What does a nine-to-one ratio tell you?

For the ninth time, Pope Francis sat down this morning with a group he's charged with improving Vatican governance.

Once, Francis has sat down with the group he's charged with dealing with clergy sex abuse and cover ups.   

Missionary Kids hold meeting in Atlanta

Next weekend (Apr 17-19) MKSafetyNet is holding our second international conference for missionary kid survivors in Atlanta, GA. 

It’s an amazing group of people: men and women who were taken abroad as children when their devout parents became missionaries in developing nations. They lived away from their moms and dads and were often treated brutally and abused repeatedly by “dorm parents.”    

An NYC teacher says “There has to be misery for kids???”

I’m wary of seeming to wade into the charter school debate. But part of our mission in SNAP is to “protect the vulnerable” and we have long helped those hurt in any institutional setting – not just churches but schools, camps and athletic leagues too.

And few hold a higher opinion of teachers than I do. So I’m reluctant to criticize them.

Arkansas, Chile & Pope Francis

Oddly enough, two sentences from a Republican politician about discrimination help explain why Pope Francis' latest choice for bishop is generating such distress and dispute.

Many in the US are wondering why debates over Religious Freedom and Restoration laws, which have quietly passed with little upset in more than 20 states, have suddenly become so heated.   

Why Francis won’t back down on Barros

Why won’t Pope Francis back down on an obviously and severely hurtful move: giving Bishop Juan Barros Madrid his own diocese.   

SNAP loses a good friend

John Pilmaier's dad, the roof over our heads as survivors, died Sunday; let’s keep his seat for him at the hearing tomorrow   

Most of you know John Pilmaier III, SNAP’s Wisconsin director and a corporate officer of the Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance (SCLA).  John’s dad, John Jr., died this Sunday of cancer, at home, surrounded  by his family.  There will be an empty seat, in other words, at the archdiocesan bankruptcy hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, that John Jr. most certainly would have attended if fate would have allowed him to get there.  Let’s remember him at the hearing tomorrow as we stand with our fellow survivors as John always stood with his son and with us:  11:00 a.m., Milwaukee Federal Courthouse, Judge Susan V. Kelley courtroom, first floor.  You can email John III at  and his mom Lynn at  I know they would appreciate hearing from us.  John’s obituary can be found here and where you can make donations in his memory.    

“Hey, whatever happened to that review board?”

Remember the National Review Board, the panel set up 13 years ago to “oversee” bishops and “help investigate and look for solutions to the scandal.”   

A contributing factor: Supply and demand

Rarely is the concept of “supply and demand” cited as a contributing factor to the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis. But it should be.

A university professor writes in the National Catholic Reporter today: “Fewer than 26,265 diocesan priests remain in the U.S. today and of them, only 68 percent -- about 17,900 -- are still in active ministry. Only about one-third as many new priests are being ordained each year to make up for the ones who are retiring, dying or leaving active ministry.”   

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

That line, from the Wizard of Oz, leapt to mind when I read about Pope Francis’ recent endorsement of corporal punishment.

Or to be more accurate, that’s the line that I thought of after reading a Vatican spokesman’s defense of Francis’ remark.

A reality check about bishops and “accountability”

Statement by David Clohessy  Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,
Phone: (314) 566-9790,   E-mail:

I hate to see hopes raised and then dashed. So at the risk of being the skunk at the garden party, let me make two points about the possibility of “new” church “processes” that allegedly will “ensure accountability” by complicit bishops.

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