Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Barbara Dorris of SNAP Responds to Bill Donohue: "Outrageous Claims Made by a Well-Funded and Angry Man"

SNAP Protesters, Philadelphia Cathedral, Ash Wednesday 2011

In my posting of responses to Bill Donohue's recent New York Times ad, I want to single out, in particular, Barbara Dorris's statement at the website of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  This statement deserves special attention because, better than any other response to Donohue, Dorris's response masterfully exposes Donohue's game for what it really is and what it really means: 

  • a cruel, heartless attempt to ignore the pain of all the victims of childhood clerical sexual abuse and of their families and friends, in order to give the bishops a free pass for the cover-up; 
  • a cold-hearted maneuver to make invisible all the women who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of priests when they were girls (or as adults, in situations where priests abuse their power as pastors); 
  • a mean-spirited game to single out a vulnerable minority community and saddle it with responsibility for a situation that it did not create and over which it has no control;
  • and a politically slick but morally corrupt gesture to undercut (and attack) the efforts of countless numbers of faithful Catholics to call the bishops to accountability for the abuse crisis.

Dorris writes on behalf of SNAP:

Our hearts ache today for four groups.

First, for the half of our 10,000 members who were sexually violated as girls by child molesting Catholic clerics and whose suffering is often overlooked by Catholic officials.

Second, for gays and lesbians, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who are mistakenly blamed by a misguided few for the church's horrific, on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis (based on one number made public by the very same Catholic officials who have ignored and concealed - and continue to ignore and conceal - devastating child sex crimes that have little, if anything, to do with the sexual orientation of predator priests or their corrupt bishops.)

Third, for vulnerable adults - male and female - who are often sexually exploited, manipulated and abused by powerful, cunning Catholic clergy, but whose pain is almost never acknowledged or mentioned by church officials.

And finally, for the millions of already-betrayed Catholics who must feel ashamed and outraged by the outrageous claims made by a well-funded and angry man.

As I've said before, no one knows more about the real abuse situation (as opposed to the carefully constructed and highly partial picture the bishops have provided in their attempts at image management) than SNAP and the community of survivors do.  These are the folks who have walked through the fire to find well-hidden truths about this crisis and why it has not yet been resolved.  And they're the folks who have lived in the fire of suffering due to the violations of their bodies and psyches by religious authority figures they trusted, when they were innocent children.

Their word should count above all for those who really want to understand and address the abuse problems within the Catholic church.

And speaking of the stories of the girls abused by priests that Bully Bill and his bishop allies don't want you to hear, remember the promise Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul made a year ago to return to the U.S. from India, where he fled to escape legal action in the U.S.--to return to the U.S. and face criminal charges for his alleged sexual abuse of girls in Greenbush, Minnesota?  He hasn't returned yet.  Though it's now a year, a week, and some days since he promised to return.

And though he maintains he's innocent.

My partner Steve has a family reason for being very concerned about that case, and for following it very closely.

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