How would you describe SNAP's relationship with the Catholic Church - adversarial or cooperative? How has the news media responded to SNAP over the history of the organization?
Our relationship with the Catholic laity has never been better. More parishioners express sympathy towards us and believe we were truly abused. More of them understand that our experiences are not "isolated incidents" caused by "a few bad apples," but rather widespread hurts caused by bishops who lack the will to effectively root out pedophiles and punish those who cover up the crimes.
Our relationship with the Catholic hierarchy is not what it could be.
At the local level, for ten years St. Louis has had the nation's largest local support group for clergy abuse survivors. Not once during that time has a single church official called, written or asked to meet with us. (Once years ago, we asked to address a group of local priests, but were denied.)
At the national level, the same is essentially true. In the 12 years history of SNAP, no body of bishops has ever voluntarily asked for our input or agreed to sit down with us, except when pressured to do so. That, in our view, simply reaffirms our skepticism about most bishops' commitment to substantive reforms.