Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, 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 group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.
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.”
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.”
William Donohue, that fucking attack dog and pig incarnate, speaks his defense of the Catholic Church with no irony whatsoever. What a vile dirtbag, just as vile as priests who sexually assault children.
God forbid the church simply take responsibility and apologize to the survivors of the institutionalized assault. Nope, you call a group that advocates for them “a menace” to the Church.
Seems to me the biggest menace to the church is the priests who saw fit to rape the youngest members. But I guess that’s just me.
I was back home on the south side yesterday…
And I noticed that my childhood parish is no more.
I was leaving a relative’s home, and I was on the bus, and I passed by the Catholic school I went to as a child. The school was still there, but the church is different. It is now a Baptist church.
I am not really sure how I should feel about this. On the one hand it’s not incredibly surprising. That neighborhood hasn’t really been Catholic since the 70s. Even when I attended in the 90’s the non-school masses were sparsely attended. There would maybe be 20 or 30 people there. Surely there wasn’t enough money coming in to maintain that parish. I am happy that the church is still standing. I would have been much more upset if it had been torn down. On the other hand I am still sad to see it go.
That parish changed so much over the years.
As a child, my favorite thing was to walk up and down the halls of the school looking at the graduation pictures from all of the previous 8th grade classes. It was a fascinating look into the history of my school and my parish. The first picture was from the 40s. It was an all-White class. I found that interesting as a child in an all Black Catholic school. I couldn’t really reconcile the thought that my school, my neighborhood, used to be completely different. Chicago has always been a heavily segregated city, and it was obvious from looking at those pictures. Because every graduating class was completely white, until about the 70’s when for 3 years there were mixed classes, and then after that the classes were all Black. The neighborhood changed. The school changed.
The truth is that the racial make-up of that neighborhood changed, and therefore the religious make-up changed, too.
I find myself sad that my childhood church has changed. It still exists in memories and pictures. My brother got married there when it was still a Catholic church, but that was probably the last time I was in there. I remember so clearly what the altar looked like. I can see Father Nallen there holding up the communion wafers and blessing them. I know that the Catholic things have been removed. I wonder if the giant crucifix that hung on the wall behind the altar is still there. I am pretty sure the stained class windows with depictions of the saints are still there. I hope the wood reliefs that tell the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus haven’t been removed. I remember that church so clearly.
I am glad the people in that neighborhood have a new place to worship. A Baptist church in that neighborhood is more useful than a Catholic one anyway.
But I’m still kinda sad to see it go.
I have to say, though, not every Catholic is pro-life.
I’m not fully informed on Catholicism, but aren’t you not considered Catholic by the Pope if you’re pro-choice?
This is technically correct, I remember when John Kerry was running for president the Pope issued an edict that he should be denied communion due to his pro choice stance. But I live in a pretty liberal, largely Catholic city. I don’t know a single devout Catholic. Most of the Catholics I know should technically be excommunicated, right down to the openly gay man that I would go to mass with on Ash Wednesdays during lunchtime at work.
I don’t really know how we reconciled any of our religious beliefs with our liberalism.