Saturday, September 17, 2011

SNAP Judgments Part II: Ground Zero of the Catholic Scandal

From  Fr. Gordon J. MacRae:
....Mediated settlements of unprovable claims have to date cost the U.S. Catholic Church $2.6 Billion. But SNAP’s national leaders would have you believe that none of this has been about money. In an article by Brian Fraga in Our Sunday Visitor this week (“Report questions motives of victims’ groups,” Sept. 11) SNAP National Director David Clohessy defensively dismissed any attempt to address the group’s lucrative hysteria with reason.  “The easiest way to dismiss a message that’s uncomfortable is to impugn the messenger’s motives,” he said.  However, the true agenda of SNAP was more honestly expressed by a member who spat in Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s face and declared that he “would not rest until there was a ‘going out of business’ sign in front of every Catholic parish, school, and outreach center.”

Even in 2002 when these claims were in the headlines, some notoriously tough prosecutors and victim advocates raised the alarm about false claims, but were ignored. Even Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, who has written blistering articles about Catholic scandal, cautioned that false claims are finding their way in among the true accounts.

In “Phony cases a danger in abuse battle” (Boston Globe, August 5, 2002), Kevin Cullen quoted former prosecutor and victim-advocate Wendy Murphy, a long-time champion of victims’ rights, who cautioned that false allegations hurt the legitimate claims of many. “It’s not like insurance fraud started yesterday,” she said. “The incentive to lie for money is real.”

Kevin Cullen cited some false claims that were demonstrably frauds – some against Father John Geoghan himself – and quoted former prosecutor, now defense attorney Timothy O’Neill, who had defended several accused Boston priests:
“What’s happening here now is that there is an impetus to settle cases before a priest confronts his accuser. That’s a problem … How does the process react in the face of huge publicity? Not well, I’m afraid. The full story needs still to be written. At this point, priests have no voice.”
That was 2002, and now – nine years and $2.6 Billion later – the toll of stripping the right of defense from accused priests is evident. Justice itself has been the greatest victim of the hysteria surrounding the Catholic sex abuse scandal. To begin to understand its depletion of justice in the Church, please read again “Are Civil Liberties for Priests Intact?...


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