PA--SNAP: “Pope’s callous praise of bishops opens new wounds”

On eve of pope’s trip in Philly, group to hold small vigil

They remember hundreds of victims who committed suicide

SNAP: “Pope’s callous praise of bishops opens new wounds

Organization says papal visit “provokes pain in thousands

It begs victims to “reach out, get therapy, and 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,

--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, and

--blast Pope Francis for his recent remarks praising US bishops for their actions in the abuse and cover up crisis.

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.


Friday, September 25 at 4:00 p.m.


Outside of Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th & Benjamin Franklin Parkway


Seven-eight members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (


Pope Francis’ first-ever US trip is provoking considerable anxiety and pain among many clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP reports. Many are upset about the pontiff’s callous comments about the crisis on Wednesday and his “refusal to do anything concrete to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth or end the cover ups.”

“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 church officials like Cardinal Justin Rigali and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony are part of the festivities is 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. Cardinal Rigali was no better, implying and claiming grand jury investigations into Philly crimes and cover ups were motivated by bias.” 

“This week, Pope Francis claimed U.S. bishops have made ‘great sacrifice’ because of the abuse and cover-up crisis. We sure don’t see it,” said Judy Jones, SNAP volunteer Missouri leader. “The bishops have made excuses, not sacrifices, and every tiny step forward they’ve made has been under duress, in response to public pressure, and continues to be.”

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

Contact :

Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Becky Ianni (703 801 6044[email protected]), David Clohessy (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]), Judy Jones (636-433-2511[email protected])

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