Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. bishops' conference, posted a link on his blog this afternoon to a statement from Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League, which suggests the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests may be a "con artist."
The post comes as the victims' advocacy group and its director, David Clohessy, have found support in recent days on the editorial pages of several national papers in light of attempts by attorneys representing priests accused of abuse to obtain 23 years of the group's documents.
Dolan's post came on his "The Gospel in the Digital Age" blog at the New York Archdiocese website. It quotes in full three paragraphs of a statement by Donohue before providing people a link to read the rest.
Donohue's statement, titled "SNAP Unravels," is a long rehash of some of the facts surrounding the attempts by priests' lawyers, which resulted last January in Clohessy's deposition in a case involving a priest accused of abuse in Kansas City, Mo.
After making numerous references to the transcript of that deposition, which was released March 2, Donohue asks: "So is David Clohessy a sincere man driven by the pursuit of justice? Or is he a con artist driven by revenge? It may very well be that the former description aptly explains how he started, while the latter describes what he has become."
Dolan's post, which was published early in the afternoon, has already drawn a number of comments. One commenter said that while she didn't know much about SNAP, she does "know they were one of the first organizations to publicly call for accountability in priest abuse cases."
She continues: "I think it is ugly of the diocese to go after them. And,frankly, I’m wondering why this is posted on my own archdiocese’s blog."
"SNAP is a support group, a referral center for victims. But the church sees SNAP as ringleaders and organizers. They want to bust SNAP the way sweatshops busted labor unions," write the Star-Ledger's editors.
"The church’s new legal assault on SNAP is unconscionable. For decades, pedophile priests created thousands of voiceless victims. SNAP gives those victims a voice -- and now the bishops want to silence that, too."