SNAP asks Catholic publisher to stop selling books by accused priests

A victims’ advocacy group is calling on a major Roman Catholic publishing house to stop selling two books written by priests “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, better known as SNAP, said TAN Books “benefits from those who have abused children”.

“Is it worth spending nearly $12 per item to associate your brand with men known to have committed crimes against children? SNAP asked in a letter dated last Wednesday to the North Carolina-based publisher. “Do you believe you are better arbiters of the facts of the case than the Church officials and secular review boards who heard the details of the abuse?”

TAN Booksaccording to its website, was founded in 1967 and acquired by Saint Benedict Press in 2008.

Chris Cona, vice president of Saint Benedict Press, said in an email that “this is the first time we’ve heard of a complaint from SNAP.”

“If they sent us a letter on February 2, management has yet to see that letter,” Cona continued. “We do not know that the priests in question have been credibly accused. We will investigate this matter immediately.”

TAN Books identifies itself as a “traditional, family-run Catholic publishing company located near Charlotte NC” that has published over 1,000 titles.

“Our products are distributed worldwide,” the company says on its website. “Our uncompromising mission is to help people become saints.”

The two books SNAP focuses on were written by priests who are both deceased but whose books continue to be part of the TAN Books catalog.

One is “My Daily Bread” by Reverend Anthony Paone, a Jesuit priest who had posts in New York, New Jersey and Ohio before his death in 1990.

“He was charged with sexually abusing a minor circa 1953 while serving at Brooklyn Preparatory School,” according to a law firm representing some of Paone’s accusers. “After an investigation, the allegation was found to be credible.”

The company is also selling a “sequel” to Paone’s first book, titled “My daily life“, for $11.95.

The other book is “My Meditation on the Gospelby the Reverend James E. Sullivan, who was based in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens before died in December 2006.

the Brooklyn Diocese identified Sullivan in 2019 as one of more than 100 priests who had been hit with “credible” charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.

TAN Books also sells another of Sullivan’s books, which is called “My Meditations on Saint Pauland sells for $11.95.

SNAP’s request comes amid a wave of school book bans across the United States, led largely by right-wing conservatives who have targeted titles dealing with race or sexuality for children. eliminate.

SNAP executive director Zach Hiner insisted the group was not trying to “cancel” TAN.

“We have no issues with the rest of their offerings,” Hiner said in an email.

But if TAN continues to sell the books in question, “they should just give that money to the survivors,” Hiner said, “and not enrich the orders and dioceses that helped cover up the crimes of these men.”

“I think there’s a clear cut difference between asking a company to stop profiting from abusers and banning books that deal with topics like social and racial injustice,” he said.

Colin L. Johnson