Friday, October 14, 2011


10.13.2011 | 8:28am
PB says:
Saltzman writes:
"SNAP has never to my knowledge examined scandals among mental health professionals. It never says anything of public school districts, where reports say children are at far greater risk of abuse. Nor has it said anything of volunteer youth organizations. The simple fact is SNAP targets Roman Catholics."

Umm, yeah. That's because it's an organization devoted to those who have been abused by priests. That's the AP in SNAP. That's the whole point of what it does. It's not a police force out there patrolling all cases of sexual abuse.

SNAP has done a great deal of good work. In my own (former) parish, they helped flush out not only a predator, but the members of the hierarchy that had been protecting him and moving him from place to place. As for the claim that they have mounted a smear campaign against all priests and bishops, I've seen no evidence of it. I have seen plenty of behavior on the parts of priests and bishops, however, that might make one feel rather anti-Catholic at times.

10.13.2011 | 10:31am
Joe McFaul says:
I disagree entirely.

SNAP's finances are far more open than other non-profit institutions including the Catholic Church. SNAP arose from an institutional church stonewalling and denying any clergy sex abuse when the church was aware that it was a widespread problem.

As other have pointed out the "P" descirbes its mission. Others can deal with schools and relatives if they want.

I have spoken with SNAP memberrs who are Catholic and those who are not. There are many who are very internally anguished and in near despair--understandbly so. The spiritual damage to many of the members is almost incomprehensible. Members are obviously in differnt stages of healing from horrific crimes committed against them. I'll cut them some slack on this.

Kansas City in particular is an evil situation. SNAP cannot do enough in KC. The actions of the bishop are beyond inexcusable. The Grand Jury proceedings are well justified and far too late. The numberof criminal proceedings against dioceses is enough to show that SNAP is "restained" in its public relations.

SNAP cannot be hiring the District Attorneys in New Hampshire, in Philadephia, Tuscon and in KC. Those criminal investigations are not the result of ambulance chasing but arise from criminal actity within the Church, which has not dealt with this issue at all. Until it does, SNAP will have to serve as the conscience of the Church. People want SNAP to go away and sulk in silence (or get over it!) so they can go about their lives and feel good when they go to church. If your conscience bothers you, maybe you should listen to it.

I have donated 1/3 of what my church offering would have been to SNAP every year. One thord also goes to Catholic Worker and 1/3 to Rachel's house.

All three organizations send me a single thank you card and none of the three bombard me with donations requests. It's obvious that none of the three "sell" my name to charity mailing lists.

It pains me to talk with mothers who have lost their children to suicide as a result of clerical sex abuse. It pains me to see otherwise functioning people brought to near death as a result of a "flashback." Do victims wallow? Sure. Do they need our help? Yes they do. How do we give it? By complaining about their finances and accusing them of stridency. How Christian of us.

10.13.2011 | 11:39am
Interesting article. Similarly, I no longer view the Catholic Church as PRIMARILY a force for taking responsibility for actions or for protecting human life. It has shown itself to be much more interested in protecting its own existence.

Surely there has been some anti-Catholic backlash in the wake of priests raping children. But I was raised to take the FULL blame for my own actions, even the unintended consequences. The more the Church moans about being picked on, the more it sounds like an unrepentant child trying to blame its sins on others who hate it. I, for one am sick of it.

The Catholic Church has lost its moral authority for its own inability to identify real sin in its midst and has been reduced to claiming that its being picked on. This is the state of the church. Embarrassing.

Lastly, I really don't care how many anti-Catholics there are. The Church's focus should be on completely ripping out by the roots all possibility that there are children in danger. Instead in continues to whine about how it is treated. Until you protect the children, frankly, no one gives a damn how bad the Church hierarchy is ridiculed. Where are the priorities!

