SNAP Member: Accused Priest’s Terminal Cancer is a ‘Stalling Tactic’

Cal Pfeiffer SNAP

Cal Pfeiffer from SNAP

According to the Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), Rev. James Schook has stage IV malignant melanoma, a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer, and he likely has just months to live.

Meanwhile, the priest is facing criminal charges for the abuse of two boys four decades ago, in 1971 and 1972. Although Fr. Schook was removed permanently from ministry in 2010 based on "credible" accusations, he proclaims his innocence in the charges against him.

The prosecutor was originally skeptical of Schook's claim of illness, saying it "raised red flags," so he hired a state medical examiner to look into the priest's condition. But the examiner confirmed the cleric's severe and aggressive cancer and concluded that the priest has "a statistically determined life expectancy of less than one year." He also added that Schook's "chemotherapeutic regimen which he is receiving would be at least problematic if he were to be incarcerated."

The prosecutor has delayed Schook's trial, and this has predictably upset the hysterics at SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Cal Pfeiffer is a member of the anti-Catholic group, and upon hearing the news of the postponement, Pfeiffer reportedly said:

"I'm certainly sorry for Jim [Schook] that he's going through this cancer … But where's the justice for victims? They've never had their day in court. To me it's just a stalling tactic."

Stage IV cancer is a "stalling tactic"?

Indeed, as we have asserted before, justice demands first and foremost that priests who misused the trust placed in them and abused innocent children be incarcerated and severely punished.

However, SNAP's statement that stage IV melanoma is a "stalling tactic" reinforces the mean-spirited nature of the organization and once again underscores that SNAP's real mission is simply to bludgeon the Catholic Church, no matter how irrational and mean-spirited the attacks are. It is warped to believe that a priest with only months to live is somehow fit to defend himself on charges of events alleged from some four decades ago.

Not the first time

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a SNAP member has attacked a cleric with a grave illness.

Earlier this year, SNAP National Director David Clohessy suggested that Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua was faking painful cancer and dementia to avoid testifying at a trial. Less than 36 hours after making his heartless remarks, the ailing cleric passed away in his sleep.

Importantly, Clohessy never apologized for his mean-spirited and paranoid statement.

We all must demand justice and compassion for victims of clergy abuse, but neither justice nor compassion serves to justify hatred.


  1. Julie says:

    SNAP is heartless and evil. Whenever you hide under the cover of "being concerned about sex abuse victims," you can be as evil as you want without censure. Meanwhile, this priest is likely innocent. Terminal disease a stalling tactic? Wow.

  2. Publion says:

    This is a sly and odd comment indeed. If by “day in court” he means a public criminal trial, then just how many self-proclaimed victims have sought a “day in court”? And how many prosecutors have figured that their claims have enough merit to justify creating for them such a “day in court”? (Yes, I know: the Correct comeback to that is that scads of victims have been let down by gutless prosecutors or by a legal system that only cares about ‘evidence’ and is therefore itself ‘defending pedophiles’ and so on or by a Church that controls the legal system.)
    Or is he merely speaking figuratively, and actually means nothing more than  a chance for a self-proclaimed victim to get in on a big lawsuit and walk home with a slice of the settlement?
    The “day in court” is not much of a sure thing for self-proclaimed victims. Even the Philadelphia trial – still undecided in outcome – has demonstrated that.
    At present, the demand for a “day in court” is pretty much a foolproof gig for persons wishing to pursue civil or criminal action: You can claim that you demand it and are being denied it while at the same time, knowing that even if you are found out to be not telling the truth, there is a very good chance that you won’t be held accountable for whatever you have claimed.
    At some point, though  – and perhaps not in the distant future – public opinion may have had enough and it will be possible to prosecute an alleged-victim for false-report, perjury, conspiracy or countersue for libel or slander … and then we’ll see how many really want to face a “day in court”.

  3. Charlene says:

    How low can SNAP members go? They have already hit rock bottom with the scurrilous comments they throw out hither and yon!  Of course there is never an apology from them when they are proven wrong – as they OFTEN are.  But what else can we expect from those who hate the Catholic Church and display that hate every chance they get? They are beyond disgusting! Yuk! After I read anything they say or anything about SNAP, I feel that I need a long, hot  shower to wash off the filth they spew.  I guess they have forgotten that God doesn't like ugy and isn't set on pretty!  Watch out, SNAP!!!

    • Cal Pfeiffer says:

      Perhaps in your way of thinking good catholics should blindly follow and believe their bishops no matter how many children they allow to be sexually abused. A true catholic wants a church that actually follows the teaching of Jesus and points out the ever present hyprocracy. If you have the courage to search for the truth and facts go to [web site link removed by moderator].

  4. Barbara says:

    Those of us who were sexually abused as children (my dad, not a priest) find it easier to heal if the violators are forced to face us.  My dad died before I was strong enough to face him.  I understand SNAP. 

  5. Julie says:

    A group really concerned about sex abuse of youngsters would be trying to prevent it. They would not focus on lawyers getting 40-year-old cases with no proof at all in order to sue up the ying yang. They would make donations to prevent abuse. Such abuse is rampant in our society (and NOT in the Catholic Church) and some children are getting KILLED. Very few seem to be trying to protect our children. SNAP is NOT doing it. Our children NEED REAL advocates and protectors, not Marci Hamiltons and lawmakers who are pretending so they can try and destroy the church. WHERE the real advocates?

    • Cal Pfeiffer says:

      The Schook case is a criminal case.  The victims would not receive any money only the reliving of painful events, time off work and be subjected to comments like yours which are in no way based on fact. Holding these criminals accountable is the best way to protect children in the future.  For too many years they have gotten off scott free.  The bishops themselves list over 6,000 U.S. priests that have been credibily accused.  Perhaps you don't think that is many, I believe most people would be horrified by the bishops numbers.

  6. Publion says:

    I'd say that "Julie" has pretty much nailed it in her comment above.
    What I've suspected all along is that – whether they know it or not – persons with abuse claims have been sucked into a scheme that, whatever they'd like it to be, has actually been co-opted by larger forces working for objectives that use the individual persons as pretexts for achieving those objectives. (If I recall rightly, there is a commenter whose handle is "Jim Robertson" who has been saying that consistently on this site and the Philly trial and NCR sites.)
    So there are clear lines that exist – whether folks realize it or not – between the individuals on the one hand and the alliance of SNAP and tort attorneys and political interests on the other.
    I have been thinking about this and have just yesterday put up some comments on the 'Landmark Philadelphia Trial' article on this site that appeared at the very end of May. In those comments I am trying to get a clearer grasp of what forces 'beyond' the issues in the trial and Charges are actually driving things.