Lest there be any remaining doubt that the advocacy group SNAP is more about advancing a radical left-wing social agenda than providing actual helpful support for clergy abuse victims, this weekend's annual conference for the group in Washington D.C. is headlining a speech by Eleanor Smeal, the rabid president of the abortion activist group Feminist Majority.
Smeal's contempt for the Catholic Church cannot be overstated, as she has made it clear that the Catholic Church is her number one obstacle in advancing unfettered abortion-on-demand.
A few years ago, she told a pro-abortion gathering, "Opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and of the hierarchy is a major reason this issue (abortion) stays controversial. We've got to keep more pressure on this hierarchy [because] they're vulnerable now [due to the clergy sex abuse scandals]."
Smeal's appearance comes on the heels of last year's headline speaker, Rev. Barry Lynn, the ringleader of the loopy Americans United for Separation of Church and State, whose speech consisted almost entirely of him railing against the Catholic Church for its opposition to the Obama administration's healthcare mandate, thus providing more proof that SNAP really has another agenda at play.
Wheeling out tired Church bashersThis year's conference will also feature Fr. Thomas Doyle, who has a long documented history of animus against the Church.
Doyle actually admitted at last year's conference that he has "nothing to do with the Catholic Church," he has "nothing to do with the clerical life," he is "not associated with the Church in any way," he operates on his own, and his beliefs are "about as far away from the Vatican as you can get."
In other words, Doyle is a dissident priest who has essentially conceded that he is really not even Catholic.
The conference will also feature the angry psychiatrist Marianne Benkert.
This will not be Benkert's first appearance at a SNAP gathering, as the Catholic League reported that her talk at the group's 2011 meeting was "the most inflammatory address of them all."
According to the Catholic League, Benkert wildly claimed of the Catholic Church: "[It] refuses to acknowledge sin; it engages in scapegoating; it sacrifices others; it is a master of disguise and pretense; it fosters intellectual deviousness; it lies; it forces the faithful to submit their will to the Church; it is controlling; and it causes 'religious duress'."
In all, the League characterized Benkert's anger and hatred as "off-the-charts."
Indeed, in 2008, Benkert co-authored a rambling and bizarre paper with Thomas Doyle called, "Religious Duress and Its Impact on Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse."
Politics and malice, not support
In the end, the issue of clergy sex abuse has become nothing but window dressing for a larger broadside against the Catholic Church. The appearances by Smeal, Doyle, and Benkert play very well into SNAP's real motive: to promote a radical, "progressive" social agenda in direct opposition to that of the Catholic Church.
The ongoing, relentless broadsides against the Catholic Church at SNAP's annual conferences, which have been repeatedly documented, certainly make it hard for SNAP to argue that it has no vitriol against the Catholic Church and that its mission is merely to provide support for victims.