10.13.2011 | 11:54am
Joan says:
First Thing, I wish there was no need for SNAP, but when Church lawyers layered up as victims of those abused by Priests came forth, a need arose to protect victims legally. In our culture when wrong is done, we generally settle in court with appropriate damages. It's better than duels.

Second Thing, SNAP's staff have been abused by Priests. This is hardly a wealthy organization, with an annual budget in the $400,000 range for at least 5 or 6 staff and expenses. And if plaintiffs lawyers want to contribute, it's still a free country.

I am a donor to SNAP and I am merely a catholic who is concerned for victims and felt a few years ago that I no longer wanted to be an observer of the molestation mess, but rather a participant to try to help.

Third Thing, SNAP victims are very clear about the comfort and help SNAP has provided them. Perhaps you should attend a local Survivors meeting?

In closing, if the Church had monitored it's clergy and hierarchy, and prevented molestation from occurring, there would be no need for SNAP. Sadly that has not happened, rather vulnerable children throughout the world have had hideous experiences and the hierarchy has behaved in very self serving sorts of ways, and only with media pressure, have they set up somewhat cosmetic systems to protect some children.

I do not think SNAP is a noisy little group that hates the church, many SNAP members are practicing Catholics. Rather, SNAP is a very very small organization that has made the worlds largest organization uncomfortable, because they have effectively used media on behalf of the protection of children from clergy molesters.

10.13.2011 | 1:35pm
An institution with the wealth, power and prestige of the Roman Catholic Church does not get to whine and whimper when a mostly volunteer organization with an annual budget of $400K calls it to task for the real and revolting harm its hierarchy has caused. Even if every misdeed Mr. Saltzman lays at the feet of SNAP, it is a molehill compared to the mountain of suffering caused by the RCC and its refusal to behave in the manner to which Christ calls his followers. I am no longer one of those followers and never belonged to the RCC. It regularly boggles my mind that those in the highest ranks of the RCC seem regularly to refuse to ask themselves this simple question: How will this deed of mine reflect the love of Jesus Christ? I do not doubt that there are individuals with the RCC hierarchy who have genuine moral authority because of their actions, but the institution as a whole has no moral credibility left at all.

10.13.2011 | 2:41pm
Sibyl says:
BOTH the Diocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Kansas bishops and leadership have been caught in violation of the contractural agreements they willingly made with parents/parishoners for the protection of children.

Their disregard of the welfare of the children under their jurisdiction has caused shock and grief to parents and grievous harm to their children in both these Dioceses.

Despite the programs in place and the denials, the evidence consistently shows that the protection and care of fellow clergy has priority over the protection and care of children. This is underscored at a Philadelphia clergy meeting when Monsignor Lynn, indicted for covering up crimes of priests and interfering with an investigation, was praised by Bishop Chaput and given a standing ovation by his fellow clergy.

Moreover, in every country around the globe, even very high-ranking clergy have been indicted for abuse and caught with child porn, even selling it.

The Diocese of Miami got a new Archbishop only AFTER the LAITY presented the Vatican with irrefutable proof of the sexual activities going on among the clergy of which the Archbishop was the ringleader.

The new Archbishop sent in to fix things, just played musical priests, moving them around to other locations. He did not dare fire them or really clean house because the potential lawsuits might exceed the number of abuse lawsuits.
Can you imagine these 'priests' ministering in the confessional or counseling a boy or teen? Leading the youth?

Accountability and transparency are having to be forced on the leaders by lawsuits, organizations like SNAP and Bishops Accountability, because the clergy do not have the humility, conviction or honesty to feel the need for it and to enforce it upon themselves.

10.13.2011 | 3:21pm
rondre says:
Sad to read how some people take the abuse of children so lightly. If it wasn't for SNAP how many more children would be victims of abuse. Think of it when you read about the next victim who commits suicide. I guess i should not expect more from readers of First Things. After all they supported the founder of the Legionaires.


  1. Thanks for publishing this Steve.

  2. A timely post as the Bishop of KC has been charged with failure to report abuse.