The intertwined history of SNAP and NCR

National Catholic Reporter

Dennis Coday | Aug. 1, 2014 NCR Today

I hope you take the time to read David Gibson’s article on the 25th anniversary of the Survivor’s Network for those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. The history of that organization and its battle to defend victims of sexual abuse from priest abusers and ecclesial cover ups is an important chapter in the larger history of the Catholic church.

That history is also intrinsically intertwined with the history of NCR, something that I have been rediscovering in my preparations for NCR’s 50th anniversary, which is Oct. 28. Readers of our print publication will know that I have been writing a history column, highlighting significant events and personalities NCR has reported on over the last 50 years. Here is an excerpt from a column I did in June, looking back 29 years:

Issue of June 7, 1985, Vol. 21, No. 32

Priest child abuse cases victimizing families; bishops lack policy response
Two articles totaling 11,000 words, spread over eight pages of this 24-page issue, were NCR’s entry into covering the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and the subsequent failure of bishops and chancery personnel to address these crimes.

Jason Berry gives a detailed account of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe, a priest of the Lafayette, La., diocese who in the fall of 1985 would stand trial for the sexual abuse of at least a dozen boys. The diocese had already paid out $4 million in settlements trying to keep the case out of court and families of victims silent.

Arthur Jones’ article — a roundup of cases that were beginning to emerge in Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., San Diego, New York, Newark, N.J., Providence, R.I., and Pittsburgh — would find the patterns of the Gauthe case repeated across dioceses.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.