Protesters Gather to Say Bishop McCormack
By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
Union Leader - January 27, 2003
Some had buck teeth and pig tails. Others flashed shy, youthful
smiles and wore confirmation gowns, Catholic school uniforms or
angelic, white First Communion dresses.
They are the poster children of clergy sexual abuse whose pictures
were shownand stories told at a demonstration outside St. Joseph
Cathedral in Manchester yesterday.
|SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy holds
a photo of victim Eric Patterson of Kansas, as Sunday's Solidarity
March in Manchester, NH.
We suffered alone during our abuse and after our abuse,
said David Clohessy, abuse survivor and national director of Survivors
Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
But because of your courage, we are no longer alone. And
thats huge, Clohessy told the more than 200 people who
gathered to support victims of clergy sexual abuse and demand accountability
from church hierarchy who allowed it to happen.
Standing in the gloomy cold, the crowd listened as the names of 83
childhood abuse victims were read aloud to the solemn strains of Samuel
Barbers Adagio played over a sound system.
The path to moral salvation cannot be found in there,
said SNAPs Ann Hagan Webb, pointing to the cathedral where
morning Masses went on as usual.
|LAURA BREAULT of Hull, Mass., holds up a
photo of an alleged church abuse victim as a child, outside
St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester yesterday. (AP)
The moral heart of the Catholic church of New Hampshire is
outside the church today, added Webb, co-regional coordinator
of SNAPs Boston-based New England regional office.
The Solidarity March and demonstration, co-sponsored
by New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful and the Boston-based Coalition
of Catholics and Survivors, was the largest to date held in New
While the event was intended to support abuse victims, many who
stood beneath the snow-spitting sky for about two hours wanted much
Rose N. Yesu, 58, of Newton, Mass., said she will continue to protest
until all the bishops and priests involved in the coverup
resign, when the church has settled all the cases against the victims
and the structure of the church has changed so the secrecy that
allowed this to happen is gone.
For Yesu, that means Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack
|Susan Renehan, member of the Coalition of
Catholics and Survivors, and several other advocate groups,
spoke in support of countless silent female survivors.
Cardinal Bernard F. Laws top deputy in the Boston archdiocese
from 1984 to 1994 must resign.
Well keep coming back until hes gone, she
Demonstrators carried posters that said Shame beneath
McCormacks picture and N.H. Live Free! Spurn McCormack.
Betty M. Foley, 65, of St. Anselm Parish in Sudbury, Mass., said
McCormack is as culpable if not more than Law in the
abuse scandal that forced Laws resignation as Boston archbishop
The church needs to be made aware that the coverup cannot
continue, she said.
While Rose Miskus, 69, of Dover said her friends sexual abuse
as a young girl by a Chicago priest caused her to seek reform in
the church, she said she wont stop until significant changes
All the bishops who were appointed under Law, they have to
go, said Miskus of St. Thomas More Parish in Durham and member
of the Seacoast chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group.
The peaceful crowd included many from Massachusetts, including
members of Massachusetts Voice of the Faithful chapters and Speak
Truth to Power, a Boston-based victim advocacy group known as STTOP!.
In an apparent reference to earlier demonstrations when several
Granite Staters told protesters to go back to Massachusetts,
two speakers told New Hampshire Catholics not to draw lines at the
I know that many of you who call New Hampshire home really
dont want us here today, said John P. Vellante, 58,
of North Andover, Mass., who said he was abused in Massachusetts
and once in Concord by a former New Hampshire priest.
Clergy sexual abuse has no state boundaries. It happened
here in New Hampshire just as it happened in Massachusetts and in
so many other states across the land, he added.
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Dominican priest and long-time advocate
of abuse victims who lives in Germany, said: All you have
and all we have is the truth and because of that we are going to
make a change.
After the demonstration which included a procession around
the cathedral ended, about 15 to 20 people protested for
about 40 minutes outside the bishops residence at North River
Road, police said.
McCormack was in northern New Hampshire where he said Mass at an
unidentified parish and met with parishioners afterwards, diocesan
spokesman Patrick McGee said.
McGee said the church in New Hampshire does stand in solidarity
with all victims of abuse.
He said McCormack has no plans to resign.
He plans to continue to work to move the church forward in
its mission in New Hampshire and to continue to make sure the actions
of abuse never happens again, McGee added.