I originally posted this yesterday, but thought it was important enough to re-post. Friday's post won't be nearly as serious, I promise!
The priest scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church for years has gotten out of hand. The organization called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has gone from a much needed and welcome organization to a witch-hunt group that uses the church as a money spigot for their clients.
I used to admire this organization. They were the good going against the evil. They offered comfort and tried to right the wrongs in our Church that had seemed to lose control of the very shepherds that are supposed to lead. The bishops were failing to hold their priests accountable and SNAP brought the glare of the media on the Catholic Church's failings. Now the glare of the media has become a Catholic Church bashing crusade.
What the hell happened? I think what happened is SNAP lost it's perspective. Every story of abuse is not true, i.e., Fr. Gordon MacRae and Joseph Cardinal Bernadin are high profile examples of grave injustices. Cardinal Bernadin's accuser recanted, but Fr. MacRae sits in a jail cell for 60+ years because he wouldn't take a plea bargain.
Here in lies the real problem: Many of these accusations are 25, 30 and even 40 years old! It becomes one man's word against another with no witnesses to back up either story.
I think there should be new guidelines, especially when it comes to a "settlement." We need to teach our kids that they HAVE to tell SOMEONE as soon as possible so a police report can be filed. If the victim is under age, they have till they're 21 to tell what happened to them. After that, there will be no investigation and no "settlement." If there is even a hint of continued impropriety on the part of the priest, an investigation should be launched to protect others, but there should be no "settlement."
When the scandal broke, I was horrified that our priests had reduced themselves to low-life sexual predators hiding behind the collar. I could not imagine being betrayed by a priest in such a way, nor could I imagine my own children being molested by someone they had been taught to look up to. Praying for the victims never seemed to be enough. But it is all I had and still have to offer.
I hope SNAP finds their way back to their original intent: to help victims and to hold the Catholic Church accountable without the "settlements."
Please take the time to watch this video (starting at the 23:00 mark featuring Bill Donohue on SNAP (32:00 mark) and other subjects):