Blaming the Victim -- Again

June 2008

"Yesterday, before he landed in the U.S., Pope Benedict XVI said he was 'deeply ashamed' of predatory priests, adding that pedophiles would be rooted out of the Church. Today, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is holding a press conference in Washington criticizing the pope for not doing enough."

So begins an April 16 news release from the Catholic League. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, comments, "Any minor who has been sexually molested deserves our compassion. But what SNAP is doing, aided and abetted by angry Catholics and ex-Catholics, deserves not our understanding, but contempt. This is a group which has a deep ideological and financial investment in painting the Catholic Church as a villain."

Donohue says, "SNAP's ideological basis stems from the fact that it positively refuses to recognize the incredible progress that has been made -- exactly five priests out of more than 40,000 had accusations made against them for abusing a minor in 2007 -- yet for SNAP it's never enough. Financially, it derives much of its funding from the steeple-chasing lawyers who have fleeced the 'deep-pocket' Catholic Church. It's time we dismiss these professional victims' advocates for what they are -- activists whose goal is to discredit the Church."

Leon J. Podles, a former federal investigator, senior editor of Touchstone magazine, and a former Catholic seminarian, has written a new book titled Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (2008, Crossland Press, PO Box 26290, Baltimore MD 21210, www.Cross­ He tells the now-familiar story of how the U.S. bishops stonewalled, threatened, and ignored the victims of clerical sexual abuse and their families, while protecting predatory priests with impunity. But he tells the story in graphic detail. "Bishops," he writes, "knew about the abuse and sometimes took part in it…. Most bishops were not interested in protecting children." Podles quotes Frank Keating, one-time head of the U.S. bishops' National Review Board (fired by the bishops), as saying that the bishops "cared more for the…reputation of the Church than for the ravaged and frightened souls of children." This is the mentality on display in Donohue's press release. "Meanwhile," writes Podles, "the children were left with their secrets, without help, in the darkness of their souls."

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New Oxford Notes: June 2008

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The problem here is, sometimes there ARE lawyers who see a diocese as a "deep pocket." Generate enough publicity, and you can make them roll over and play dead. Where it's harder, is with other institutions, like the public schools. Like when my son was a freshman on the football team and was assaulted by his coach in the locker room. I found out about it only after the boy graduated. You think a lawyer wanted to take on the state? Fat chance!

I don't care if this comes as a disappointment to SNAP or anybody else, when I say that this stinks. By the grace of God, my son turned out (more or less) okay. But what if he hadn't?

Any bright ideas, Mr Clohessy???
Posted by: manwithblackhat
June 13, 2008 10:48 AM EDT
When a child or adolescent is sexually abused by a pries, the abuse has, apart from far more important consequences, financial consequences. The victim almost always has problems in school, which lower his employability; he has problems with authority, which lower his employability; he often turns to drink or drugs to deal with the sense of betrayal, and thereby lowers his employability; he has problems with trust, which increase the probability of divorce and the financial losses that entails.

If a child is basically stable before the abuse he becomes semi-employable. If he already has problems (which is why the abuser targeted him), he becomes unemployable.

His lifetime earning capacity and his pension are hurt. Direct financial consequences of $20,000 a year for 50 years are a modest and conservative estimate of the financial loss that abuse brings about – or about $1,000,000.

The church has counted about 15,000 victims, which means financial damages to victims of $15 billion. Almost all sociologists and psychologist agree that only 1 out of 10 victims, especially male victims, ever reports the abuse. There are, using this conservative figure, more like 150,000 victims, so in justice the Catholic Church owes its victims upwards of $150 billion.

The settlements so far have totaled about $3 billion. The Church has gotten off easy, and the bishops know it.

That others have failed in justice does not make the Church’s failures any less bleak.
Posted by: LeonPodles
June 13, 2008 12:59 PM EDT
If only the bishops considered the "treasures of the Church" to be children's immortal souls. Now they're losing their earthly treasures, too. I haven't ever considered suing Bishop Higi or the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana for what Monsignior Sego did to me, but I do sympathize with those who want to take away that which really matters to the bishops.

I don't want to minimize what happened to manwithblackhat's son, but what makes the Catholic Church's scandal even more tragic than abusive teachers, scout leaders etc, is that so many of the victims leave the Catholic Church; as Catholics, we believe that the Catholic Church is the One, True Church, so that those who flee the Church in unimaginable pain, are running away from their chance of heaven.
Posted by: Jeannette
July 01, 2008 02:54 PM EDT
The Church has not "gotten off easy" in any of this disaster. The Church--that is, the people of God; the Bride of Christ--has suffered. Possibly some of the pedophiles, who probably should never have been priests, have gotten off easy in mortal terms--but mortal terms are not really important, are they?

The Catholic Church *is* the One True Church. It is home to pedophile priests, among other sinners. It is home to you and to me.

What a comfort it must be to assume that the sins of pedophile priests are somehow worse than the sins to which I am personally tempted.

If you're a victim of such a priest--how comforting to think that your sins are forgiven, but his aren't.

But how wrong. You must forgive the priest in order to be forgiven your own sins. That would be the job of your life. Not trying to eke out a larger settlement to victimize the rest of the Church, as you were personally victimized.

We are simply not allowed to judge one another--that is for God alone.
Posted by: dianiline
September 02, 2008 09:47 AM EDT
I'm a survivor of incest by my mother's boyfriend-turned-step-father. It went on for 10 years of my young life. So, I empathize with survivors. I never had the opportunity to sue my abuser, he's dead. That would not bring back my innocence, anyway.

However, when do the lawsuits end? Yesterday, 03/09/09, an ex-Portland man has won the right to sue The Vatican. See

SNAP is a pro-gay, dissenting group. They vehemently oppose celibacy. Has NOR figured out yet that there are millions of people - from the Freemasons to attorneys to Jihadists - who are focused on dismantling the Church?

I say we put our trust in Pope Benedict and God. Catholics are not supposed to be litigious, in case you didn't know.

NOR is mired in the muck of it all and I'm tired of it.
Posted by: Debbie
March 10, 2009 04:13 PM EDT
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