Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Support Remains Strong

The Survivors Network Against Priests, or SNAP, is staying the course, as self appointed judge, jury and executioner. SNAP somehow assumed a delusional sense of authority as they called for George's resignation Saturday after learning that a church-appointed review board made an informal recommendation that the Archdiocese of Chicago remove Rev. Daniel McCormack from St. Agatha Church on the West Side in October, about three months before McCormack's arrest in January on molestation charges.

Unlike SNAP, Cardinal George made a decision based on all of the information he had at the time. He has admitted that everyone involved should have been more aggressive in getting firsthand information and has since taken measures to improve its protocols.

George, who presided over Sunday mass at St. Michael Archangel Church on the South Side, did not address the controversy. Instead, he focused parishioners on the meaning of Lent, and asked for prayers and promised to pray for those in attendance.

After mass, parishioner Rhonda Grayson that SNAP has gone "too far" in calling for George's resignation. "I feel like he's appointed by God and God will sort it out," Grayson said.

Tom Utrata said that although each new abuse allegation feels like a "wound reopening," George stepping down would not solve anything. "Flaws in the system have been discovered and they need to be tightened up," Utrata said. "I feel for the cardinal and for all the priests and the victims."

During a news conference Sunday outside Holy Name Cathedral on the Near North Side, SNAP President Barbara Blaine demanded that George reveal the identities of the nine-member review board. She said victims would feel more comfortable coming forward if they knew that board members were not associates of suspects, she said. "We know Cardinal George is not doing a good job," Blaine said. "We know children are recklessly being put at risk." Tensions erupted into a confrontation between parishioners and SNAP members at the end of the news conference at Holy Name Cathedral.

In my opinion, some of those in authority of SNAP appear motivated by their own activist agenda, and are using victims as mere pawns in their mission to dismantle the Catholic Church.

Chicago Tribune