Church child abuse victims' group SNAP takes on Poland

By Polskie Radio

August 13, 2014

The largest international organisation devoted to aiding victims of Church child abuse and exposing paedophile priests is setting up branches in Poland.

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), which was founded in the US in 1989, currently has representatives in 56 countries.

“We want to appoint a local [SNAP] leader in every diocese or region,” said Maria Mucha, who is setting up the organisation's Polish network, in an interview with the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

She added that each leader will “gather information about victims and perpetrators."

“You have to collect it locally, as that is the most effective method,” she argued.

In recent years, SNAP campaigns have led to the bankruptcy of 11 US dioceses owing to compensation cases involving child abuse victims.

This June, leading Polish archbishops held a penitential mass in Krakow for the sins of clergymen guilty of child abuse.

Recent research by Poland's Child Protection Centre indicates that at least 19 Polish clergyman were convicted of child abuse between 2010 and 2013 (not all courts supplied information on time).

Since then, a number of high profile cases have emerged, one of which led to the defrocking of the Vatican's papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic, former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski.

Archbishop of Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said during June's penitential mass that although some clergymen had committed “evil” by abusing children “it is not permissible to present this deviancy as if it were a wickedness typical of the Catholic Church.” (nh)

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