NY--As pope arrives in NYC, group to hold small vigil
They remember hundreds of victims who committed suicide
SNAP: Pope’s callous defense of bishops opens new wounds
Organization says papal visit “provokes pain in hundreds”
They beg victims to “reach out, get therapy, call loved ones”
Holding signs and childhood photos of suicide at a sidewalk vigil, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--remember and honor adults who were molested as kids and took their own lives, and
--express support and concern for other victims who are suffering because of Pope Francis’s visit and the laudatory attention the Catholic hierarchy is enjoying.
They will urge all victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to
--keep coming forward and seeking help (from independent sources),
--stay in therapy, support groups and 12 step programs,
--remember that recovery is possible, and
--focus less on church officials and more on their mental health and well-being.
Thursday, September 24 at 5:30 p.m.
Outside of St. Joseph’s Church,
371 6th Ave at Washington Place
Greenwich Village, NYC
Seven-eight members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including 1) an Illinois woman and attorney who is the organization’s long time president and 2) a California woman who is a best-selling author on abuse prevention.
Pope Francis’ first-ever US trip is already provoking considerable anxiety and pain among many clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP reports. Many struggle with seeing the pontiff’s popularity and what they see as his callous disregard of the sex abuse scandal across the United States, the group says.
“During the past few days, Pope Francis has been treated like a king, while victims of sexual abuse have been minimized and marginalized,” said Megan Peterson, SNAP’s volunteer New York director. “Seeing the Pope meet with the President Obama and address a joint session of Congress is enormously damaging to survivors, especially since the crimes and cover-ups are not over.”
“Learning that disgraced Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony was a part of the entourage was even more upsetting,” said Peter Isely, SNAP’s Mid-West director. “Cardinal Mahony covered up for hundreds of child sex crimes across California and allowed countless men to prey on children. He’s reviled in his own archdiocese. How can we trust that kids are safer from abuse when Pope Francis allows a man like Mahony to accompany him?”
“This week, Pope Francis told the U.S. bishops that many of them have made ‘great sacrifice’ because of the abuse and cover-up crisis,” said Judy Jones, SNAP volunteer Missouri leader. “Families, communities and children are destroyed by child sexual abuse. The bishops have made no sacrifices. They have only made excuses.”
SNAP believes that hundreds of US clergy abuse victims have taken their lives. In the Wichita diocese, five young men who were sexually violated by Fr. Robert K. Larson committed suicide.
Many consider SNAP an “activist” group. But it has always been, and remains, primarily a self-help support group dedicated to “giving hope and coping skills to men, women and teenagers who are in pain because of clergy sex crimes and cover ups perpetrated by church officials,” its leaders say.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
David G. Clohessy, Director, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), 314-566-9790 (cell), [email protected], Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434,[email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]),