May 16, 2005

SNAP fliers anger church goers

Commercial Appeal

By James Dowd
May 16, 2005

Tennessee leaders of a national group critical of the Catholic Church's handling of sex abuse allegations want the Memphis diocese to step up its efforts to prosecute pedophile priests.

Members of Church of the Ascension in Raleigh want to be left alone.

Both sides squared off Sunday following a 10 a.m. mass as parishioners leaving the church discovered every car in the parking lot had been leafleted by members of SNAP (Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests).

The fliers criticized diocesan policies regarding priests accused of sexual misconduct.

The activist organization targeted Ascension because three priests accused of sexual abuse had been assigned to the church previously.

The group's action angered many parishioners.

"This is our place of worship and they have no right to be here doing this," said Becky DeGroff. "I wish they would just go away. I'm sick of this."

SNAP members are upset by a diocesan decision in February to return Father Richard Mickey to the ministry. Mickey was serving as pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Jackson, Tenn., when he was placed on administrative leave in August following a civil lawsuit that claimed the priest molested twin brothers in 1980.

Posted by kshaw at May 16, 2005 07:21 AM