Not united on SNAP

Not united on SNAP

Like Voice of the Faithful, which claims to represent all lay Catholics, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is a controversial group which claims to represent all those abused by priests. But some victims dispute the claim.

SNAP has become a public relations monster. Before the Scandal broke in 2002, it was 1,800 members, but only had an annual buddget of $2,000. After the Scandal broke, it has ballooned to 5,000 members, but now has $250,000 budget. It also acknowledges receiving tens of thousands of dollars from plaintiffs’ attorneys, who some victims claim won’t give you the time of day unless they can make money off your case. Of course the lawyers would give money to SNAP because the more publicity SNAP gets, the more victims come forward and the more big settlements the lawyers can demand.

It’s not all about the money either. Some victims claim SNAP is more interested in attacking the Catholic Church than helping victims of abuse.

Paul Schwartz, of Wichita, Kan., attended the group’s sessions until he realized they weren’t helping. “Every conversation I’ve ever had with SNAP is, ‘Oh, we’re going to bring (the church) down. How’s that going to help me?” said Schwartz. “The Catholic church did not cause my anger and rage, the abuse did. You’re allowing yourself to be victimized over and over again.”

Others say SNAP isn’t going far enough and want it to be more angry, more confrontational. Yeah, I’m sure most therapists would find that healthy, sure.

This is the dilemma of the Scandal. On the one hand, if it were not for groups with questionable agendas that nevertheless got the attention of the secular media, much of what’s come would have stayed hidden. Orthodox Catholics have been complaining about this stuff for years, but because we’re not seen as attacking the Church’s foundations, we weren’t given the time of day by the mainstream media. Still, we have to be careful not to let the ends justify the means. VOTF is definitely a bad means. SNAP is looking like bad means more and more every day.

The answer does not lie in rage or abandonment of the foundational elements of the Faith. Fidelity and truth with charity are the only way to purify the Church without destroying what makes her so important in the first place.

  • Dom,
    I’ve commented here before on SNAP and Clohessy. He/they came to the Belleville diocese in 1994 when it all hit the blades here. Noboday had ever heard of SNAP up to that point. If you ever have the opportunity to press him for a direct answer to a direct question you’ll get,“We want closure. We want the pain to stop.” Okay, David, how? “We want closure. We want the pain to stop. We want a voice in the Church.” What they – SNAP- really want is to pick the bishops (our kind of people, wink, wink) and empower the laity- their laity . Sound familiar?

    Clohessy was on the StL news last night regarding a Fr Kuchar, now jailed for molestation. Same mantra. Direct question- “what do you want done? Same mantra. he refuses to make a clear statement. I am amazed at his ability to be everywhere a case breaks.He will break his back, and yours, to get in front of a tv camera or microphone. From coast to coa,t and he does it all without holding a permanent job. Wonder how he supports his wife and children.

    Clohessy has stated that he wasn’t completely sure he was molested, a repressed memory thing. He denies the existence of his own brother; a priest currently without faculties, possibly in jail, on molestation charges.

    In sum, while I know there was molestation, especially in my own diocese, I give Clohessy little if any credibility. I firmly believe he is a ‘professional victim’ and a fraud who has found a free cow to milk.

  • I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating.  A friend of mine who is a priest, involved in youth ministry, was accused of molesting someone many years ago.  Keep in mind that this is the only accusation made against this man in twenty-five years of youth ministry, working with hundreds of young people.

    The priest refused to roll over for this guy and had his day in court, with the support of the archdiocese.  The judge threw the case out as being totally without merit. 

    Despite this, the so-called victim has harrassed the priest without mercy.  Clohesky has led demonstrations in front of the priest’s parish (with tv coverage, of course.)

    This guy’s attempts to paint every priest as a criminal, guilty or not, as long as his agenda is served, totally takes away any creditibility he might have once had.

  • “They shadowed Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law before he resigned in late 2002, attempting to take him into custody with a “citizen’s arrest” and using a bullhorn to berate him daily outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.”

    Actually not quite accurate but close enough. Yes, they used the bullhorn daily, but didn’t attempt to capture him during the week since he wasn’t there…this lovely scene occured on Sundays. I seriously was tempted to start packing a gun, or at least some mace.

    But the article doesn’t go far enough. It wasn’t just SNAP folks who tried to beat up the Cardinal—and incidentally, parishioners and their KIDS—Sunday after Sunday. It was their VOTF pals.

    They put hundreds of lives in danger, Sunday after Sunday, and not one was arrested.

    This was in 2002. We are now headed for 2005.

    Why the bleep is this stuff only being exposed now? Those of us who were there tried to do it back in 2002.

    We were rewarded by the label “child molestors.”

    Yes. And they attempted—unsuccessfully—to turn our kids against us and against the Church.

    What VOTF and SNAP were really successful at? They successfully sapped pretty much all the credibility of the real sexual abuse victims.

    Do they care? I doubt it.

  • Kelly,

    It seems to happen every time there’s a legitimate group that needs help.  Some grandstander comes along, grabs all the publicity for himself and the people who need the help become secondary.

    These people are usually so offensive that, instead of helping the cause, they actually detract from it.  And, you’re right.  If you say anything against them, then you’re branded as anti-whatever.  It’s too bad.