Members of SNAP present a request to Tulsa's Catholic Diocese


Friday, February 24th 2006, 10:17 am
By: News On 6


A protest at Tulsa's Catholic Diocese office erupts in a heated confrontation. News on 6 anchor Terry Hood tells us both sides want the same goal, but disagree on how to get there.

They're called SNAP - or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Mary Grant was abused when she was 13, and she heads SNAP's California office. "Bishops promises and policies on papers don't protect kids. Real action is what protects kids."

She's with Kelly Kirk, who says he was abused by a Tulsa priest in the 1970s. Together, they're taking a letter addressed to Bishop Edward Slattery to Tulsa's Chancery office.

Bishop Slattery was recently named to serve on a national sex abuse committee, and SNAP is asking him to reach out to other potential victims. They want Slattery to publish the names of priests accused of sexual abuse, and visit each parish where a molester worked.

The diocese's Chancellor - Henry Harder - accepted the letter, and Grant's critique of Slattery's job performance.

Mary Grant: "These types of things are very hurtful, they don't help people heal."
Henry Harder: "I can't argue with that. I think SNAP, and the church, and especially Bishop Slattery, have the same objective in mind. They want to help children and young people, I think they might differ in what would be the best method to achieve that objective, but reasonable persons can have reasonable differences.”

Chancellor Harder told the SNAP representatives, Slattery has held three "healing masses" at local congregations with a history of abuse, and the diocese always reports allegations of abuse to the police.

Bishop Slattery was out of town at a ceremony in Shawnee Friday, but he told the News on 6, over the phone he admires SNAP's persistence in keeping the important issue of sex abuse in the clergy alive. He says as far as identifying every priest accused of abuse, he says he could be convinced either way. He sees how the list could be helpful, but he's afraid false allegations could damage good priest's credibility and reputations.