashed the young men who are making the allegations in front of his congregation during Mass two days later, blasting them during a tirade/sermon, calling them "cowards," and claiming that the accusations "were not credible."
"The clerical antagonism and apparent indifference toward victims of sexual abuse, even when faced with substantial evidence, is one of the principal reasons why it remains so difficult for victims to come forward," Durso said.
It bears repeating that SNAP strongly urges any and all victim survivors of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church, or any other religious or secular group, to CALL THE AUTHORITIES FIRST, NOT THE CHURCH.
Then call supporters and advocates for victims of abuse. They will provide you with resources for the kinds of spiritual, emotional and legal care you may need.
SNAP DFW can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Authorities cited the alleged threat in court papers Thursday as they argued Douglas Perlitz of Eagle, Colo., should be sent to prison for more than 19 years when he is sentenced next week.
Perlitz ran the Project Pierre Toussaint school, and dispensed very little help that came without strings attached. He built a charity, and used it to rake in donations from well-intending and unsuspecting supporters to feed what he craved: forcible sex with some of the poorest, most downtrodden and vulnerable children in the world.
Perlitz will be sentenced Tuesday in the court of United States District Judge the Honorable Janet Bond Arternon on Tuesday.
Read the story in the Washington Post ...
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One of Ireland's most prominent campaigners against the Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse, Andrew Madden, said one of the leaked documents offered more evidence that the Vatican was concerned only about protecting itself, not about admitting the truth.
'Self-interest ruled the day when their priests were raping children.' -- Andrew Madden, former altar boy raped by a Dublin priest.
"The only issue for the Vatican has been the supposed 'failure' of the Irish government to protect the Vatican from intrusive questions. Self-interest ruled the day when their priests were raping children," said Madden, a former altar boy who was molested by a Dublin priest. In 1995 Madden became the first person in Ireland to go public with a lawsuit against the church, opening the floodgates for hundreds of lawsuits.
Read the full AP story on Earthlink's International News site ...
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Timothy Dolan's job is to put the best face on the reactionary hierarchy's slow motion act of self-destruction. The surest sign of this crisis is the jovial conviction that there is no crisis. -- Catholic author James Carroll
Mincing no words in his response, Catholic journalist and author James Carroll commented on Dolan and his 'no-crisis' crack, beginning with a simple question:
"Hello? The Catholic Church not in a crisis? The moral authority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is at its lowest ebb since the Inquisition."
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Totally ignoring an entire generation of diseased children of infected parents -- a phenomenon for which, in 3rd world countries, the dark-ages mentality of the patriarchal sexual ideology of Catholicism is directly implicated -- the German pope finally admitted that condoms contribute to inhibiting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
But he did so in a peculiarly homophobic remark suggesting that male prostitutes might act more responsibly by using condoms.
This comes from a man, it might be recalled, whose personal, attending entourage was recently alleged to have been soliciting male prostitutes. (See story from Mar 5 ...)
Just how outrageous must this destructive, dictatorial regime become before intelligent catholics stop pumping it up with power by ignoring it, or even worse, by continuing to support it?
Read the unconscionable pontifications for yourself ...
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However, in spite of the enormous global need now coming to light for non-church support systems for survivors of clergy sexual and power exploitation and abuse, there are, as our British friends might say, "bloody few!"
That's why we're recommending today that you visit the "Road to Recovery" website.
Road to Recovery says of itself that it is the only non-profit organization in the United States that offers compassionate counseling and referral services to survivors of clergy sexual abuse."
Road to Recovery is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 2005 to provide "emotional, psychological, financial, and spiritual assistance to survivors as they attempt to recover from the effects of having been sexually abused by members of the clergy."
The very ironic twist to this group is the fact that it was actually founded by two priests, one, himself, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse -- two men who, single-handedly, are attempting to do what the Roman Catholic Church pays out enormous legal fees to avoid doing: helping survivors of priest rape and abuse.
Check out their site, and their group. We hope it can be of help to you.
Go to the Road to Recovery website ...
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The diocese was found liable in October for the claims of 158 former pupils who were abused at St. William's Community Home, in Market Weighton, near York, between 1960 and 1992.
Although Christian Brother James Carragher, now 74, who was principal at the home for more than 20 years, began serving a 14-year prison sentence in 2004 for a long list of sex crimes against students, judges ruled that his order, the De La Salle Christian Brothers, which staffed the home, had no legal responsibility, leaving the Catholic Child Welfare Society of the diocese liable for the compensation claim.
Read the full story in the National Catholic Reporter ...
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However, our hope is that it encourages others abused, even years ago, to tell someone who genuinely understands and cares so that the long road toward healing this horrible rape of innocence and spirit can begin. It can and will -- you are not alone!
Watch episode 1 in its entirety here
Read Comments by Survivors at the Taping of the Oprah Show
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It’s estimated by professionals that one in six men were abused in their youth. Some die from suicides or deaths related to alcohol or drug abuse.
That's a horrendous number that continues to grow to this day, and this is unacceptable.
With the lid coming off the Catholic Church's victims, this should tell other organizations that it's time to clean their own houses, and they should open up all files of perpetrators and contact victims that are kept hidden." -- SNAP Member Survivor Kevin Dratsch
The program will address all types of abuse, from domestic to professional to clergy.
Advanced promotion for the show describes it as, "A landmark Oprah Show event that's never been done before. Two hundred men courageously stand together to say they were all molested."
Watch the program trailer
Read SNAP Member Kevin Kratsch's letter in the Appleton, WI Post-Crescent ...
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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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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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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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"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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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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"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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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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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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"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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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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