The Catholic Charities appeal had been at risk of falling way short of its goal. I believe much of this has to do with people taking their anger about pedophile priests out on this valuable nonsectarian counseling agency. It is important to know that the Catholic Church and the Catholic Charities of Buffalo are two separate entities.
No one would argue that the sexual abuse of children by priests is reprehensible. Everyone involved in this abuse, including the church hierarchy who looked the other way in their effort to maintain the priesthood, should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This issue, however, has nothing to do with the mission of Catholic Charities of Buffalo.
As a social worker, I had the privilege of working for Catholic Charities for almost nine years. During that time, I got to see firsthand the impressive work done by skilled, caring professionals in every department of this agency, helping individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds, from every spectrum of society, for every possible human problem.
Families who are in high levels of stress and find coping with life extremely hard, survivors of domestic violence, children and teens who are in high levels of emotional pain, individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, people who are at risk of becoming homeless.
For 30 years, I referred to this agency often in my role as a school social worker. Catholic Charities was always there to help me help my students, parents and families. Should the Catholic Charities appeal not meet its fundraising goal, programs will be cut. People should not be denied services because of the actions of abusive priests.
I urge readers to please consider this when making a decision about donating to Catholic Charities. So many lives depend on your compassion and financial support.
Chris Snyder, LCSW-R