Geneva- UN issues “devastating” report on Catholic clergy scandal; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, [email protected])

A UN panel has issued a report on how the Vatican handles clergy sexual abuse and cover up. The AP calls the report “devastating.” Reuters calls it “scathing.” We call it “on target.” 

It's a wakeup call, not to Catholic officials (who've known about and concealed abuse for decades and still do) but for secular officials, especially those in law enforcement, who can and should investigate Catholic abuses and cover ups and prosecute the church supervisors who are still protecting predators and endangering children.

For the safety of children, we hope every head of state on the planet reads this and acts on it.

The UN panel found that “child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported (by Catholic officials) to the law enforcement authorities.” And the panel rightly emphasized the need for effective prevention programs.

Of course, the quickest way to prevent child sexual violence by Catholic clerics is for Pope Francis to publicly remove all offenders from ministry and harshly punish their colleagues and supervisors who enabled their crimes. But like his predecessors, he has refused to take even tiny steps in this direction.

Bishops in developed nations will claim that they're better than their colleagues in the developing world. That's disingenuous. In developed nations, bishops have been forced – by brave victims, investigative journalists, determined police and skilled prosecutors – to address this crisis earlier than bishops in other nations. And instead of dealing with it honestly and compassionately, they've largely just learned to work harder and smarter to conceal it.

This report gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims across the world. Now it's up to secular officials to follow the UN's lead and step in to safeguard the vulnerable because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so.

 (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 25 years and have more than 15,000 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 Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected])

Showing 11 comments

  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-02-10 15:07:28 -0600
    Ms. Halter, I truly hope you’re right. But I personally don’t see secular education (if that’s the type of education you were referring to) as having much if anything to do with understanding the way earthly power operates. There are many very educated people in this world who fiercely continue in their choice to see things in ways that don’t reflect the reality of certain critical topics. So I don’t see the phrase “being fooled” as such an insult, because people have been fooled by earthly power for millennia, and I DO sympathize with them. The way I see it, the more our society progresses along its charted course, the more spiritually impoverished we become, which is why invaluable movements such as the one SNAP is involved with is so diminutive compared to those who tenaciously adhere to their love of Superbowl Sunday (for example) instead of trying to improve the human condition. It’s written in scripture that Christ will return when all other hope is lost. Now very much appears to be that time. Those who make valiant attempts to bring Justice to the world will be rewarded of course, but only God, Christ, and the Heavenly army will be able to crush the synagogue of Satan, which is headquartered at the Vatican. Those who still refuse to see Vatican City as the continuation of the Roman Empire are only allowing themselves to be deluded. Read and re-read the books of Revelation, Daniel, Thessalonians, the gospels, and others that focus on prophecy. The signs are all around us for those who’ve been steadfast in resisting earthly indoctrination. There IS a Satanic conspiracy in this world that is vast. When reading scripture, the term “conspiracy” is mentioned often. The word “theory” is not. We are reaching a point of no return and the 2nd coming may be sooner than we think. Lastly, I think that most Catholics are sincerely good-hearted people, but the secular world has blinded them to many self-evident truths. And certainly not only Catholics.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-10 14:56:09 -0600
    Dear Mrs. Blaine,
    Thank you, again, for this succinct and concise summation of the problem of catholic pedophile priests and many others of the catholic laity and of catholic employees.

    I think that the two most important things you say in this statement, are: "We call it ‘on target.’ ” (with reference to the UN’s report), and; “Now it’s up to secular officials to follow the UN’s lead and step in to safeguard the vulnerable because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so.”

    And, although I fully agree with you, I also believe that in order to secure these ends, that it’s incumbent on us to "carry this word, or ‘notice’ " to the secular officials, everywhere. To Interpol, to the free press of the United States, to the governments of all the countries of the world, if at all possible. Because I do believe that publication of SNAP leaders’ comments should be made known and further read, I am writing to encourage you to please submit this brief statement of yours to the New York Times and other equally established news outlets. Please help keep the momentum and help further publicize the plight of the victims of these catholic pedophiles that in effect, the whole catholic church, has been enabling and abetting. Please.

