Cardinals Accept Invitation to Meet With Clerical Sexual Abuse Victims

Historic Session to Take Place Before Bishops' Meeting, June 12

Chicago, IL/June 6, 2002 - The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) today announced that three Roman Catholic Cardinals are expected to meet with a group of 25 childhood clerical sexual abuse survivors on Wednesday, June 12 in Dallas, Texas.

Cardinals Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles, Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., and William Keeler of Baltimore, Maryland, as well as Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, are expected to attend the session. Archbishop Flynn is also the Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. SNAP has invited, and continues to welcome, all U.S. Cardinals to attend the session.

"This is the first time that a group of church leaders is meeting with a group of clerical sexual abuse victims," said David Clohessy, Director of SNAP. "We hope it will be the catalyst for substantial changes in the Church that will protect children and help survivors of childhood clerical sexual abuse to heal," said Clohessy.

SNAP's Founder and President Barbara Blaine said, "We believe that our best chance of reaching the Cardinals' hearts is in an intimate setting like this. We hope to have a very frank dialogue."

The meeting will take place on Wednesday June 12 from 5:00-6:15 p.m., central time, in the Dallas Room of the Fairmont Hotel, in Dallas, Texas. Survivors are expected to provide brief personal introductions, discuss the impact that childhood sexual abuse has had on their lives, and offer suggestions on how the Church can help victims to heal and
prevent future abuse.

While the meeting between the Cardinals and the survivors will be closed to the press, a joint press briefing session is expected to take place afterward in the International Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel. Details will be announced on or before June 12.

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is an independent, twelve-year-old 3,800-member, all volunteer, self-help group of men and women who were sexually victimized by clergy (priests, bishops, nuns, brothers and other church employees and officials). Based in Chicago, its website is

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