Generally, the media coverage clergy sex abuse victims’ groups has been favorable. That includes SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. But in a story on the Wichita diocese’s decision to set up an ecumenical group for victims of clergy abuse there’s a surprising criticism of SNAP from a victim and I’m surprised to see it in the Associated Press.
“SNAP is about anger and hate and rage and vengeance and vindictiveness,” said Paul Schwartz, who was molested by former priest Robert Lawson while serving as an altar boy at a church in Newton. “You can’t go through life like that.” Schwartz said he attended SNAP support group meetings in the Wichita area and in Kansas City. “I do not endorse SNAP in any way, shape or form,” he said. “They’re not interested in healing. Their goal is to ‘get’ the Catholic Church.”
The Kansas SNAP coordinator admits that they’re about “justice” as much as healing, but then what is their idea of justice? Is every accused priest and his bishop guilty until proven innocent because sometimes that’s the way they come across.
To be sure, the diocese isn’t saying the same things about SNAP that Lawson did. They only said that they’re not endorsing any group that doesn’t have a track record of positive healing. Instead, they’re reaching out to another group called The Link-Up. Now, I may be wrong, but I think I recall that members of that group were involved in some pretty nasty protests alongside SNAP in Boston. Am I wrong? Or maybe they’ve had a change of heart?