For many years, the plight of alleged victims of priestly sexual abuse have had as their unofficial spokesperson a group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, more commonly known as SNAP. The Catholic League has had good reasons to question their motives, and now we have convincing evidence proving we were right all along.
At a recent SNAP conference in Washington, D.C., reliable friends of the Catholic League attended the event. What they heard and saw was a well-coordinated attack on the Catholic Church, led by SNAP leaders and others. The entire report is available online at catholicleague.org; an excerpt appears on pp. 8-9.
Joining SNAP were some high profile lawyers who have made a killing off of their lawsuits against the Church. Also in attendance was BishopAccountability, which proved to be much more than just a website that tallies cases of alleged abuse. Church-bashing authors and agenda-driven psychiatrists also spoke at the event.
What emerged from the conference was a picture of so-called victims’ advocates that contrasts sharply with their innocent media image. They are activists—men and women fueled more by a vendetta against the Church than any alleged concern for victims. Some of the remarks were not only boilerplate, they were totally inexcusable and reprehensible.
When the Catholic Church is constantly referred to as the “evil institution,” and all accused priests are assumed guilty, something is seriously wrong. Similarly, when vile accusations are made against some bishops, and are never challenged by a single person at the conference, we are not talking about aggrieved individuals trying to do right by the Church. No, we are talking about hatred and injustice.
We know there are many Catholic dissident organizations which harbor resentment against the Church, but they are generally known to the public as unhappy campers who have not gotten their way. Not so with SNAP and its allies: they are the darlings of the media, and are seen as motivated by compassion and the quest for reconciliation. Our findings prove otherwise.
Bill Donohue’s report, which is based on information given to him by those at the conference, was sent to all the bishops, as well as to scores of other friendly sources; many in the media were also sent a copy. It is our hope that from now on, they will take with a grain of salt what the victims’ lobby has to say about bishops and priests. We need to know who our real enemies are.