Or, “this is your infallible Magisterium in action”. But it’s ok, you Roman Catholics. They can be reprehensible, as a group, in real life, and still, God has committed to this reprehensible group, the charism of infallibility when speaking about doctrines and morals. Rest assured that, even when your doctrines rely on mistranslations or just completely changing the meaning of Scriptures, they are completely correct, and everything else is wrong. Never mind that Jesus said, “by their fruit you will recognize them”. Never mind that Paul explicitly stated, “the overseer is to be above reproach” … and reminds Timothy, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?”
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, came into existence in 1989, just five years after national attention was first focused on sexual molestation of minors by Catholic clergy. The founder, Barbara Blaine, is a survivor of abuse. The national director, David Clohessy, is also a survivor. SNAP came into existence because the institutional church, i.e., the bishops, could not and would not do anything to help the victims of the priests they were supposed to supervise.
Realizing that they would have to help themselves, Barbara and the original members started what has become the oldest and most effective advocacy and help group for the countless victims of clergy abuse throughout the United States and Europe as well.
Over the years since its existence, SNAP has done what the institutional church should have done: It offered understanding, support, solace and above all, hope for anyone who called upon it. SNAP is not a sophisticated organization with a well-oiled and financed bureaucracy. It has always been focused on providing support for victims, giving them the encouragement to begin to heal from the devastation of abuse and giving them hope, knowing they are not alone….
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States. On the plane coming over, he spoke to the media and said, "The victims will need healing and help and assistance and reconciliation: This is a big pastoral engagement and I know that the bishops and the priests and all Catholic people in the United States will do whatever possible to help, to assist, to heal."
But official Rome speaks out of both sides of its mouth. What it gives with one hand, it takes away with the other.
The pope was wrong on that one. The bishops as a group have certainly not helped the victims heal. They have said a lot of nice things, but their response has been hypocritical. While they feign sorrow and regret, make promises and lay on church floors at organized penance services, they are also waging a war against the survivors of the molestation and betrayed trust that they themselves have brought about. They continue to spend millions of the laypeople's dollars to try and bury any attempts at bringing civil legislation to protect victims into the 21st century and, most reprehensible, they continue to try to pound victims into the ground in the courts. The bottom line is that as with everything else, the response to the clergy abuse nightmare has to be their way or no way.
The latest and most convincing evidence of the bishops' collective failure following the present pope's admonitions is the organized attack on SNAP. This attack is being carried out by lawyers who represent two priests accused of abuse, but it's not about justice for the priests. It's about destroying an organization that represents not only a source of profound embarrassment to the bishops but a serious threat to their continued duplicity. On one hand, the demand for SNAP's files is sending a horrific message to all victims of clergy abuse and to all who try to help and support them. The message is clear: Although individual bishops might be truly sympathetic, the bishops as a group simply don't "get it." Nothing has changed since 1985, when this sordid issue first came to widespread public awareness. They are only concerned for themselves, their image, their control over the laity and their money. The National Review Board had it right when they pinpointed this in their 2004 report.
This continues to be today’s news story. As a group, this Roman Catholic hierarchy is no less reprehensible now than it was in the lowest days of the pornocracy.