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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Bishop Zubik of Green Bay, WI

 


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Green Bay, WI Chapter

December 22, 2004

Bishop David A. Zubik
Green Bay Chancery Office
1910 South Webster Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54305

Dear Bishop Zubik,

Congratulations on the completion of your first year as bishop of Green Bay.

In your Christmas message to the Green Bay community, published in last Sunday’s Press Gazzette, you asked all of us to “remember the story when Christ calls” and open the door when we hear someone knocking this season, no matter who it might be—thje person knocking may be the hidden Christ.

We write to you today as mothers of boys that were sexually assaulted by priests in your diocese. Who has been knocking more at the door of the Church than victims of sexual abuse by clergy?

Certainly you can understand how difficult this is for us, as mothers whose children were sexually molested by priests, to write to you: beyond words is the pain of a mother when she discovers that her child has been sexually abused; terrible when the offender is a trusted and revered member of the Catholic clergy.

We are asking you today to help us reach out to those mothers, fathers and families of victims of clergy sexual abuse of all denominations--to help us help ourselves and our wounded children. Many victims, as you know, live for years and decades in shame and silence; most will never come forward for help. The reporting rate for child sexual abuse is abysmal; in fact, experts say that less than 10 percent of all children who sexually abused will ever report the crime.

As you know, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is the oldest and largest organization of clergy sexual abuse survivors in the country, with over 5,500 active members in 53 chapters nation-wide. Although victims do not always agree with how the church has handled sexual abuse, we do agree that all victims should have a chance to join with other survivors to find comfort, strength and courage.

That is why we are asking you, as some other bishops have done, to put our support group number and contact information in all parish bulletins, the diocesan paper, and the diocesan website. This would show your open-minded and sincere willingness to make sure that all victims know that they are not alone and that there are fellow victims and family members ready to assist them.

We understand if you feel you cannot meet this request, that you may be concerned that victims and families joining together may make your job more difficult. But we felt it was worth our effort to reach out to you and make this request.

The SNAP toll free national telephone number is 1-877-SNAPHEALS (1-877-762-7432).

Also, we are hoping that you will take the lead among religious leaders in helping all victims of sexual abuse—not just those of Catholic clergy—by contacting your colleagues in the Green Bay community from other denominations, synagogues and mosques and ask them to follow your example by placing our contact information in their religious publications and announcements this season.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Our sincere wishes for a blessed Christmas,

Alice Hodek (hodek@usxchange.net)
Son, Mark, was sexually assaulted as a minor by Fr. James Stein

Judith Schauer (judith007@sbcglobal.net)
Son, David, was sexually assaulted as a child by Fr. Donald Buzanowski

Peter J. Isely (414-429-7259/peterisely@yahoo.com)
SNAP Midwest Director, Milwaukee


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org