Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Friday, April 15, 2011

SNAP blasts all “timid” Belgian Catholic officials

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

Shame on every single Catholic official – in Belgium and in Rome- who stays silent about Bishop Vangheluwe’s most recent horrific public comments.

We’re grateful that a few Belgian bishops have spoken up. Every Belgian cleric should. And certainly the Vatican should severely denounce Vangheluwe, and try to reverse some of the damage he’s done recently.

The real issue isn’t this pedophile prelate. He’s clearly sick and arrogant. He’s just doing what almost every predator does – minimizing and justifying his heinous crimes.

(It is, however, particularly twisted and hurtful when powerful predators insinuate that their helpless child victims somehow consented in the devastating crimes.)

The real issue is the inexcusable silence of hundreds of Catholic employees – especially high ranking ones – in the face of this bishop’s callous comments.

Every top Catholic staffer – in Bruge, in the rest of Belgium, in Rome, and elsewhere – should be condemning this child molester’s hurtful remarks with every fiber of their being. They should be shouting from the rooftops: “Kids are NEVER to blame for the abuse they suffer,” and “We deplore these awful comments” and “This kind of blame-shifting and victim-blaming keep deeply wounded victims trapped in fear and shame.”

But as usual, most bishops are being passive and selfish and silent, essentially sending the same strong signal that they’ve sent for decades: “The less we all talk about child molesting clerics and church cover ups, the better it will be for each of us at the top.”

Our hearts ache for Vangheluwe’s two nephews. Our hearts ache for others who were, no doubt, sexually violated by this prominent and powerful pedophile. But our hearts also ache for Catholics - in Belgium and across the globe – who deserve to have courageous and compassionate church officials, instead of timid and callous ones

(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 23 years and have more than 10,000 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, [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])

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests