Transparency and openness: Only for some?


David Clohessy, the director of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a longtime critic of the Catholic Church who frequently lectures church leaders on the need for transparency with regard to priests accused of abuse.

Click here to read more about this storyRecently, SNAP announced it would defy a court order compelling the organization to turn over its own documents. In an attempt to justify their refusal to comply with the court order, Clohessy suggested that there are “two standards of transparency” one for the Catholic Church and one for SNAP.

The court order was issued after defense lawyers for the Diocese of Missouri raised their concern that the accuser’s attorney may have violated a gag order by supplying information and documents about a case to Mr. Clohessy and SNAP. Clohessy and SNAP have long criticized the church with the mantra of “reckless secrecy” and the need for greater transparency. This criticism has been justified in many cases of priestly sexual abuse over the years.

The Catholic Church including the Diocese of Providence continues to properly and openly respond to the calls of openness and fairness with regard to accused priests. However, no matter the amount of transparency and openness offered by the church has not and seemingly can ever appease Mr. Clohessy. The refusal by Clohessy and SNAP to deal openly and transparently with this recent case is clearly a double standard and in fact, reeks heavily of hypocrisy. In considering the court order to produce material and the call to be open and transparent Mr. Clohessy might do well to consider the old adage, “what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.”