SNAP reacts to the news about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI worsening condition

(For Immediate Release December 28, 2022) 

It is certain that many people will have mixed feelings about the life of Pope Benedict XVI. The expected passing of Benedict is a painful reminder that we’re still dealing with the aftereffects of his tenure in Germany as Archbishop. We also can’t forget the twenty years he spent as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under John Paul II before becoming Pope. Sadly, many clergy abuse victims are not out of the woods in terms of healing from their wounds and getting the justice they deserve.  

Survivors of child sexual abuse in Germany were among the most hurt, having been deceived first by Benedict’s cover-up of sex crimes and then monumentally betrayed following his election to the papacy. There are no words to adequately express the anguish these survivors and their dear ones faced. We wish to honor the abuse survivors in Germany and everywhere for continuing to speak truth to power against such great odds and in the face of such powerful denial. Despite Benedict’s lack of candor, their truths cannot be denied. 

In our view, Pope Benedict XVI, much like John Paul II, was more concerned about the church’s deteriorating image and financial flow to the hierarchy versus grasping the concept of genuine apologies followed by true amends to victims of abuse. The rot of clergy sexual abuse of children and adults, including their own nuns and seminarians, runs throughout the Catholic church, to every country, and we now have incontrovertible evidence, all the way to the top.

Any celebration that marks the life of abuse enablers like Pope Benedict must end. It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change: tell the truth about known abusive clergy, protect children and adults, and allow justice to those who have been hurt. 

CONTACT:  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications (mmcdonnell@snapnetwork.org267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (sdougherty@snapnetwork.org814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is



Memories Can’t Be Buried


Memories Can’t Be Buried

August 31, 2020 Posted by Tim LennonSurvivor SupportNo Comments

Horrific memories, nightmares, and other forms of PTSD burden survivors of sexual abuse. Memories of violent sexual abuse become too painful to endure. The natural response of those overwhelmed by horrific memories is to bury the memories, cover them up, ignore them, push them away. Many try to flood the memories in drugs and alcohol to dampen the pain and anguish. These approaches attempt to keep out the harmful memories, but they can’t be buried.  

While we may not consciously remember the sexual abuse, the emotional memories are present—always. This gives rise to other emotional effects such as depression, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, etc. Sometimes we are not aware of the impact of the unconscious memories. Sometimes we cannot get the emotional baggage out of our conscious, day to day, activities. Sometimes these memories can attack us in terrifying nightmares.

CHILDUSA points out that memories of violent sexual remain buried until the average age of 52! This delayed emergence of memory is especially true of those sexually attacked as children. My view is that memories of our abuse surface when we have the strength of character to face them. In my case, the most violent and horrific memories did not surface until I was 63. 

I believe that the best path forward is to acknowledge the memory, incorporate them as part of who we are as a full person. It is an incredibly difficult process but a process that will eliminate the imprisonment of memories that controls our lives. It can be liberating.

Several elements ensure the success of the integration of harmful memories. It is a challenging journey, and gathering support is necessary. The first is to embrace those closest to you and seek their support, such as family or close friends. The second is to engage with a therapist who specializes in sexual trauma. The third is to participate in a support group through SNAP, a local rape crisis center, or find an agency of support. 

I had great success with using the therapy practice of EMDR. (Wikipedia definition) It requires courage and strength. The benefit is that you bring include all your memories to become your true self, the good and bad.

I do not say that the burdens of PTSD and depression won’t disappear. But it does give us hope and the ability to thrive.

No longer will memories control our future. 


About Tim Lennon

President, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, survivor, advocate, activist, volunteer, twin daughters, power yoga @SNAPnetwork #MeToo #ChurchToo