    Again, thank you for all of your efforts in this, as yet, unresolved matter.
    Lani Halter
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-10 14:31:15 -0600
    Mr. Egan, if what you say about the catholic congregation is true (that the majority of the adult catholic congregation are apparently so easily “fooled”), I am truly saddened. Being born, and growing up, being educated and living in middle class USA for the most of my life, it is difficult for me to imagine such a huge number of catholic adults across the earth, being as easily deceived and mislead, as you describe. I apparently too often forget that much of the earth’s adult catholic population is neither educated, nor functioning in a country that even has a middle class. All of this, though, makes the crimes of these catholic pedophiles even more offensive, in my opinion. And, I am truly, truly hoping and praying that the adults of the world who are not so easily “fooled” as you say, will actually manage to PREVAIL in exposing and prosecuting these abject criminals, BEFORE the second coming of Christ.
  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-02-10 12:45:22 -0600
    The current pope will not try to solve the matter because he is a willing member of the cover-up. His antics with attempting to appear “humble” to the masses is little or nothing more than a way to fool the Catholic congregation. Only Christ at his 2nd coming will end the abuse and provide Justice. The clergy and secular heads of state will not. All they are doing now, which they’ve been doing for a long time, is preparing to fight the forces of Heaven, and God Himself.
  • Gavin Benteau
    commented 2014-02-07 08:50:08 -0600
    As a Survivor I am as offended by this article promoting the myth that sexual assault is a male on female issue as much as I am by the church and its congregation who allowed for my being sexually assaulted for several years and then turned against me when as a child, I spoke out.
    Sexual assault is not a male on female issue. It is a act of sexual violence regardless of the gender of the victim or offender.
  • Annette Kissell Nestler
    commented 2014-02-05 11:44:31 -0600
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 11:31:03 -0600
    I agree with much of what Dan Ogrodowski commented earlier, and think that it might be helpful for some to think of this in terms of this problem secularly. However, part of what makes these particular crimes so heinous is that the children and other victims abused by clerics and laity of the catholic church have twisted and perverted ALL UNDERSTANDING AND BELIEVE AND FAITH IN GOD, CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. The crimes they have committed, are against the heart, mind and physical body of the victims. I am of the belief that it is practically a miracle any of the survivors, SURVIVE!!! And, to this day, I am still wondering how it is, that the perpetrators, whom the rest of us, outnumber, have survived. They are not cockroaches, they are pedophiles who MUST BE STOPPED.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-05 11:21:36 -0600
    THANK YOU, BARBARA BLAINE. PLEASE KEEP UP THE FIGHT AND BE UNRELENTING IN YOUR DEFENSE OF THE ABUSED children AND disabled adults! I’m beginning to believe that it’s possible, entirely possible, that with enough voices and people telling the catholic church that these acts are INDEFENSIBLE AND HEINOUS, that all us who oppose the continuation of such horrific crimes being committed IN THE CHURCH and by pedophiles employed by the church, MUST END AND BE PREVENTED FROM RECURRING. THIS IS not A CANCER. THIS IS A SCOURGE OF PREDATOR CRIMINALS.
  • Leigh Powers
    commented 2014-02-05 10:06:55 -0600
    Where can we find a copy of the report?
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-02-05 09:41:02 -0600
    Geneva- UN issues “devastating” report on Catholic clergy scandal; SNAP responds
  • Dan Ograndowski
    commented 2014-02-05 07:27:56 -0600
    What if This Happened in a Secular Organization?
    If this was Wal-Mart, abusing your children, spending decades fighting victims to avoid responsibility for lives destroyed in the ugliest ways. Spending millions to keep the truth from you. As you watch them placing all of their assets out of the reach of victims in preparation for bankruptcy. A final shameful act to minimize their cost of paying for shattered lives. Imagine as their district manager tells you how sorry that he was and how “they” didn’t realize “back then” that the rape of a child was wrong. Then asked all that were abused to come forward only to be thrown out of the process and hurt again.

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