The Witch Hunt of Our Priests: The Catholic Church Becomes a Money Spigot

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):




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  • Here's the written version of what Bill Donahue wrote:

    SNAP is now mostly funded by the two attorneys who have gained the most money (over half a billion dollars - yes, billion with a "B").

  • In reply to Augustin58:

    It is outrageous! Thanks for the link!

  • " If the victim is under age, they have till they're 21 to tell what happened to them."

    A garden variety 21 year old lacks maturity and perspective mroe often than not. Assuming an 8, 10 or 12 year old was victimized, they are dealing with a whole world of HELL they never asked for and their development is probably short circuited if not completely fried. Can we give them until age 25 instead? After all, the powers-that-be did hide these secrets for decades.

  • Wisconsin has (the last I heard) charitable tort immunity, so nobody is collecting civil judgments there.

    However, there is the problem that various organizations (not just the Catholic Church according to reports) tolerated this culture for too long.

    You seem to mix whether the counter organizations are using the church bogeyman for fundraising (and there is nothing new about that) vs. settlements being a source of funds, instead of going to the victims.

    It also seems like you are mixing whether to "tell the police," i.e. criminal prosecution, and a civil action. In the case of telling the police, somebody should as soon as it happens, not wait until 21 and, at a minimum give the suspect another 7 years to continue doing it. If you are talking about civil actions, the real question may be that the statute of limitations has about been waived in such cases, anyway, not that the common law rule that one should be 21 to be considered competent in the law should apply.

    Of course, in the absence of DNA evidence, there isn't going to be tangible proof now or 7 years from now. At least molestation of little girls generally leaves some evidence. Heck, they couldn't even convict Michael Jackson.

  • SNAP and plaintiffs aside, I would be interested in your reaction to the following:

    The Tribune reported today that "the Vatican" denied that it had interfered with Irish civil authorities investigating child sexual abuse by priests, topping it off by saying "at the time, in the mid-1990s, there was no law in Ireland requiring professionals to report suspected abuse to police."

    Now, this hits me as sophistry and hypocrisy of the highest order. It appears that sexual assault of minors was a crime in Ireland, and the prior Vatican letter amounted to aiding it.

    I thought that The Reformation was over duplicity like this.

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