The year is moving quickly to a close but before it does, I wanted to note an odd anniversary. It was ten years ago that SNAP was the butt of the most outrageous criticism in our three decades of work.
An international Catholic organization is planning to use the last Sunday in October to recognize and applaud priests who have not abused children or vulnerable adults.
The idea behind “Priesthood Sunday” cannot be more misplaced. Obviously not all priests are abusing children. It is also obvious that many Catholics are outraged over the abuse scandal that has engulfed their church. Because of this, we cannot help but feel that “Priesthood Sunday” as organized by Serra International is little more than the Catholic Church’s “#NotAllMen” moment.
Written by David Clohessy, October 22, 2018, Social Policy
Politicians in the US don’t insist on being called Your Eminence or Your Grace. They don’t ask citizens to kneel before them or kiss their rings. That’s because we live in a democracy. There is, however, a different kind of government. It’s called a monarchy when using polite language, or more bluntly, a dictatorship. In it, those at the top hold virtually all the power and are accountable to no one.
The oldest and biggest example of this system is the Vatican. And in a nutshell, this is why clergy sex crimes and cover-ups continue in the Catholic church. This is relevant now of course because of last week’s scathing grand jury report into six Pennsylvania dioceses. It’s sending shockwaves across the church and beyond.
One year ago this week, the New York Times first ran its bombshell report on Harvey Weinstein. In the fallout of that article, the #MeToo movement re-emerged. Started by the activist Tarana Burke and led by brave survivors who wished to share their experience –in many cases, for the first time – with the world, the #MeToo movement has spread from Hollywood to cities large and small across the nation. While the full effects of the movement will be thought about, written on, and studied in classrooms for years to come, it’s hard to underestimate those effects today.
It's one thing when advocates from a group like SNAP urge an elected official to take action that will protect kids and hold perpetrators accountable. But when such a plea is made by a contemporary, that can carry even more weight. SNAP is grateful to attorney Nicole Gorovsky - a former assistant Missouri attorney general and federal prosecutor - for joining us in asking Missouri’s Josh Hawley for a real investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups. You can read Nicole’s letter here.
Support Statute of Limitations Reform Bill
Organizers are calling on Pennsylvanians to show support for dramatic and needed reform of statute of limitations law. Demonstrate your support for reform and demand that PA legislators protect the children and the vulnerable.
Marchers will meet at City Island and will march to Capital Steps for a rally. Mark Rozzi will be giving a press conference at 12 pm to 1 pm. We invite all participants to contact their State Senators from 1 pm to 6 pm. A vigil will happen 6 pm and 8 pm.
Show the legislators that enough is enough!
HOW MANY MORE?
Check out this amazing billboard that asks How Many More?
By Mary Dispenza
Dear Pope Francis,
Time is begging you to do the right thing. There have been too many apologies from you and other Popes through the ages with little to no significant reform. The Catholic Church remains seemingly unable to conquer its demons. And yet, if you don't, the Catholic Church may perish - never becoming the great Church it could be.
Neither you, your bishops or priests appear serious about ending the torture and clergy sex abuse of children, minors and vulnerable adults. The silence of so many priests and bishops including yourself speaks complicity in one way or another.
Welcome New Executive Director
The Board of Directors of SNAP are pleased to announce the hiring of the new executive director, Zach Hiner.
Zach joins us at a momentous moment in time. SNAP continues to grow and expand, with new support groups and new initiatives. We expect further growth in support of survivors by engaging in social media and through technology such as video conferencing local and national support groups. The life changing work of our founders, Barbara Blaine and David Clohessy continues in a new era.
Zach brings passion to the SNAP mission, technical skills to lead us to the future, and experience to get the job done.
The Board welcomes Zach and ask all to extend your support to him as we move forward. Zach’s first day is September 24th.
Board of Directors
Zach Hiner has spent the past eight years of his career working in child abuse and neglect prevention. A graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University, Zach started his career as the Executive Assistant to David Clohessy while David served as the Executive Director of SNAP. After several years working with Barbara, David and Barb, Zach moved on to Prevent Child Abuse America; first as the External Communications Manager and most recently as the Director of Communications.
While at PCA America, Zach developed public awareness campaigns aimed at moving the public to action on behalf of children and families with the message that each of us have a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Additionally, Zach has facilitated internal and external communications among PCA America’s two major national networks and has worked with advocates, survivors, college students and politicians in order to help Americans understand that prevention is possible.
“I’m excited to come home to the organization that lit the spark and turned me towards a life of advocacy and prevention. SNAP made an indelible impact on my career and I’m honored to come back to the organization at this critical time. Every day, more and more people are becoming aware of the realities of just how common abuse becomes when we put institutions over people, whether that institution is a church, a University, or a Hollywood studio. For years SNAP has led the way in providing a voice to the voiceless and I am looking forward to increasing our reach, updating our messaging and helping SNAP reach more people than we ever thought would be possible.”
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.