Roman Catholic Church seeks to silence S.N.A.P.

New York Times reports that Roman Catholic bishops are trying to cripple and silence Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP):

...lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.

The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.” (ed. bold)

Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

Comments (11)

Well that's certainly ugly. What ever happened to taking responsibility?

A Facebook User- thanks but please sign your name next time you comment. ~ed.

Is "abuse defenders" really the words you were looking for?

I agree with Bill Dilworth--the headline made my head spin a little....

But the content made my stomach churn. REALLY?! You are going to spend even more of the pew-warmers' hard-earned dollars to protect pedophiles and their enablers?

I know the RCC is a hierarchical church, but what is it going to take to make the laity finally say "Enough is enough!"? Inquiring minds really want to know...

"SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church." Say wha?! It's the bishops who covered up, it's the abusers, it's Catholic diocesans who forbid Voice of the Faithful groups to meet in RC churches, it's stuff like this that is the real menace to the Catholic Church. Oh, dear God, have mercy!

SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church?

No, Mr. Donohue, shielding and shuffling around abusive clergy to keep them in active ministry, rather than defrock them and turn them over to the civil authorities for legal prosecution, is a menace to the Catholic Church.

And lawyering up to "get tough" and gag others isn't Christlike at all, Fidei Defensor. Definitely not what Jesus would do.

Finally, "we don't need altar boys" is a rather unfortunate turn of phrase in this particular context.

We're pro-child, not anti-church. We work to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded, not attack the clergy.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,

"We don’t need altar boys"

Ah, if that had only been the case throughout decades of abuse...

I wonder if he realized how stunningly ironic his remark was?

(Sorry, that was me who signed in on FB earlier--- first time mistake and it won't happen again.)

Accountability is the key here. Blame the victims, blame the organizations that advocate for the victims, blame anyone who is weaker and available, blame the gays. Wouldn't it just be easier to say that you're sorry and then do what you can to make sure it never happens again? Really boys!?!?!?!

That is a horribly misleading headline. Please change it to something like;
Roman Catholic Church seeks to silence victim's advocate organization

Bro. David
KONY 2012

That is a horribly misleading headline. Please change it to something like;
Roman Catholic Church seeks to silence victim's advocate organization

Bro. David
KONY 2012

Much better title - when I read the original I thought the RCC was engaged in some sort of process of accountability, rather than the opposite.

Add your comments

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Reminder: At Episcopal Café, we hope to establish an ethic of transparency by requiring all contributors and commentators to make submissions under their real names. For more details see our Feedback Policy.

Advertising Space