Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why SNAP has zero credibility

Yesterday, the Archdiocese announced that a priest, accused of many acts of abuse of young men, had been laicized by the pope.

Here's what appeared in the Dayton Daily News today:

"Strittmatter still poses a threat to children," SNAP said. "His defrocking does not mean that he has been 'fixed.'

"It simply means that Archbishop Pilarczyk can now officially 'wash his hands' of him from now on."

Now; use your imagination to see what SNAP would have said had the Archbishop not sought the man's laicization. In fact, try to imagine all the various permutations, and then guess what SNAP would have said.

See how they work? No matter what you do, they're gonna bash you.

(Now let's see how they try to hit me because I dare to criticize their behavior.)


Anonymous said...

I agree - they have NO credibility - because they aren't trying to bring true justice AND also forgiveness and healing within the Church that Christ instituted.
You're absolutely right - no matter WHAT the bishop did - it wouldn't have been right or enough.
The sad part about SNAP and groups like it is that so many people fall into membership. I think this is because
1. People are hurt and bishops - Cincinnati's included - have not stepped up as a good father and taken the anger, told the truth, and worked for real change. Not in the areas SNAP wants but preaching the TRUTH.
2. The bishops haven't taken as public a stance on the heresies, liturgical abuses, etc. and expect their priests, Catholic organizations and religious in their diocese to teach the truth, the whole truth and, especially, the hard truth - so that the faithful understand the faith/Church and wouldn't fall in with these groups.
3. Finally - it just doesn't seem that hard that on the first report of any sort of sexual ANYTHING with ANYBODY - the bishop would leap into action. (And I don't mean that the priest is immediately laicized.)
I think most of the people that have fallen into SNAP are there because they just don't know where else to go.

Rich Leonardi said...

Right. Heads they win, tails you lose. Their fifteen minutes of fame are up, and they're resorting to ugly smears to continue garnering press attention.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Similarly, Voice of the Faithful has lost credibility with me.

The Dayton VOTF group wanted to have a meeting at my previous parish. The pastor agreed. They invited the rector of the seminary to come and speak. He agreed.

The rector, my pastor and I, and several other priests were present, one of whom had been outspoken in support of VOTF and critical of the archbishop. The leader acknowledged and thanked the priests present, calling us "priests of integrity" whom VOTF wanted to support. Round of applause.

A woman spoke next, who had been abused. Very sad story, hard to listen to, but important to do so. Very emotional for everyone.

The rector spoke next, explaining how the seminary works, very complete account. Opened the floor for questions. Questions varied, naturally, from more reasonable, and respectful, to aggressive, to a little off the wall. He handled them well, and I think the crowd was responsive and appreciative, overall.

Then . . . someone asked him whether he agreed with the criticism voiced against the archbishop. The rector said, I didn't come here to criticize the archbishop. Some murmurs and grumbles; again, understandable all the way around.

Then, the leader got up and began very angrily to denounce the rector and every other priest who didn't have the courage to criticize the archbishop publicly, and pretty much slammed any priest who didn't make such public statements.

Suddenly, I guess, those of us who for whatever reason (including ones we think good ones) do not denounce the archbishop publicly, ceased at that moment to be "priests of integrity."

That's when I figured for VOTF, "priest of integrity" means, "agree with us -- or else!"

And that's the last VOTF meeting I attended.

Fr. Robert J. Carr said...

You may know that I requested a US Rep from my state, Stephen Lynch, to initiate a congressional investigation into the way the media, universities and government treated the Catholics during this time of Crisis.

A man identifying himself as Dan McNevin responded to me through a news report of that action. McNevin is the head of the Oakland, CA SNAP. He said that ALL Catholics are guilty. I responded that this is the rhetoric of Osama Bin Laden towards Westerners.

Forbes found also that SNAP is funded by trial lawyers. Further, that yes among victims it has a reputation of getting them to wallow in their anger and never heal.

Finally, Forbes also found that many of the protesters working against innocent Catholics are paid by trial lawyers as well.

As for VOTF, their second president lied to me about who he was and then went back to his people and they all had a good laugh on me who believed he was sincere.

ginny h said...

Fr. Fox,
I don't believe you went deep enough in speaking of SNAP. The undeniable fact is that there should be no such organization at all! If priests and (Arch)bishops would be true to their vow to be celibate, holy, truthful, and credible shepherds to the weakest and most vulnerable, then there would be no web page such as this! There would be no need for a letter such as this! However hypocrisy has settled itself safely within the confines of the hierarchial offices of the Catholic Church. It is an indisputable fact that children have been and continue to be sexually abused. These survivors, in trying to find some sense of justice and peace from the horrible crime committed against their bodies and souls, and in courages endeavors to stop it from happening to others, are now being vilified with a weak attempt to defend the indefensible. Has this blog hit a new level of conentiousness? Are now Christ's children being condemned to another level of sacrifice? Perhaps allowing yourself to truly listen to pain and suffering these survivors have endured would open your eyes to who is and who is not
credible, and perhaps you could become a part of the healing that is so needed for them and for all of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Fox,

I was the woman who spoke at the meeting at your former parish. It was the first time that I had spoken publicly about the abuse that happened when I was 6 years old. My parents knew, my husband knew and, of course the priests at my old parish knew. I kept it a secret from every one else to protect my church. I thought that I was the only one. I have been a Catholic for 65 years.

When I walked into the church that evening the priests smiled and said "Hi!" After I spoke, not one priest who was there even looked at me. The only one who was kind was a young seminarian who smiled and asked how I was doing? The rest of the clergy averted their eyes, and hurried past as fast as their legs would take them. That is what it is like to be a “Survivor” in the Catholic Church. You are invisible.

Ninety percent of our Catholic clergy are good and virtuous men who would never think of abusing kids. Why do the good and virtuous allow the ten percent who do abuse children get away with it? Why don’t they put their foot down and say “I’m mad as hell and I am not putting up with this anymore”. Instead, they place all of the blame on the Survivors and their supporters.

I am a member of both SNAP and VOTF. They have done the work that a pastor in our church should do. I don’t know what I would do without their support. I am grateful that they exist. However, I wish that they did not have to be doing the job that the church should be doing, that of protecting the flock.

Do you think that Jesus who said “Suffer the children to come to me” and “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brethren”, would understand it when you priests say “I am doing all that I can, I took an oath to support my Archbishop in whatever he does”?