We don’t need altar boys

I know, I’m kind of spamming you, but there were all those days when there was only a placeholder or two, plus I keep finding things.

Like the Catholic church again forgetting that it’s supposed to occupy the moral high ground and revealing itself to be as brutally self-serving as any other set of thugs.

Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.

They could do something different you know. They could refrain from fighting back. They could refrain from “turning the tables.”

The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

Enter the arch-thug himself. SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church and therefore the church can and should fight just as dirty as it knows how. The Catholic church is all-important and the victims are just dirty little peasants getting in the way.

Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.

Could it be any more ruthless and cynical? Could Donohue sound any more like an enforcer? Mind you, maybe that’s the fault of the Times for talking to him in the first place – he’s notoriously thuggish and his “League” is not a big organization, to put it mildly. Last time I looked it seemed to be a League of one, with Donohue interviewing himself and quoting himself in every press release. But then Donohue gets his way of thinking and talking and behaving from somewhere.



  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    FYI, the full text of Donohue’s 3/13 email:


    March 13, 2012

    On January 2, David Clohessy, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), was deposed in Missouri regarding his role in cases of priestly sexual abuse. The deposition was recently made available [click here]; Catholic League president Bill Donohue has written a report on it, SNAP UNRAVELS [to read it, click here]; it is being mailed to the bishops today.

    Donohue summarizes his report as follows:

    David Clohessy claims that he doesn’t have to turn over most of the requested documents, or answer many of the questions. Why? Because SNAP is a rape crisis center, and therefore its confidentiality is protected under Missouri law. But when asked directly if SNAP is a rape crisis center, he said, “I don’t know.” He also admitted that he doesn’t know what constitutes a rape crisis center in Missouri.

    Clohessy counsels alleged victims of abuse for a living, yet he admits to having no training whatsoever. He confessed that he does his unlicensed counseling in places like Starbucks; he also “consoles” his clients over the phone. Furthermore, there is not a single employed licensed counselor on SNAP’s staff. Moreover, he could not state a single instance where SNAP has paid for a licensed counselor to counsel a specific person.

    Clohessy refused to disclose the source of his funding. He said he was wholly unaware that SNAP was mandated by federal law to contribute to charities. It was revealed that SNAP spent a grand total of $593 in 2007 on “survivor support”; the following year, it spent $92,000 on travel.

    When asked how SNAP could get its hands on lawsuits against the Catholic Church before they were even filed, he refused to answer. He also said that aside from SNAP founder, Barbara Blaine, he did not know the full names of those on his staff. When asked if he ever gave false statements to the press, he didn’t blink. “Sure,” he said.

    Even if Clohessy started out as an activist for justice, it is crystal clear that he has evolved into something altogether different.

    Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:
    Jeff Field
    Phone: …

    [Both links implied above were foo when received – prb]

  2. Ramel says

    go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.

    So they’re going to sexually abuse lawyers now? I’m not entirely convinced they’ve thought this one through…

  3. Sili says

    If they don’t *need* altarboys, isn’t he pretty much admitting that they only kept them around as playthings?

    I don’t see how that’s supposed to help the case.

  4. Judy Jones says

    We are learning that church officials will use any tactic they can get away with:
    –to keep their power
    –to protect their image
    –to not be held accountable
    –to keep themselves out of jail… for covering up sex crimes against kids.

    To all victims who have been sexually abused by clerics, your voices are strong, powerful, and being heard…!..
    The church officials can’t shut us up. They can’t shove all the victims back under their control of silence.

    Crimes have been committed and the can of worms has been opened, and that is only because very brave victims of clergy sex abuse are speaking up, coming forward, contacting the police, exposing the truth, and trying their hardest to not allow another child to be given the life sentence of harm which they were dealt.

    For those who wish to help …On our website – SNAPnetwork.org – are simple suggestions for helping victims beat back this assault against them by top Catholic officials. Please check it out. Thanks.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.

    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

  5. jimbales says

    Ms Benson writes:
    They could do something different you know. They could refrain from fighting back. They could refrain from “turning the tables.”

