An Irish-American victim of child abuse protested outside the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin yesterday afternoon against the Catholic Church, cutting short a family holiday to do so.
Barbara Blaine handed printed statements to passersby according to the Irish Times. She said Catholics should stop giving money to the Catholic church and should donate to charities helping children instead.
Blaine, who lives in Chicago, founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in 1989. It’s the oldest and largest organization of its kind in the U.S., with support groups in 60 cities across the country.
The group says it offers help to “women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, brothers, monks, and others).”
Blaine grew up in Ohio. When she was 13 years old, a 42-year-old local priest, Father Chet Warren, invited her to dinner and afterwards abused her.
"I was part of a group of junior high girls called ‘The Deaconettes’ that helped clean up after mass," she told the Ohio Toledo City paper in a 2004 interview. "One Sunday, Father Warren invited me to stay and have dinner with the priests. It was a special honor.”
After molesting her the priest said she must not tell anyone.
“He said nobody would understand because none of them were as holy and close to Jesus as we were, and somehow, this was blessed by Jesus ... I felt very guilty, ashamed, dirty and embarrassed. He almost didn’t have to warn me because I wasn’t going to tell anyone,” she told the Ohio paper.
Sixteen years passed before Blaine mentioned the abuse to her family.
Speaking to the Irish Times in Dublin, Blaine said abuse “is not just an Irish issue and it is ongoing.”
Blaine has little respect for Pope Benedict's response. “He knew how extensive the sexual abuse was,” she told the Times.