The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Saturday, June 5, 2010
For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003
St. Louis clergy sex abuse victim heads to Europe
She’ll be in Rome during next week’s “Year of the Priest” gala
Pope Benedict is expected to apologize for actions of predator priests
But SNAP says “actions, not words, protect kids” and “apologies are meaningless”
Responding to pleas, US victims will spend a week starting self-help groups in several countries
A St. Louis clergy sex abuse victim will join two of her US colleagues heading to Europe soon to help start support groups for others who were molested by clergy. The trio is also expected to harshly criticize Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials for what they consider to be the “all talk, no action” response of Catholic officials to the church’s on-going child sex abuse and cover up crisis.
Barbara Dorris, a long-time leader in SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, heads to Europe early Monday morning for a nine day trip through several countries. It will begin in Rome the day before a widely-promoted rally capping what the Pope has deemed “The Year of the Priest.” Thousands of priests across the world are expected to attend.
Many Vatican observers have also indicated that the pontiff will apologize again for the misdeeds of pedophile priests. SNAP has repeatedly urged Pope Benedict to take decisive action to “protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded,” rather than “mouthing vague pieties and apologies and promises that in effect do nothing to really safeguard children right now or deter future recklessness, callousness and deceit,” according to Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s founder and president. (312 399 4747, [email protected])
Dorris worries about the impact of the “Year of the Priest” celebration on clergy sex abuse victims across the world.
“This kind of ‘glorifying the clerics’ event is usually very hurtful to survivors,” said Dorris. “Such rallies tend to reinforce the message that most Catholics have gotten since birth – that somehow clerics are on a special level, above the rest of us, and automatically deserve deference and obedience. That attitude, frankly, is one reason why it’s still possible to ignore or conceal clergy sex crimes.”
The three US victims plan to travel to Rome, Germany, England, Austria, and possibly one or two other countries.
Joining Dorris will be Peter Isely (414 429 7259, [email protected]) of Milwaukee WI and Joelle Casteix (949 322 7434, [email protected]) of Newport Beach CA. Isely is the group’s Midwest Director and Casteix is its Western Regional Director. They are both volunteers; Dorris, SNAP’s Outreach Director, is one of the organization’s four staff members.
Isely and Casteix leave on Sunday, Dorris leaves Monday morning.
Four SNAP members, including Dorris and Isely, made a similar trip to Europe in March. As a result, SNAP chapters have been set up in Austria, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Based in Chicago, SNAP is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. It has been around for 22 years and has more than 9,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in its title, SNAP has members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Its website is SNAPnetwork.org
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests