Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, October 18, 2010

Pope defends priestly celibacy; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director 314 862 7688

The Pope’s pronouncements on abuse are getting worse, not better. It’s heart-breaking to see the enormous gulf between what he says and what is needed grow wider and wider.

From a public relations perspective, the Pope deserves an “A” for his comments. From a pastoral and practical perspective, he deserves an “F.”

Using words like “recently” falsely suggests clergy sex crimes and cover ups are a relatively new problem. They are not.

Using the past tense falsely suggests such crimes and cover ups are behind us. They are not.

Using words that only mention predator priests falsely suggests they are the root of the crisis. They are not.

Using words that ignore the stunning recklessness, callousness and deceit by bishops falsely suggest that bishops are innocent in this mess. They are not.

Some Catholics say “It’s it a good thing that the Pope now at least is talking about abuse.” It is not. One can talk in ways that clear up a crisis or in ways that contribute to a crisis. The Pope is contributing to this crisis.

Tragically, while kids are being molested and crimes are being concealed, the Pope deliberately mischaracterizes and minimizes the wrongdoing of the church hierarchy, while passively sitting back waiting for the scandal to explode in yet another nation somewhere on the globe. With each passing day and every squandered opportunity, the Pope makes a horrific situation worse by refusing to take simple, proven steps to safeguard the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the truth.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 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 David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

Pope defends priestly celibacy

The Associated Press - Monday, October 18, 2010; 7:41 AM

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has defended the celibate priesthood, saying that while abusive priests have caused shameful damage they can't discredit the priestly mission, which "remains great and pure."

The Vatican on Monday released a letter from the pope to seminarians again expressing "profound shame and regret" for the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the global Roman Catholic church.

He said that "thank God, all of us know exemplary priests" who have chosen a life of celibacy.

Some have questioned whether celibacy is in part to blame, but the Vatican insists celibacy isn't responsible.

Recently two bishops from the scandal-hit Belgian church openly questioned the celibacy requirement.

Pope regrets pain of priestly child abuse


VATICAN CITY, Oct 18 - Pope John Paul II expressed "deep pain" and regret for the "destruction" caused by priests' child abuse Monday, while insisting on the rule of clergy celibacy.

In a letter addressed to trainee priests, the pope said that it had emerged "recently" that "priests have deformed their ministry by the sexual abuse of children and young people."

"Instead of leading people towards a mature humanity and setting an example they have caused, through their abuses, destruction for which we feel deep pain and deep regret," he added.

Acknowledging that in the face of such abuse the question might be asked whether "a life of celibacy is reasonable", the pope said that abuses "cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure."

He held up as examples "priests filled with faith who bear witness that in a life of celibacy one can attain a true, pure and mature humanity."

But he warned the abuse scandals should make would-be priests to be more vigilant, and to ask themselves carefully about their vocation.

Paedophile priest scandals and allegations of high-level cover-ups that swept Australia and the United States in 2004 have surged again since last year and rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

The new wave of scandals began in Ireland last November with revelations of widespread abuse, in many cases stretching back decades, then spread to the pope's native Germany, Belgium, Austria, United States, Brazil and other countries.

The pope himself has faced allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the head of a powerful Vatican body, he helped to protect predator priests.

On his visit to Britain last month he admitted the Church had failed to act quickly enough to stamp out the menace.

But groups of abuse sufferers complain that his expressions of sorrow are not enough to make amends.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests