Judge Blasts SNAP In Ruling That It Cannot Intimidate and Harass Catholics Worshiping at Sunday Mass

SNAP Survivors Abuse protest : Barbara Blaine : David Clohessy

A federal judge says no to harassment and intimidation in Missouri:
SNAP's Barbara Blaine and David Clohessy (center)

For the past several years, a regular tactic of the anti-Catholic group SNAP has been to angrily accost and hassle prayerful Catholics as they attend Mass on Sunday.

While protesting various aspects of the Church's handling of the abuse scandals, SNAP members have provoked Sunday Mass goers to such an extent that judges have been forced to issue restraining orders and SNAP leaders have been subsequently arrested for violating such orders.

Protecting the rights of innocent Mass goers

SNAP members in the state of Missouri have also sought to disturb and disrupt the Mass, but they have been concerned about Missouri's House of Worship Protection Act, which protects worshipers from angry disruptions such as those instigated by SNAP.

The Act labels it a crime if a person "intentionally injures, intimidates, or interferes with any person exercising the right to religious freedom or who is seeking access to a house of worship." The first two offenses are misdemeanors, and the thirds and subsequent offenses are Class D felonies.

Afraid that it may not be able to assault Missouri Mass goers, SNAP sued leaders of the State of Missouri in 2012, claiming that Missouri's law was unconstitutional and violated the group's free speech rights.

But last week Senior United States District Judge E. Richard Webber ruled that SNAP's argument was baloney and that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of its citizens to worship without fear of threats and intimidation. Judge Webber ruled that Missouri's House of Worship Protection Act is indeed constitutional, and SNAP members can expect punishment for willfully violating it. The judge dismissed SNAP's suit with prejudice, meaning the group's claims were unfounded, and SNAP is barred from filing such a suit ever again.

Kudos to a federal judge

TheMediaReport.com applauds Judge Webber for his ruling.

Sunday Mass is the pinnacle of life for many Catholics, and it is not a place for angry zealots like SNAP to bully law-abiding worshipers who only wish to practice their faith.

Catholics have a right to attend Mass without fear and intimidation by any group, no matter how strongly that group feels about its cause. Thankfully, Judge Webber's decision will now protect Catholics in the state of Missouri during the practice of their faith free from browbeating and intimidation by anti-Catholic groups like SNAP.

[HT: CatholicCulture.org]


  1. Walter says:

    I guess that the crazies at SNAP who bash the church for not following court orders don't themselves follow court orders when they don't care to do so.

    A great victory for religious freedom.

    Thanks TMR.

  2. Clare says:

    This is the perfect post to illustrate a point to those still unable to grasp the purpose of TMR.  Why aren't individuals protesting outside any of the other organizations or schools that have had the same complaints and/or convictions?  Because the media did not want them to??

  3. Publion says:

    I followed DP’s link to the judge’s ruling, contained in the above article.


    A couple of thoughts come to me.


    First, it is a) a readable document – even for a layperson not trained in law – and b) it is a fine example of how an analysis and assessment is rationally and logically made, clarifying the points made (by each Party, Plaintiff and Defendant), then analyzing the key terms to ensure a clear grasp of them, then considering the relevant material (in this document, the text of the law and the holdings in various court cases considered to be of some relevance, and then finally coming to a conclusion (and in this document, an Order).


    It’s a great mental exercise to follow the process of rational and logical thought required in legal analysis and judicial rulings.


    Second, it is a revelation to me to see that SNAP (Section II of the document, on page 4) is now embracing not only priest-abuse, but women’s rights, the rights of gays and lesbians and transgenders, racial justice, marriage equality, and the right of girls to function as altar servers.


    This goes precisely to what I have been saying about a congeries of various interests being somehow involved with and supportive of the Catholic Abuse Matter (for their own purposes). None of the other issues here seem directly related to priest-abuse.


    But what this umbrella-collection of issues does serve to do is to extend the range of interest and possible fresh membership recruiting for SNAP. With the Ball No Longer Rolling the way it used to, it seems that SNAP has decided to turn itself into some sort of all-purpose demonstration-organization against the Church along numerous axes of objection.


    It also means that if and when you encounter any claims to the effect that surveys have shown X number of persons claiming to support the SNAP Project, you have to ask yourself: which of the many different SNAP ‘projects’ and ‘issues’ do the individual survey-respondents support?


    Third, what SNAP wants to do – demonstrate with some level of noise in such a way as to gain(or force)  the attention of worshippers inside a church or at some religiously-connected service – resembles precisely the modus operandi of the notorious Pastor Fred Phelps and his cohort from (if memory serves) the Westboro Baptist Church: at services or funerals they seek to require or force the attention of the attendees. The Missouri law in question here was specifically designed to prevent such inevitable disruption to persons seeking to participate in a worship service or funeral.


    I wonder that SNAP – using the resources of Bishop-Accountability – has not tried to create demonstrations at the funerals of accused priests. That would seem a logical move in terms of the SNAP modus operandi. Of course, that might just make it all too clear that SNAP and the Westboro group share the same modus operandi. And from that realization, people might draw other conclusions or start asking uncongenial questions.

  4. Iris says:

    Another great post Publion:



  5. Mark says:

    A great victory.

    And a great post by Publion. SNAP has become desperate, and in desperation true colors are shown. RIP SNAP. 

  6. jim robertson says:

    So again we are back in MISSOURI !!!!!!!

    What a surprise, (irony)

    Missouri, the center of the Catholic Junta.

    Missouri, where SNAP was born

    Missouri, where Clohessy lives.

    Missouri, where the great SNAP document debacle occured.

    Missouri, where said documents sit in Clohessy's basement in cardboard boxes against a stone foundation. (ah silverfish!)

    Missouri, where the Dominicans first engendered SNAP.

    Missouri, where the first SNAP "conference" was held.

    Missouri, home of great German Catholic American brewers and their money and opinions. (irony)

    Missouri, where all press releases from SNAP originate.

    Missouri, the center for progressive thought re: political action world wide for victims of clerical abuse. (irony)

    Missour,i home of the fake 'liberal' NCR, National Catholic Reporter.

    All roads lead to Rome and Missouri. (hint, hint)

    And back again with this court order to where?

    What are the odds???

    Does this, in any way, seem normal to you?

  7. jim robertson says:

    Again I must reiterate. SNAP at the begining, at the first and second SNAP conferences, were confronted by two gay  victims myself and Jim F. about the outrageous anti gay rhetoric being mouthed by other victims. So very very similar to the Church's anti gay stance. (Surprise, surprise!)

    You know for people who so easily imagine false conspiracies against your Church. you all have a tough time "getting" the true conspiracies created by your Church. i.e. SNAP and VOTF.

  8. jim robertson says:

    P.S. When those perpetrator priests are buried with big Catholic services. I think their victims should be demonstrating at their funerals. When buildings named after these perps on Catholic campuses continue to be named after them, I think there should be protests.

    Maybe the Jimmy Saville Memorial Chapel sounds good to you? Or perhaps the Father Geohagan swimming pool?

  9. Clare says:

    With regards to the recent article in the WSJ: Faith at the Finish Line. And, some of the

    nasty comments…

    http://saintdamienhospital.nph.org or http://www.friendsof theorphans.org

    Check out the picture of Fr/Dr Rich Frechette with the precious baby all dressed up in white

    for her visit.  Your heart will melt.


  10. jim robertson says:

    P.P.S I wish to thank the Media Report for showing how SNAP's behavior has'nt done ANYTHING good for victims. Demonstrating about sex abuse in front of families going to mass does what pr wise for victims????? you tell me.

  11. joshua nevin says:

    This is all very painful.  When did the Eucharist become a place for anger and seige?  I'm not from Missouri.  However, I would like someone to "show me" how protesting in front of a place of worship, any place of worship, does anything to protect the sanctity of childhood, or anything other than keep alive the "victimhood" of the leadership of the protesters.

  12. Kay Ebeling says:

    From Day One I felt handing leaflets to people on their way to Mass was Way Too Insensitive, as even if you are an atheist, you should respect a person's spiritual time.  I brought it up over and over with Clohessy and other SNAP people back when they were still talking to me and always got an answer "We've always done it this way."  A lot of survivors Will Not go to demonstrations near churches.  

    After several years I came to believe SNAP wants us all there on church grounds so the security cameras can see who the activist survivors are in town.  

    Terrible how pedophile priest victims really have no real group to turn to for support. 

    Kay Ebeling, producer of City of Angels Blog


    Since January 2007

    • jim robertson says:

      I am reminded of an event at the first SNAP conference in St. Louis.

      It was Sunday, the last day, a demo was held in front of theSt. Louis Cathedral by SNAP about 20 people demo'd.

      I came up with the idea of putting our picket signs on the graves of St. Louis' former cardinals inside the Cathedral. (Please remember, It was 2003. I believed SNAP was what I thought it was, virtuous. I had swallowed the SNAP Kool Aid and had accomidated myself to protesting in front of churches. Even though my initial feelings felt uncomfortable. I didn't want to do it. It just felt creepy)

      So I talked first to Clohessy about signs on graves. He loved it. Loved it!

      I thought but wait a minute let's have a vote on what the other people there thought. So I called for a vote and the other people said no and we didn't do it.

      I believe in democracy and I left it to the people and the people decided period.

      But David's "leadership" wasn't happy about the vote you could tell.

    • Fran says:

      I am an atheist. Kay, you and JR come across as paranoid. I see there are a lot of nutters out there and no matter what is put before them they will believe what they want. Great work Pub lion, but with people like this there is no chance of making any headway. They are steeped in prejudice.

    • jim robertson says:

      Kay I've never felt it would be difficult for the Church to find out who the real activists were and therefor that was the reason for the demo's at cathedrals and churchs.

      To me the main reasons SNAP does those things is

      A) To appear angry at the faith not the corporation by constantly appearing on Sundays at mass.

      and B) thereby serving that corporation's PR bull about the Church is under attack.

      They knew who we were already. SNAP would have told them, camera's weren't necessary.

  13. Publion says:

    Perhaps a website set up by JR would be the very thing for everybody concerned. There are services that pretty much walk the novice through it and charge nothing or close to nothing. Or would such a site run the risk of demonstrating uncongenial realities? Better to piggyback on serious sites rather than run such risks?


    Nice Arch though – and the riverboats .They seem to have been missed in the wiki tour of the city provided above.


    I would have thought the "center of the Catholic junta" would have been Washington, where the Nunciature is located.

    • jim robertson says:

      Follow the money. It goes from Missouri to Rome not visa versa. He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.

  14. Ryan A. MacDonald says:

    Just as I was beginning to wonder whether any Catholic priest or Catholic institution could receive fair justice in an American court, a ruling like this comes along to shatter my dismal foreboding. It is nice to see a Justice who knows the meaning of the word. The State of NH has a similar law protecting the dignity of places of worship, but back in 2002 and 2003, there wasn't a bishop in NH with the backbone to ask the legal community to enforce that law. One result was the sort of horrible injustice that I documented in a guest article this week.  Here is that title: "The Story Buried Under the Father Gordon MacRae Case."

    May this be the most recent of many rulings alerting the Church that SNAP has never been a part of the solution. It is and has always been a part of the problem of injustice for victims of sexual abuse. One cannot foster vengeance and justice at the same time.

    • Clare says:

      "There wasn't a bishop with the backbone."


      All men are the same.  Bishops simply lack a wife nagging, I mean encouraging, I mean

      nagging, I mean encouraging them to hop to it!

  15. jim robertson says:

    Where has SNAP fostered vengence??? SNAP's behavior by approaching families outside of Church's at mass may appear to look like "vengence" that's what it's supposed to look like. Like us poor [edited by moderator] victims hate your religion when we don't. (As I've said personally I don't even think about your religion anymore. Haven't really for 40+ years.)

    But SNAP made the Cathedral here and certain churches the place to go to be active.(I just thought the SNAP leadership was dumb, hickish actually but I believed the Kool Aid.)

    SNAP centered all demo's at churches. Never at the Federal or local DA's office. And the "war" was on.

    • Fran says:

      Yeah, sure Jim – you don’t hate their religion! Sure, I believe you.

    • jim robertson says:

      Thank you Fran  for diagnosing me and Kay. Are you a doctor? Are you a psycologist?

      What are you doing here? What's your connection to the issue?

      And who cares if I did hate the mythology. I'm one person. the other victims who demo'ed with SNAP are still active Catholics . Who cares?So what?

      The religion Fran is not the subject

      .It's mandatory now to  love the people who continue to betray you? And then who pretend your mentaly ill when you tell the truth?

      Your here why/ And who are you?


  16. Dennis Ecker says:

    As a survivor it is truly sad to read that the organization SNAP who proclaims to be a voice for abuse victims was taking such cheap shots. If no one has said it yet, I can only compare these actions to the individuals who protest at soldiers funerals. Although I am no longer a practicing catholic I never had any dispute with the catholic faith. My dispute was always with the catholic church and its leaders, and to interfere with someone to enter Mass to practice their beliefs is unexcuseable. It does nothing to help victims and gain support.

    Now many of you may know who I am as being the first person to receive a life-time ban from BigTrial.net, but I also must be the first person to be asked by Ralph to return if I followed some rules. I will admit that some comments were out of line, but I am also the same person who asked Ralph if he thought his offer through, and since it would be an offer he would have to decide I have not dwelled on it.

    I bring this up because after Ralph and I took the gloves off, if only for a short while. I have started to believe there has to be a better way.

  17. jim robertson says:

    "Piggy back on serious sites like this"

    You are half correct about piggybacking by me. I would use this site for the dispatchment of the truth about victims; SNAP and you.

    And since the corporate Church has spent tens of millions of dollars backing fake "warriors" like you and SNAP, I have no problem at all in using any part of that "mission" to get the truth out about it. and using it's own press to do it, thanks.

    Since the press's belief in SNAP seems to be locked down. I'll use some of that XBavarian beer money for victims,

    by riding you.

  18. Publion says:

    I have yet to see a single coherent theorizing of how SNAP is a tool or creature of the Church, Truth can be explained; un-truth can only be shouted repetitively in the rancid hope that a pile of it will eventually stick.

    [edited by moderator]

    • jim robertson says:

      You don't see because you don't look.

      So i will explain it again.

      In Tom Doyle's intial paper on sexual abuse of minors, he proposed "the project". to the Catholic Bishops of America.

      It's on page 170 and onward in his book Sex, Priests and Secret Codes published by Volt Press. The book is co-authored by Richard Sipe and Patrick Wall.

      [edited by moderator]

      Let alone that it's all there in Doyle's own hand if you'd bother to look. Let Doyle explain the truth of what I say in his own words.

      Will you risk looking?

    • Fran says:

      Give up Publion. When someone has developed such a system of thought there is no reasoning with them. Paranoia is like that – they can always find a justification for how they reason. It’s hopeless.

  19. jim robertson says:

    P.S. other victims, Kay Ebling , who has posted here, for example knows full well that SNAP is counter-intelligence as is VOTF. (Bishop Accountability in my opinion is a far less complicit member of the "project";. Listing accused priests does nothing to control victims as i see it. but i can be educated about that.)

    And why I say Kay knows SNAP's a fraud it's from her own personal hell dealing with their back stabbing, sabotage and all round nastiness. Let alone Kay's own degree'd education in investigative journalism.

    I have intentionally lied to you and others here; Never.


    [edited by moderator]

  20. Publion says:

    There is nothing that is being “explained again” in the 1115 comment. The material in it is not anything I have ever seen in comments on this site from any commenter.


    As MDA reveals (pp.37-8) through Doyle’s recollections the key point is not that Doyle presented his paper (“The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy”) and his proposal for a top-level Crisis Team (comprised of himself, an attorney, and a priest-psychologist) to the bishops in 1985.


    The problem  is that after he proposed it the bishops refused it.


     It was that refusal of the bishops to consider Doyle’s paper and proposal that – for whatever reasons – moved him to take the stance that he has since taken.


    And if this 1985 presentation of a Report and a Proposal is “the project”, then this presentation had nothing to do with creating SNAP, but rather had to do with a proposal (based on the report) for the bishops to take  proactive action themselves within existing Church structures and through the institution of the proposed Crisis Team.


    There is no indication whatsoever in the recollections of Doyle or Sipe in the MDA book that SNAP was included in “the project” – if indeed the “project” refers to Doyle’s 1985 report and proposals. And the history of how SNAP developed is dealt with at length in the book, with no mention of a formational connection to Doyle or Sipe; nor do Doyle or Sipe connect themselves to it as agents of its formation. Nor does Barbara Blaine mention any such connection. She does, however, recall (p.133) the role of Jeff Anderson whom she first encountered in a St. Paul, MN press conference in the very early 1990s. (And are we now going to the thought that Anderson himself is a tool of the Church?)


    And how any rational explanation can be devised to the effect that the bishops rejected Doyle’s paper and proposal, and yet then came up with SNAP as an alternative … that is a rational explanation I truly would marvel to see.


    I will make time this afternoon to get a copy of Sipe’s book and check the reference to page 170. And we’ll see what that reference has to say. And I will report back in comments here tonight.

  21. dennis ecker says:

    Well Jim it seems once again there are individuals here who think they know better on what your thinking or what is in your heart. 

    The best thing that I see here is there is not one survivor trying to defend the actions of SNAP. They did something wrong, and should face the consequences. Unlike those who continue to fight for four individuals who have been put away under our system. 

    Or should I be like them and defend Snap only because they say they help victims,  and ignore the evidence ?

  22. jim robertson says:

    First of all LOL!

    Second if it looks like a duck walks like a duck then say hello to Donald.

    Why would Doyle your big time Canon layer at the Vatican embassy in Washington D. C. suggest something so secret that victims and our families and the media must never know??? about the" project's" creation of "committees" Doyle wrote that if the  Church's creation of these committees were ever found out the Church would have an even greater scandal than what they already had. Doyle's words not mine. SNAP and VOTF werent the alternatives they were the plan, come to fruition.

    And those of us who've spent the most time around SNAP and VOTF's odd behaviors, know they fullfill. the very plan thought up by Doyle who is still their dearest friend.

    I'm not paranoid I just know when I'm being [edited by moderator].

  23. jim robertson says:

    Pub the authorship goes Doyle then Sipe then Wall.

  24. Publion says:

    I have in front of me a (hardcover) copy of the Volt Press edition of Sex Priests and Secret Codes, ISBN 1-56625-265-2, bearing a copyright date of 2006.

    I am looking at page 170. The page contains text from the Doyle-Mouton-Peterson paper of May, 1985, and specifically about the "Scope and Services of the Crisis Team". There is utterly nothing about SNAP. If we go "onward" from page 170 (presuming that odd phrase is not meant to include the entire remaining text of this roughly 350-page book) we soon come to the end of the chapter on page 174 – and in those few pages there is also nothing about SNAP.

    If there is any text on these pages that in somebody's mind – to use the term broadly – offers definitive proof or even any modest hint of the Church's erection of SNAP (in a proposal which, we recall, the Church refused to accept and implement) then that bit of text needs to be quoted and put up here.

    There are only 3 references to SNAP in the entire book. One of those simply mentions a comment of Clohessy and the second discusses the difficulties the authors claim the Church put in SNAP's path. The third – in the Glossary (p.341) – defines SNAP as "the nation's oldest, largest, and most active support group" for those abused.

    At this point, options for explaining this clear disconnect between assertion and evidence are a) a profound inability to think or even read or b) deliberate – if adolescent – effort at deception.

    But who can be surprised?

    Having gotten the book in question, I now note subsequent comments claiming that JR has never lied … which, if it is to be believed, rules out (b). If he is to be believed.

    And in those subsquent comments we are told that we can believe JR because he believes somebody else and he just knows that the somebody-else is not lying. Once, again, we are confronted – as so very very often in the allegations of the Abuse Matter  - with a circular hall of mirrors in place of any actual evidence or rationality.

    Lastly, and in a crowning incoherence, we are confronted with the fact that these three authors – whose material JR asks us to believe and who are notoriously antagonistic to the Church – have mentioned SNAP in their book only in the most approbative terms. Or is the very book we were assured held the evidence also to be considered a tool of the Church along with its authors?

    At this point, it has to be asked: in this Cartoon-imagining of the Abuse Matterjust who is not a tool of the Church ? And the answer apparently is: only those who think JR is right.


  25. Publion says:

    I  also note an effort by another commenter to reduce everything about this merely to what JR is himself  "thinking" or "what is in [his] heart".

    This is another classic example of the hall of mirrors that is at the core of the Catholic Abuse Matter as it has mutated over the decades. We are trying to establish rational explanations and – where proffered – reliable and credbile evidence. The issue is not what people are somehow "thinking" if that use of the word is meant to imply deeply and incommunicable personal illuminations or excitements. Nor is it a matter of what is in anybody's heart (for the same reasons) but rather what is available to everyone through rational and honest analysis and assessment.

    That rather clearly appears to be news to some.

  26. fran says:

    Well Jim, I will only address this issue once as i have no intention in getting into a long argument.

    Many people are abused as children – young children, below the age of 12 for example – in their own homes. They very often receive no compensation, no counselling or whatever. However, they still manage to get on with their lives and don't waste their lives claiming victim status. Some are very badly psychologically damaged - as it is a far greater betrayal to be abused by a family member than by an outsider- but others realise that worse things happen to people and are able to move on. You have had a large payout for something which occurred when you were 16 – 50 years ago I believe. You are able to walk, talk and function. You seem to have developed some system of thought that allows you to see conspiracies whenever it concerns abuse occurring within the Catholic Church. And yet you were compensated, whereas many others  – abused by parents or relatives – who have suffered much more than you have never received any compensation. Something doesn't add up. The fact that you just can't let it go shows that you are really in need of some counselling. What Publion writes is not directed at you – he is highlighting issues that need to be explored.

    • Ted says:


    • jim robertson says:

      Fran, I don't care what you think about anything regarding this scandal. Your insights arn't.

      According to your line of reasoning people who are hit by cars shouldn't seek compensation.

      Thanks for sharing. And it's "athiests" like you who give atheism a bad name.

  27. jim robertson says:

    I notice you also didn't mention the phrase that describes the reasons for creating secretly funded committees in Doyle's paper to the Bishops. That phrase being "to control victims and their families"

    Now why would a Catholic Canon Lawyer at the D.C. Vatican Embassy want to or even think to write that phrase; "to control victims and their families" in his paper to the American Bishops?

    Answer: Because that's what the corporate Church has always done.

    If the first fire wall, the shame of the victims breaks down and the Church had to deal with our families. Then Catholic lawyers were found and or Catholic cops and prosecutors all with excuses for silence and promises that it wouldn't happen again; or "he's going into treatment etc. etc. ad nauseum.

  28. Publion says:

    If I may share a personal bit here, prompted by the 'Fran' comment of 7:42AM.

    As far as my own comments are concerned, 'Fran' is correct about me: I am not interested in 'getting personal' with any other commenter, especially if that means making my day by embarassing other commenters.

    I work with the material that commenters provide here. If I find some dots that don't seem to me to connect, then I will go into that material. If the commenter comes back with more un-connectable dots, then I will – if it seems worthwhile for the readership – then go into that material as well. So if I spend time with any commenter's material, it's only because there seem to me to be a lot of dots that don't connect.

    If I may also say: from time to time commenters compliment me. I don't respond to each of those simply because I don't want to get into that dynamic of folksy back-and-forth we see on some sites. But I do appreciate those comments and I thank those who make them, retrospectively and prospectively.

    I've still got the Doyle/Sipe/Wall book, by the way. If somebody wants to get back to the 'page 170' issue.

  29. jim robertson says:

    This is PATHETIQUE!

    Counter-Intelligence alway tells you who they are. Fool! Judge the man by his actions not by his words.

  30. Publion says:

    We precisely have not established who has been "hit by a car" and who has not.

    Still waiting about "page 170".

  31. Publion says:

    The Doyle Report and Proposal to the bishops (which, we recall, they rejected) was an internal organizational proposal that was made through normal channels to the bishops for consideration at their general meeting at Collegeville, MN. I cannot see how it can be asserted that such a Report/Proposal or the funding for it can be characterized as “secret”. If JR went out yesterday and bought a pound of grapes and did not advise the LA Times, would that be a “secret” purchase?


    The phrase appearing in quotations in JR’s comment of May 4 at 1100 (“to control victims and their families”) is not one I have found in the Report. Where does it come from? I will go so far here as to say that it is not from Doyle or the Report. I could easily be refuted by a simple and accurate quotation (with page-number) from the Report. But as I said, I have not been able to find it in the text. To make things easier for JR – although he no doubt already has it handy – the entire 4th Chapter of Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes (pp. 99-174) is nothing but the text of the Report itself.


    Now why would JR want to or even think to write that phrase  – “to control victims and their families” – here?


    Answer: Because that’s what … well, I leave the rest to the readership.


    And while we’re on the subject, I’m still standing by on the matter of “page 170 and forward from that”.


    Lastly, let me save us all some time. Doyle proposed a “Crisis Control Team” – comprised, as I have previously said, of himself, a civil attorney, and a psychologist – in order to handle what he saw as an imminently emerging situation where the Bishops would lose the initiative for proactively addressing the instances of abuse if they became publicized; that would be a “crisis’, in the Report’s estimation. If this is the “control” which JR is talking about – then I point out that the “control” was of the Crisis (hence the title: Crisis Control Team) and not of anything or anybody else.


    If I am correct here in my surmise, then we see as a matter of insight into the Abuse Matter generally just how things get twisted (by accident, ignorance, or design) and then on top of that go uncorrected by media ‘reporting’: from Doyle’s “Crisis Control Team” we somehow suddenly get “to control the victims and their families”. And the circus proceeds downhill from there.

  32. fran says:

    Jim, your response to my post shows that you are allowing emotion to affect your reading and comprehension. I said nothing about whether people should, or should not, claim compensation for injury. Indeed, I believe that they should. My point was that you have been paid compensation, and many other victims of clergy abuse have also. The church has paid out many millions of dollars in compensation – as they should to genuine victims. But that is the point – they have, and still are, paying out. They have acknowledged that there have been priest who have committed criminal acts.  Many others – victims of other forms of abuse - get no compensation of any kind. So what is your point? You keep saying that victims are not being heard or compensated. That is not my understanding of what has been happening. There has been counselling provided, compensation paid, apologies made – over and over it seems - new rules and regulations have been put in place for child protection in schools etc. What exactly do you want them to do? what would satisfy you that they are taking this seriously? I am beginning to wonder  – not just about you, but all the others who keep saying that the church isn't doing anything – if, in reality, nothing will satisfy because the goal is not compensation and some form of healing. There is another agenda at work in all this. And this is NOT a personal criticism of you, Jim – just an observation of what seems to be going on.

    • jim robertson says:

      Really? The Church has paid out next to nothinggto the vast majority of victims. Think of Africa; Central and South America.  In Australia victims just recieved 36 million dollars for 600 people average 60,000$ per person. Why so little? because the government and the church and Aussie's version of SNAP (created by the Church) have all conspired to get themselves off the hook as cheaply as possible; and it's worked.

      What's the" other agenda at work"?

      [edited by moderator]

      We report what's happened to us and other victims: attacks and obstructions and bigotry; all truely done by SNAP and you say we're imagining what we've experienced by calling us paranoid. A rather odd initial reaction to the news we've shared here.

      I don't say the Church has done next to nothing for victims out of spite or subtrafuge. I'm talking reality here. [edited by moderator]

  33. fran says:

    Jim, if - by asking for reason, evidence and analysis to be applied to the issues at hand - I am "giving atheism a bad name", then so be it.

  34. Publion says:

    As I am writing this comment, the last published comment is the JR 2-liner of May 4, at 1117PM. Since my own most recent comments were written well after that time, and since I can’t actually figure out to what the 1117 comment actually refers, then I will assume that either it has no rationally-identifiable referent at all or it refers to somebody else’s comment. And that’s OK since it means I don’t have to have Sunday coffee with the moniker of “fool!” attached to me. There’s something to be said for the small blessings in life.


    Moving along – lest we all find ourselves waiting as in Godot for answers that won’t be forthcoming (“page 170 and forward”, “to control victims and families”) – I would like to mention that May, 1985 Report and Proposal which Doyle had prepared for the bishops but which they did not choose to accept or even to consider in-session.


    As I said, the text of it comprises the entire 4th chapter of Sex, Priests and Secret Codes and is available as well by other means on the Web. (The formal title of the Report (proposal included in it) is “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner”. I would recommend typing ‘text’ after the title if you put it into a search engine, so you can get straight to it.


    I would first of all say that this Report actually does contain some worthwhile material indeed. And that it was indeed a failure on the part of the Bishops not to do more with it. (Although we cannot know to what extent some Bishops or their staffs might have read it privately; the Bishops refused to consider the Report while in formal session.)


    As MDA recounts it, relying no doubt on Doyle’s recollections, a particular ranking staffer got the Report axed from the formal schedule more or less at the last minute, apparently because he thought Doyle was trying to build a little empire for himself and his associates (a civil attorney and a priest-psychologist) with his Crisis Control Team proposal.  While that may well have been part of it, I think the Report itself was an awful lot to throw out a) as a matter of formal record; and b) as put forward by Doyle and associates whose own temperamental or tactical exaggerative proclivities might have been rather clear to some Bishops; and c) to a group that had become more like the city-cohorts than the legions (recalling my previous bit about those two very different types of Roman military unit).


    To formally consider the Report in-session would have been to open the matter to being construed as some sort of general admission and would actually have served to have the Bishops’ own authority and attention used as a ‘mule’ to give publicity to what was in its essence extremely unpleasant material for any organizational leader to face-up-to.


    I don’t say this to excuse or justify the action of the Bishops in May of 1985. Even without judging their actions of almost 30 years ago in hindsight, I think that by the Spring of 1985 the situation had already gotten to a point where the Bishops were going to be between a rock and a hard-place no matter what they chose to do. But then that was no point or place for a ‘city cohort’ mentality; it would have required the spirit and mentality and stance of a commander of the legions to face the Report’s subject matter squarely and forthrightly.


    Whether acute canonists advising the Bishops appreciated the large and deep consequences of the national attitude (as shaped by the media and legislation and jurisprudence) as it would bear on the shift from the Western to the ‘revolutionary’ template of justice and jurisprudence; whether the Bishops or their staffs or advisers realized just how many powerful interests – within and outside the Church – would want to see their credibility and public stature greatly diminished; whether anybody among them realized the breadth and depth of the intensifying national shift to a victimist or victim-centered assessment; whether anybody among them even realized – and it would have had to been a stunning and sobering realization – that what had been treated for so long as a personal sinful failure of (possibly somewhat deranged) priests were truly and actually crimes … these are questions which at this point we don’t know (and might constitute an excellent historical research project).


    And it’s also possible that Doyle’s abuse of alcohol was deep enough to provide a pretext for thinking tha he was Yelling Fire In A Crowded Theater, thus feeding into a natural human tendency to want to avoid either i) facing up to serious and painful challenges or ii) making a difficult situation worse by trying to deal with a ticking time-bomb and blowing it up instead. And addictive personalities are notable for their looseness with truth, including exaggeration and outright fabrication. Perhaps – and not merely as a matter of ‘institutional politics’ – there was some concern that Doyle and his associates were simply painting a worst-case scenario in order to scare everybody into buying their package, i.e. the Crisis Control Team (with, no doubt, staff and offices and fax machines and even cars and all the other paraphernalia).


    Additionally, there was the material itself. Doyle’s Report was complexly-layered: it was concerned 1) for the Church’s integrity and operational ethos (which was a hugely challenging topic in itself) but it was also concerned 2) for the possible consequences that were brewing out in the larger world beyond the Church and the Bishops: in the nation’s culture and priorities and concerns, and in the media reporting and legislation and jurisprudence that was beginning to be shaped by those pressures.


    And while Doyle and the priest-psychologist made a substantive (in my view) case for deep and vital Church aspects both spiritual and administrative, the civil attorney (named Mouton) made some seriously shocking predictions about what would happen if tort-attorneys around the country got the idea into their heads that they could open up an entire new field of operations by bringing lawsuits on behalf of what were coming to be called ‘victims’.  (I am leaving aside for the moment the next huge problems: distinguishing genuine victims from those otherwise-classifiable; and then the shocking and mind-numbing legal and cultural possibility that if this thing really got rolling, it wouldn’t really matter whether a ‘victim’ were actually in one category or the other).


    Like the public-safety engineers who had warned Los Angeles in the 1950s that the mountain areas around Mulholland Drive and the Canyons were a lethal combination of frightfully flammable chaparral underbrush and expensive homes and neighborhoods, Doyle and his associates were basically telling LA City Councilors that they were sitting on top of a potential disaster and immediate action, no matter how unpleasant or unpalatable, had to be undertaken. And then came the Fire of November 6, 1961. (If you are interested in pursuing this historical comparison, you might want to view the professionally-made documentary “Design for Disaster”, released not long after that conflagration; it’s available on – I think – You-tube or other venues on the Web.)


    And – of course – there might have been prudential concerns that if the Bishops actually had a practicing tort-attorney deeply involved in their councils – perhaps as a formal Member of that Crisis Control Team – they would open up even more difficult possibilities for themselves. Because as the Report said, clerical-abuse law was at the stage where medical malpractice law had been 25 years before (i.e. 1960) and “In this age of litigation, plaintiffs’ lawyers are constantly breaking barriers down, seeking new causes of action, and searching for deep-pockets defendants to sue who possess great financial wealth”.


    But as I have said, while city-cohort commanders too often tend to use ‘prudence’ as a pretext for not taking bold action, it would have taken more than a few ‘legion-commander’ Bishops to move the Church in the US to work boldly. Such – in the mysterious workings of Providence – was not the case in 1985.


    So the Report was not formally considered. Although – again – it may have had some impact as some or even many Bishops and staffers read it and considered it privately, away from formal-session.


    And so things went on to the more recent developments in this Abuse Matter.


    But I would also add this last point. There is in statistical theory a distinction between a “normal distribution” and a “power-law distribution”.


    A normal-distribution (hereinafter ‘ND’) would be something akin to what you would see on a Bell curve graph: a large middle, with outliers tapering off at either end.


    A power-law-distribution (hereinafter ‘PLD’) is something else again: it looks like a hockey stick lying on its back, with a huge spike in one specific and limited particular area.


    I think that one of the misconceptions at the heart of subsequent Doyle and Sipe (and other) assessments was to cast the Abuse Matter as an ND rather than a PLD. Meaning: those assessments presumed that in the matter of sexual abuse the vast bulk of the priesthood were abusers, with a very few at one end doing almost none and a very few at the other end doing a great deal. Thus the ND Bell curve.


    Whereas, in my opinion, it is the PLD that more accurately captures the heart of the extent of clerical abuse in the Church: there is (or rather at this point was) a great deal of abuse centered on a small but very active number of often-truly-deranged individuals, with the rest of the clergy lying in that long and rather flat expanse of the hilt of the hockey-stick, rather than on its perpendicular edge (yes, I know, the edge of a hockey stick is not actually completely perpendicular to the hilt-shaft, but you get the idea).


    If I am correct in my surmise here, then the ensuing decades of court-cases and the Dallas Reforms would have disposed of that egregious spike-population, leaving the rest of the clergy along the relatively flat hilt-shaft.


    If this were true, then we would see a significant falling-off in the number of allegations – especially validated allegations – in the Abuse Matter.


    That would be my thought.


    I further think that as time went on and various of the principals such as Doyle and Sipe and others became enmeshed in the dynamics of Keeping The Ball Rolling, it was a lot easier to assert the ND (thus that the vast bulk of clergy is and always has been sexually-abusive) rather than the PLD (thus that there were some seriously deranged but comparatively few ordained individuals who were perpetrating the majority of the abuse).


    In this I am not at all seeking to minimize the historical failures involved on the part of responsible persons – clergy and hierarchy and others – who should have been more proactive long ago. But I am saying that if the reality of Catholic clerical abuse conforms more accurately to the PLD rather than to the ND, then a major (and largely un-noticed) presumption held – often without conscious thought – by far too much of the public and the media will be dissolved, and rightly so.

  35. Fran says:

    I have been reading this site for some time. I was not using the term paranoid to be insulting – but rather in the true psychiatric definition of the condition. This is because I cannot see how SNAP could, in one’s wildest imagings, be considered an instrument of the church -except by a manner of thinking which can only be described as paranoid. I know you find this hard to believe, but I am not wishing to offend you, Jim. Also, I thought you said you had a million dollar payout, Jim.

  36. fran says:

    i will give an example of another agenda that is going on here in Australia.  The press is not interested in reporting the truth – instead the more salacious and awful the better as that sells more papers. My local rag reported on a now-deceased Monsignor – a good man who I knew through some involvement in indigenous rights issues  – who it blamed for a "cover-up" (a much loved term employed by the media). He was quoted as saying: " I decided to say nothing" in regard to a priest whom he had been sent away for treatment for his offending against minors. But that wasn't the full quote and the journalist knew it. He went on to say that saying nothing was a terrible mistake as these cases are difficult to cure. He acknowledged that he had made a grave error of judgement re this particular priest. The journalist, however, cut the quote to about one quarter of the original. What was her purpose in doing this? Well, it certainly wasn't to present the truth. the only explanation is that she wished to paint him in the worst possible light – uncaring, arrogant and unrepentant. This particular journo is lauded as a warrior against the church in the region. But in my eyes – and I am not a believer – she is a liar. There were some terrible cases of pedophilia committed by the priest, so why not let the truth speak for itself. But no, she wished to embellish it by presenting the man in charge as some kind of monster who sacrificed children to the needs of a sexual pervert – which was far from the reality. So what is the agenda here?


    • jim robertson says:

      He, the monsignor transferred a perpetrator priest to perp again? Is that what you're saying?

      There's the crime and cover up. Hey you do wrong you should be sorry and pay for the crime to boot. You liked the guy. Your business. Did he commit a crime? Crimes are society's business. Saying your sorry doesn't quite cut it.

  37. fran says:

    P.S.On a lighter note, please excuse my appalling grammatical misuse of who, instead of whom in my last posting.

  38. jim robertson says:

    First  I seem to have transfered in my mind a phrase by Father Tom Econimus a dead priest who was a victim and created Link Up.  and  I credited his discription of "the Project" in his link up news letter to Doyle. Mea Culpa. I accept full responsablity.

    However On page 171 under, "C,Strategy to be employed" it reads " In order to protect and provide a privilage to the team and the group it is contemplated that

    1) A base contract would be executed between the Group of Four Bishops and the trial lawyer that, among other things would provide that a  client-counsel relationship exists between a)the Group of Four  and the Lawyer b) The National Conference Of Bishops and the lawyer and C) each diocese and the lawyer

    It says: "This should be done in an effort to avoid discovery (AVOID DISCOVERY) of any information transmitted by any of the clients to counsel to any of the clients, providing as free a flow of information as possible WITHOUT THE DISCOVERY OF PLAINTIFFS OR PRESS"

    Isn't that controlling victims?

  39. Publion says:

    That would be Fr. Tom Economus, whose work advocating for ‘victims’ appears on the website Priests of Darkness, which describes itself as dealing with “sex, sin, and Satanism in the Catholic Church”.


    Doyle’s plan (which we recall was rejected by the Bishops) was to have his Crisis Control Team employed by the tort-attorney, Mouton, or other attorneys,  formally retained by the Bishops in some form; under that aegis, working as agents of an attorney who had been retained by the Church, their work would be immune from the formal legal process known as Discovery  - I will use a capital ‘D’ here, although the text of the report does not – which means that tort-attorneys, in Doyle’s plan, would not have been able to subpoena any of the materials or information that Doyle’s Crisis Control Team came up with while trying to deal with the overall Abuse Matter.


    The ‘Discovery’ here does not carry the conventional meaning of ‘discovery’ (small ‘d’) but rather the legal meaning of the process of Discovery, the formal process by which attorneys in civil cases can require sources of possible information (under subpoena if necessary) to divulge what they know.


    Clearly it could not have meant an overall effort to manipulate all ‘discovery’ in the conventional sense, since the cat could easily be let out of the bag by allegant-Plaintiffs, their attorneys, family members and witnesses who already ‘knew’ about the allegated actions that were the basis of their claims. And the media already would have had direct access to all those potential sources, as well as to any police agencies to which any of these above-mentioned persons could have gone. And – of course – the tort-attorneys could also have gone to the media themselves, which was precisely the strategy embraced by Jeff Anderson and many others.


    Doyle here was proposing a legal mechanism by which the Bishops could grant his group wide authority to work on the various abuse-cases without creating the legal possibility of amassing documentation which could at some future point be ‘Discovered’ by tort-attorneys. Nothing more.


    In this sense, taking steps to somehow preclude ‘Discovery’ is not at all the same as ‘cover-up’, since all of the issues could be and probably would be publicly known and ‘discovered’ through all the other avenues and sources I mentioned above.


    I imagine Doyle was trying to somehow reassure the organization that he could come up with a plan and a group that could simultaneously i) work robustly on the Abuse Matter without ii) creating an even larger legal and media vulnerability.


    But in the event, Doyle’s plan was rejected by the Bishops  – and indeed not even formally considered.


    And I doubt very much that even Doyle could have seriously imagined that eventually the corpus of information his Group amassed could have permanently avoided some form of discovery or Discovery. Perhaps the Bishops realized that too – it will be interesting to see the history of this Matter when actual historical research competence is brought to bear on it in a sustained way.


    I would also note that the dog that rarely ever barked in any of this was all those other potential sources of information who could have gone to the police, whose authority to discover matters through criminal investigation is even more acute than that of tort-attorneys working on lawsuits. Nor – as MDA gave the game away with his relating of matters pertaining to the Boston Globe – did elements of the mainstream media become actively critical for quite some time.


    I also note that so much of the material that eventually was Discovered – think of the LA document cache here – did not really provide what advocate-activists had hoped anyway.


    Even the Boston priest, Geoghan, was convicted of only one count of fondling a boy’s buttocks when lifting him out of a swimming pool. The judge in the case – if memory serves – sentenced him to the maximum for that single conviction because, as she said at sentencing, she just “knew” that he had done a lot more. (In the event, the single conviction, coupled with the publicity and general public atmosphere, was enough to lead functionally to a death sentence, when he was killed in his prison-cell by a murderer who wanted to ‘do his bit’ for justice, and somehow mysteriously got out of his own theoretically locked cell and into Geoghan’s theoretically locked cell)


    But to the original point: there was never in the Doyle report any quotation to the effect that victims would be “controlled”. And if this quotation is from the deceased Economus, and was intended to quote Economus and not the text of the Report, then perhaps JR has learned to be more careful and precise in his use and expression and attribution of material. That, certainly, is a consummation devoutly to be wished.


    But in response to JR’s final question – is not Doyle here trying to “control victims” – I would say that would be an impossible stretch of language. Victims were never controlled – they could have gone to the police or to the media and the fact that they didn’t (the dogs that didn’t bark) says something (but not everything) here. We have been so soused with stories of how the Bishops did not respond sufficiently, that many forget how many other avenues were open to victims through the police and the media. MDA mentions at a couple of points that tort-attorneys didn’t want to take such cases because until the 1980s they couldn’t see how to win settlements (and fees) through such lawsuits – and perhaps public attention might want to consider how many such attorneys failed victims by toting up the possibilities for a remunerative settlement and fee rather than simply seeking formally to bring alleged torts and injustices to the attention of the legal system.


    And of course there also remains the fact that up until the past decades, none of the major institutions of American culture and society considered sexual-abuse and victimization as a priority: not police nor legislators nor courts nor media nor the Church and Bishops nor – it has to be said – the public.


    It is precisely here that we see the role of ‘publicity’: to get the public interested.


    Which is a good thing. So long as one is trying to awaken the public to an accurately reported and accurately conceived problem or issue.


    What has happened in the Abuse Matter, I would say, is that too many hungry and eager chefs got into the game: tort-attorneys needed a massive and organizationally-directed conspiracy of ‘cover-up’ in order to drive up settlements (and subsequent attorney fees) through claims of ‘fraud’ and ‘reckless negligence’ and thus there had to be a ‘culture’ of abuse and cover-up; disaffected reformers such as Doyle and Sipe eventually allowed themselves to envision that ‘normal distribution’ of the Bell curve rather than the ‘power-law distribution’ of the hockey-stick and so cast treacherously broad aspersions on the entire clergy as well as the hierarchs; media elements needed a clear Good-vs-Evil story, Pure Innocence Assaulted By Pure Evil and in the Boston Globe’s 2002 sortie there was even an effort to go for some sort of ecclesiastical Watergate to rival that storied media event of days gone by; assorted activists, writers, some academics, and assorted professionals and paraprofessionals saw a chance to surf a Wave and make some money and creds; legislators saw how to keep a new demographic or congeries of sub-demographics happy by pulling apart Western law (to the extent that many legislators even had the wit to realize that that was what they were doing); and assorted law-enforcement and DA types saw that this was going to be the new path to career-enhancement and to keeping the government funding coming for their organizations and agencies.


    What has happened in the Abuse Matter, then, I would say, is a very large game of musical chairs, with the Bishops and the Church made the odd-one-out who wouldn’t have a chair when the music stopped. Meanwhile, all the other agencies and organizations of influence in American society and culture quickly saw their path would be to placate the new ‘victimist’ sensibility in the country by distracting attention from their own prior non-performance and painting the Church – as the Designated Villain – as the sole and deeply corrupted Evil upon which the rest of them could now piously and loudly pig-pile.


    As long as nobody paid too much attention to careful and rational analysis and assessment.


    But as I have said, the Bishops certainly left themselves open to a lot of this – Doyle was right in 1985 when he pointed that out. Through the mysterious workings of Providence we now have far less of a ‘parade’ hierarchy and clergy, and more of a Church – if I may – of the legions. Which, given the storms and abysses into which American society and culture are heading, is a very good thing indeed.


    So I would say that if JR is going to be doing more careful reading and quoting, and the Bishops have started to clean up Dodge effectively, then this whole episode here is a win-win all around.


    And – the very end of my thoughts here – all of this presumes that efforts to work for and with genuine victims will continue. As I have often said before here.

    • BostonSurvivor says:

      "Even the Boston priest, Geoghan, was convicted of only one count of fondling a boy’s buttocks when lifting him out of a swimming pool. The judge in the case – if memory serves – sentenced him to the maximum for that single conviction because, as she said at sentencing, she just “knew” that he had done a lot more. (In the event, the single conviction, coupled with the publicity and general public atmosphere, was enough to lead functionally to a death sentence, when he was killed in his prison-cell by a murderer who wanted to ‘do his bit’ for justice, and somehow mysteriously got out of his own theoretically locked cell and into Geoghan’s theoretically locked cell)"

      That you would write about Geoghan in such a dishonest and sympathetic way displays your bias with HD clarity. Thank you for the confirmation that you are a crazy conspiracy theorist.

  40. jim robertson says:

    Bye the way. How about New Jersey? Decades and decades ago I know. (irony)

    By the way in depth re "the Project"Start at page 165. Of all the people to be un"precise" with. I pick P. My fault.


    • jim robertson says:

      Yes Boston Survivor., I'm the one called paranoid. I'm the one who P and Fran call a crazy conspiracy theorist. When I share my experiences with SNAP.

      Yet I didn't manufacture all the victims who've come forward.

      Their own abusive system created us and then that same  system cries foul when we speak up. Incredable!

  41. Publion says:

    I came across a Letter to the Editor today (and to the Boston Globe, nicely) by a personage I keep an eye on out on the Web: Wendy Murphy, a former ADA and now holding a position at a non-first-line law school.


    She is complaining that “it is improper to call a 5 year-old victim an ‘accuser’ in a story”. Rather, she says, “the accuser is the state and the child is but a witness for the prosecution”.


    She further asserts that it is improper to use the term “alleged victim”. Rather, she says that “the child is the victim of alleged crimes” because – she continues – “using the word ‘alleged’ to modify the word ‘victim’ wrongly attaches skepticism to the word of the child”.


    She concludes that “these young people have a right to declare themselves actual, not ‘alleged’, victims in the real world”.


    Her material is relevant to much of what we have been discussing on this site.


    First, the State does not come up with accusations; persons come to the police agencies of the State with accusations; the State’s role is to prosecute on behalf of ‘The People’ or ‘The State’ since any possible crime that may have been committed harms the integrity and commonweal of the entire People of the State.


    The victimist approach to law – of which Murphy is a great promoter – is to change the dynamics of criminal law in what I would say is a regressive way: the State and prosecutor merely become the muscle or ‘champion’ by which the (alleged) victim goes after the accused. This is the Dark Ages in a business suit and represents a regression in Western law.


    Civil lawsuits – as we can tell from the titles of the cases – are the proper forum for X, Plaintiff to legally pursue a case against Y, Defendant. Whereas the titles of criminal cases indicate that in the criminal forum ‘The People’ or ‘The (Jurisdiction)’ go versus the accused Defendant.


    In the criminal forum the prosecutor works for ‘The People’ and the State and in a very real sense it is The People and their commonweal that are the ‘victim’. Whereas victimist law would simply make the prosecutor a tool and servant of the victim – which is actually the role tort-attorneys fill, and in the civil forum.


    Thus we have seen – as I have mentioned in a number of place in comments – the vital principles of the criminal-law process deranged in the service of making the awesome (in the classic, not slang, sense) deliberation as to the deployment of the Sovereign Coercive Authority against an accused into merely an effort to put that Authority placatingly at the service of one Party – the accuser – who also has a verrry vested interest in how the case turns out.


    That skews the entire process. In Western law, both prosecutor and defense counsel, as Officers of the Court, are bound to seek truth; neither is to presume outright from the get-go that one Party (the ‘victim’) is or must be right and true. The People and their commonweal will not be served if justice is miscarried through a built-in partiality to one side, especially when the awesome power of the State’s Coercive Authority is thrown onto one side, against the accused. The State’s power should remain neutral, seeking only to determine the truth according to the rational examination of the evidence presented.


    Second, we see clearly Murphy’s effort to avoid and indeed to disqualify any “skepticism” as to the credibility of the accuser. (I know she slyly uses the examples of child-victims here, but to my mind she is using children here as sort of baby harp-seals, for the emotional effect; her legal theorizing, such as it is, would have to apply to adult-accused as well. And thus – bringing this to our own concerns here – to accused priests.)


    It is a classic trope of ‘victimist’ law that the word of the victim (again, she neatly uses only the image of a ‘child’ here, but her theorizing would apply to any accuser of any age) cannot be questioned, since that would be to ‘re-victimize’ the (presumed) victim all over again. This approach to law does not want anybody asking any uncongenial questions.


    Third, she then declares that anybody (again, hiding behind “these young people”) should have the right to declare themselves publicly as victims and not be asked any questions. But as I have said, while anybody surely does have the right to go online or out onto the sidewalks or into any unofficial forum and state that they are (or at least consider themselves to be) a victim, yet when they are going to go into a court and demand the deployment of the Sovereign Coercive Authority against the person they are accusing, then they have accepted – willy or nilly – the responsibility for showing sufficient justification for the awesome (and perhaps lethal) deployment of that Authority on the basis of their claims.


    And it is the prosecution’s job in criminal cases to robustly make the case – within the bounds of truth and reason and the rules of due-process and of evidence – that what happened to the accuser has actually happened, to the harm and detriment of The People and the commonweal.


    There’s simply no other way to do it in a world where earthly governments and the humans who comprise them are not in possession of the Divine Omniscience.


    Unless you cut corners: as does the ‘revolutionary’ approach to justice which simply makes the convenient presumption that a certain type of crime is simply too important not-to-be-true, and that thus any accuser can reliably be credited with total truthiness and the Coercive Authority can thus simply take their word for it and strike, rather than investigate and prove a case-against, the accused.


    This is the type of abyssal difference in legal templates (Western and revolutionary/victimist) that has played so profound a role in the Abuse Matter.


    (Link to the Letter: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/letters/2013/05/04/case-sex-abuse-wrong-attach-word-alleged-victims/Ly8pIWno7bEUutjmc7eMxJ/story.html

    • jim robertson says:

      Ah the well planned barrage continues. Look at the length of that analysis and he only got the book yesterday?

      Let's keep this a bit more simple. Why would hiding evidence be a good idea especially if they had no evidence to hide. I thought you were suposed to be a religion?

    • jim robertson says:

      On pg. 165 and I quote:, under "Public relations consideration"

      section e, the Church must remain open and AVOID THE APPEARENCE of being under siege or drawn into battle.

      All tired and worn policies utilized by bureaucracies must be avoided and cliches such as 'no comment' must be cast away. In this sophisticated society, a media policy implies either necessary secrecy or cover up."

      and then most importantly

      "f) Policy analysts and media consultants can  construct sound, specific targeted policies to be utilized in response to localized  or regional publicity that may be adverse to the Church's best interests. Broad general policies of a National scope can be put in place.

      Most important, very specific thematic policies can be developed for each phase of the developing problem from it's discovery to it's conclusion"

      Thematic policies that never includes victims? that sometimes includes victims? that always includes victims?  "Thematic policies"  PR Themes to be introduced to the press? If they have "themes" for the press. Why not for the victims and the Law? What's the difference between PR themes and the simple old fashioned truth of a matter?


  42. Publion says:

    New Jersey is a State in the Union, yes. Beyond that I have no idea of its relevance. Irony – no matter how skillfully deployed – is rather undermined if placed in the service of irrationality of thought or expression.

    I had read the entire Report and nothing in the pages from 165-170 struck me as SNAP-related; beyond that, I cannot see the relevance of the point.

    Precision is vital, in my opinion, at all times. Especially in serious matters. And if one finds oneself, or deliberately places onself, in company where 'precision' is not required – especially in serious matters – then one is best advised to reconsider one's fundamental position very carefully. In an ethos where one can 'get away with' imprecision, one might suddenly  find oneself on the receiving – rather than the delivering – end of imprecise definitions.

    So, in Stalin's day, brash old Bolsheviks who 'just knew' that 'enemy of the state and the revolution and the masses'' meant kulaks and class-enemies, suddenly, in the mid-late 1930s, found that 'enemies of the state and the revolution and the masses' had been changed while they were sleeping so that now that definition meant 'brash old Bolsheviks'. And the Great Purges swallowed them whole in their tens of thousands.


  43. Publion says:

    In regard to the comment of 8:19PM:

    I had gotten the book Friday and then … I went and read it. Especially the parts about the Report. I had not planned to get it or to read it, but then various assertions (subsequently demonstrated to be groundless) required me to read it. So there was no "well-planned barrage" because – this is my fault – I had not really expected to be confronted by the assorted types of material that suddenly showed up on the screen.

    You would have to ask Doyle why he came up with his plan. The idea was his. The Bishops – is it necessary to repeat it again? – rejected it.

    Simplicity is all well and good if it is skillfully handled. Otherwise … not so much.

    Thus, for example: I am not "a religion". No doubt just a habitual imprecision of thought and/or expression. But there it is.



    • jim robertson says:

      Just because the Bishops rejected it publicly. That's it? They couldn't have rejected it publicly yet acted on it "secretly"?

      About secrecy: I quote again from Doyle, Mouton and Peterson's paper to the Bishops pg. 171

      2) "All consultants who work on the team or with the group should be retained under contract with the trial lawyer and not with anyone else. All of their fees and expenses should be paid by the trial lawyer and the entirety of their work should be preformed for him.


      3) The only official evidence that this Project was ever proposed or in fact existed, assuming each of these documents is returned without copying (Economus got his copy) would be the base contract between the Bishops and the lawyer—- a document that by it's very nature is private, priviliged and may not be discovered."

      Again the need for such secrecy is why? To avoid discovery.

  44. Fran says:

    No, that wasn’t my point. Jim, [edited by moderator]

  45. fran says:

    PS for the record, my point was concerning the particular slant that a journalist can put on a story – that this can change the complexion of the story. So,as in my e.g., by truncating the quote, the journalist presents the Monsignor as wicked rather than misguided or incompetent. He viewed the offending as an illness so he sent him away for treatment rather than to the police. That is what he admitted was a grave error of judgement on his part. But that bit was just cut out. It was nothing to do with my "liking the guy" – that bit was just to say how I knew about, and came to be interested in the case.

  46. dennis ecker says:

    I for one is glad the Media Report has reported on the issue regarding SNAP. There is a time and place for everything, and no matter what side your on I think we all are only looking for the truth, and now I present the following.

    On another blog site dated May 4, 2014 on Ralph Cipriano's open paragraph he states "Here are the questions posed by National Catholic Reporter that District Attorney Seth Williams refused to answer."  I have contacted Mr. Cipriano and asked him if he was indeed the reporter he is talking about and if the questions that are spoken about are those he has tried to have answered. On both questions he answered with a firm YES and YES.

    I respect his honesty, but was this an attempt on Mr. Cipriano's part to mislead his readers into thinking there are more reporters interested in his stories or was this just a poor choice of wording.  When he could have stated easily I or me.

    Many of us know that Ralph has been joined at the hip with NCR at one time or another, but as many of us who know this information, there is those who do not know.

    Now, most of us are upset that mainstream media has not been more involved in what both sides have to say, and my only reasoning could be they do not consider it news worthy.

    However, prior to writing this comment I returned to the NCR web site to reread Mr. Cipriano's article only to find that the link has been removed from the main page unlike the editorial he speaks about on his blog. To be fair to Mr. Cipriano his article can be found after you do a NCR site search under accountability. If NCR would already archive his story are they inline with mainstream media ?

    Truth and honesty is the only thing this survivor is looking for, and if able to confront the SNAP leaders I would ask, what were you thinking ?

    • jim robertson says:

      May I tell you what SNAP's leadership was "thinking"?

      Remember Father Tom Doyle O.P. was the canon lawyer for the Vatican Embasy in Washington D.C. when he warned the Bishops/Church  to "  not appear to be under siege or drawn into battle"

      SNAP however has appeared to be making war on the Church.

      Let me think: the Church is warned not to appear to be embattled for PR. sake yet SNAP makes war?? Curiouser and Curiouser????

      Oh but that's just a "leadership' screwup. Yes it is.(irony).

    • jim robertson says:

      SNAP has "appeared" to make war on the Church even though SNAP's best friend Doyle told the Bishops in 1985 for the Church "not to appear to be under siege or be drawn into battle"

      He's hung around SNAP since it's inception,( after all he was "the Father".) yet he failed to give SNAP the same advice? And this adds up how?

  47. jim robertson says:

    New Jersey refered not to the state,( my! you aren't quick) but to the Father Michael Fugee cover up; that goes all the way to the archbishop. All done since 2003.

  48. Publion says:

    In regard to the piles that have appeared on the screen since 1048AM today:


    First, while it is logically possible that the Bishops could have rejected it publicly yet acted upon it secretly, yet there remains the fact that they acted on very few of his recommendations, if we go by whatever extant evidence we have: no such Crisis Teams and no such organized efforts to address anything. Until, at least, the Dallas Reforms of 2002, which are very public.


    Second, as JR himself says: “This is an effort to legally shield … “ Since every organization and every person has a right to operate legally, then the Bishops would not be doing anything illegal. And again, there is no evidence as to what they might have or might not have taken from Doyle’s Report/Proposal informally.


    I cannot make sense of point (3) in the 1048 comment. There are incomplete quotation marks; I cannot make sense of what Economus was supposed to have gotten and what the significance of copying is; and on top of that, the comment’s text now seems to claim that there is no definitive proof that the Report/Proposal ever existed in the first place (except – it seems – for the Economus copy or something along those (vague and grossly blurred) lines.


    The point about any agreement with being privileged information is a legal truism that can bear very little if any weight here: every formal relationship with an attorney grants the shield of privilege. If that is ‘secrecy’ then anybody who has ever entered into a relationship with an attorney (including – as I have so often said – allegants entering into arrangements with tort-attorneys) engages in this form of ‘secrecy’.  (And wouldn’t it be interesting to see what sort of shenanigans that ‘secrecy’ has been shielding?)


    JR may precisely not “tell” us what Doyle or anybody is or was thinking. Not unless he has clear and definitive evidence to back up his assertions. Otherwise, JR can only offer his own thinking – and good luck with that.


    The “curiouser and curiouser” bit that has attracted JR’s attention like a shiny bauble is precisely accounted for by the fact that while the Church was trying not to give the impression of being besieged and so forth, SNAP – operating independently and against the Church – was trying very hard to achieve the besieging (so to speak) of the Church. JR here has merely stumbled across evidence that refutes his own tin-foil theory of Church-SNAP collusion and has then – knowingly or (quite possibly) unknowingly – tried to make that discovery appear to fit into his Cartoon.


    In which case, irony deployed in the service of irrationality loses most of its punch.


    JR seems surprised that others can’t read his mind (perhaps because he seems convinced that he can read others’ minds). But the Fugee case took place before the Dallas Reforms were enacted in 2002 so I can’t see the relevance (and the case was overturned on appeal).

  49. jim robertson says:

    Not shield themselves as defendents but shield evidence from discovery.

    A big time difference.

  50. jim robertson says:

    Everything that was within quotation marks in pts 2 and 3 above was verbatum from the text.

    It was Doyle demanding secrecy from "plantiffs and press" for the Bishops in order to hide information that would benefit victims and our cases. And that the idea for such a "Project" had to be kept secret so that said Project could fullfill it's obfuscations, it's mission for the Church.

    My hardest question is, Why all the macinations of secrecy and is the thinking displayed in this paper. Does this ring true as  to what any normal priest would think important in such a crisis. I would have thought helping the victims might be issue one, not hiding information, helpful information from the people harmed.



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