We are constantly amazed by the resiliency of SNAP members. Often after considerable struggle and years of doubt or confusion, most survivors reach a point where they consider themselves religious or spiritual. Many are still churchgoers. Some have managed to remain Catholic, while others have chosen other faith groups.
In terms of a "prescription," suggestions fall into two broad categories - broad steps that require Rome's approval or involvement, and more immediate steps that could be taken now by any bishop anywhere.
In the former category, many believe that if priests could marry, if women could be ordained and if laity were given greater power in decision-making, abuse by priests would be less widespread, more quickly detected and more sensitively handled.
In the later category, steps that can be taken without approval from Rome, many believe that every bishop should:
remove every priest who has molested or been accused of molesting a child;
use independent professionals to conduct any investigations;
announce the names of admitted or suspected abusive priests to the public;
have 'safe touch' prevention programs in parochial schools;
have "Abuse Prevention Sunday," on which every priest tells parents that discussing sexual abuse with their children and reporting suspected abuse ot authorities is their civic and moral duty;
voluntarily stop using legal technicalities (like the statute of limitations) to fight abuse claims,
guarantee therapy to abuse victims by independent providers;
defrock any priest who knows or suspects abuse by another priest but fails to contact the police.
In the public policy arena, we believe every state legislature should:
extend the statute of limitations so that abuse survivors can seek justice even into adulthood
force clergy to be "mandated reporters" of suspected abuse (just like we).