    It seems that the Catholic Church has forgotten the word of their God, as recounted in Matthew 5:39:

    But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well

    Somehow, the Church seems to have mistaken “turning the tables” for “turning the other cheek”. And, it is hard to conceive of the church’s actions in this court case as anything other than offering resistance to the wicked.

    Jim Bales

  6. abusedbypenguins says

    The catholic church is something so nasty that if you stepped in it you would leave your shoe as it would be so infected and disgusting that you would not want it near you.

  7. says

    This appalling attitude of “victim blame” is one of the more despicable games that the church plays. And typical of ignorance of the facts. The reason why there is an “epidemic” of people coming forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse by clergy is because they now can!
    It is not that many years ago when it was unthinkable for abuse victims to talk about what happened to them, they were far too afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, and often threatened into silence.I suspect there will be many more thousands of abuse survivors who will now feel brave enough to speak, not because they have false memories, or because they are “jumping on a bandwagon” but because other brave survivors have paved the way! It has been our secrets that kept us sick.
    I find it offensive to be refferred to as a pathetic malcontent! I am vehemently opposed to “professional victims”and I don’t see any in my organisation, we are very much about empowerment! I was abused by a catholic priest from the age of ten until 13 when he raped me in my own home.My Mother who caught him in the act, did nothing and told me to “pray for him” that it must be part of “god’s plan”. It ruined a lot of my life,I was an alcoholic, addict, serious self harmer, and had an eating disorder. But I am NOT a victim! I have managed to become a respected professional in the field of substance misuse, have taught over 8 thousand health care workers, and have received an award for my contrution to the treatment of addiction. I have managed to transform that shit into manure, to grow something more beautiful.
    Some of our members are 70 deaf and speech impaired Italian survivors , all of whom were systematically abused by the priests and nuns in their institution One man by sixteen priests! another man was forced to perform oral sex on a nun for punishment -he was eight years old. They are not victims! They are brave and dignified survivors of the worst betrayal of body and trust. We know that our strength comes from our connections with each other, and with honourable ,decent, like minded people who know that these were appalling criminal acts. We have an annual “celebration of survival day” and last year we danced in front of the vatican and set off hundreds of Chinese lanterns to show them that we are surviving DESPITE them, certainly not because of them! We know that if we wait around for the church to do the right thing, we will be dead and gone before that happens! So we will support and empower each other! The comments above are from people who clearly do not understand the nature of clergy abuse, and I am very pleased for them that they don’t.But do not be fooled by the churche’s obsequious apologies, staged sorrow, and promises about “psychological testing” or safeguarding. They sound great on paper but the reality is VERY very different.
    If you really want to see survivors bravery come to Verona on June 30th! dance with us and show the World that you support decency and justice. Sue Cox Survivors Voice Europe

  8. grumpyoldfart says

    Don’t worry, the ordinary Catholics are ethical people. They will protest against this new tactic by not attending services and withholding tithes until the situation has been resolved.

  9. sailor1031 says

    This on the occasion of cardinal Dolan’s recent royal visit to the legislature and governor’s office at Albany. Evil; pure fucking evil!!! Obviously dolan has a special interpretation of the word “reform”.

    “Cardinal Dolan criticized a legislative proposal that would, for a year, drop the statute of limitations for filing civil claims for sexual offenses, allowing for lawsuits by people who say they were abused long ago. The cardinal said he was concerned that a flood of lawsuits over abuse by priests could drain the church of money it is using for charitable purposes.

    “I think we bishops have been very contrite in admitting that the church did not handle this well at all in the past,” he said. “But we bristle sometimes in that the church doesn’t get the credit, now being in the vanguard of reform. It does bother us that the church continues to be a whipping boy.””

  10. sailor1031 says

    and an evil more special interpretation of the word “contrite”. The cynicism – it burns!

  11. frankb says

    #2 and #3. No, no, no. The RRC’s (and Donohue’s) definition of alter boy is one who is passive, submissive, and takes it up the rear. Donohue does not want the bishops to be like alter boys. He wants them to fight and screw more alter boys as it were.

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