10 Years on

By Kristine Ward
National Survivor Advocates Coalition
January 6, 2012

NSAC will be with survivors today and throughout this weekend.

Survivors gathering in Boston.

It only seems right and just, to borrow language from the new missal of the Roman Catholic Church. that it is where we should be on this solemn day which marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the revelations of the clergy and nun sexual abuse scandal through the Boston Globe's powerful series of articles with its avalanche of sordid details that began a dripping of truth into the Catholic conscience.

This largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in the last 500 years didn't begin on January 6, 2002 all of the survivors, known and unknown, living and dead are courageous testament to this.

But what Boston did do was to bring together a perfect storm that captured attention: a sitting East Coast Cardinal, one media outlet that most of a single archdiocese used as a major source of information, a shoe leather attorney who walked the South Boston neighborhood in the pursuit of truth and a Dominican priest with a spine. For those of you new to the movement and indeed you are welcome we refer to Cardinal Bernard Law, the Boston Globe, Mitchell Garabedian, and Father Thomas Doyle.

Ten years hence we find the landscape of the scandal that both the Vatican and hierarchs in the United States tried to frame a decade ago along with an echoing recent bishop-commissioned badly formed Jay John Study as a few bad apple priests caught up in the 1960s sexual revolution to be a roiling scandal across the face of Europe, two heads of governments ( Ireland and the Netherlands) shining the mirror of morality at the Vatican's face, two civil governments (Ireland and Germany) investigating the Vatican, the filing of a case in the International Criminal Courts and in the United States the first indictment of a bishop.

All action has reaction.

Sadly, and we believe not coincidentally the recent six hour, six attorney deposition of SNAP's executive director, David Clohessy and the subpoena of SNAP's outreach director, Barbara Dorris, are the cause and effect of the indictment of a United States Bishop, Robert Finn, who heads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, a bishop who refused to report child pornography. This is made clear to us by the fact that Mr. Clohessy's was deposed even though SNAP is not a party to the survivor/priest abuse case that generated the deposition.

NSAC suspects there have been bishops, cardinals and misguided Catholics supporters who have lobbied for this hard ball approach against an effective organization since 2002: make SNAP spend money in litigation, limit SNAP's staff time from its work of supporting victims by having it handle lawsuit and lawsuit demands, cast fear into those who know the right thing to do is to stand with the innocent, report crimes, and cast out evil.

Why is this happening?

Because SNAP has been laboring for 23 years and because SNAP is effective. [NSAC Co-Founder Bob Schwiderski has been a SNAP Member since 1989. Contact: MN SNAP 952-471-3422/].

SNAP and other survivor organizations bear the scars, the horrors, the wounds of abuse, know the suffering of whose families of victims, are the only true person with whom a survivor can relate, take the arrows that Catholics fling at them coming out of Mass when only a simple piece of paper is being offered them, listen so patiently at any hour of the day or night, any day or night of the year, at any convenient or inconvenient moment to their fellow survivors.

Catholics have been and continue to be slow at realizing and acknowledging this.

NSAC asks our fellow Catholics and all men and women of goodwill most particularly on this anniversary to re-examine their consciences, lift the veil, be not afraid to look truth squarely in the face no matter the pain, and in the language of the Catholic religion: follow the Lord.

Catholics have two ways of expressing their feelings in their Church: by their feet and their wallets. This month, NSAC strongly encourages you to shut your wallets. When asked why, simply explain that your fellow Catholics who are victims of sexual abuse along with their families are not fairly treated and until they are your money remains in escrow or goes to other organizations.

NSAC asks our subscribers to make this day a day of renewal.

We call upon you in love to act in courage this day to stand the forces of a hierarchy who marshal money and manpower to fight against the indictment of a bishop who has admitted that he refused to report child pornography engaged in by one of his priest while harassing those who have labored with little to no assistance to be the Good Shepherd to their fellow survivors.

Can we not do more than offer a cross within eyesight of the Joan of Arcs that hierarchs have delivered up to soul murder with a hindsight look at coming along 500 hundred years later and to pronounce canonization?

For indeed, this is what the pitiful "sorrys" of the Pope, Vatican and Bishops do.

And worse, it is the public crowing of the current Cardinal of Boston and his fellow hierarchs that the finger printing of volunteers who were not the abusing culprits has solved the problem that really only existed long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

We exhort our readers and any that they may affect to remain totally engaged in this new assault that has opened in the battle.

Please do not sit idly by and allow SNAP's resources to be drained, or whistleblowers to be intimidated or silenced.

Please consider who these whistleblowers have been and have the potential to be: courageous victims, financially challenged Catholic parish staff member, journalists, police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors, rape crisis centers, children protection agencies.

It is a Catholic parish staff person who reported the Pittsburgh Diocese Catholic priest who has been indicted by state and now federal prosecutors on child pornography charges. This is this week's news not the news of a decade ago. We salute this courageous employee but we know that if the tactics are now being employed in Missouri against SNAP continue a great chill will descend and children will be violated by child pornography and rape and sodomy.

These are not anonymous children. These are our children.

Today of all days, we thank you for being NSAC News subscribers.

We pledge to keep faith with you.

We ask that you do not lose heart and that you look seriously, deeply, and with intent inside yourself for what is the right and just path.



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