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Introducing Jennifer Haselberger

Contact: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 212-371-3191, pr@catholicleague.org

NEW YORK, July 25, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Bill Donohue comments on Jennifer Haselberger, the prime source of accusations against St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt:

    The most viciously anti-Catholic group in the nation is the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). On August 1, it will celebrate its 25th anniversary at a Chicago conference. Jennifer Haselberger will be one of its featured speakers. This gives her a chance to reunite with David Clohessy, the anti-Catholic head of SNAP; they were both speakers at a 2003 conference sponsored by Rent-A-Priest (priests who left to marry).

    She grew up Catholic, but quickly turned against the Church. According to her father, "after Jennifer was confirmed...she declared that she'd had enough and was never going to church again." But she did. Indeed, she went to St. Catherine University. That's where she met her mentor, Anne Maloney, known as "an outspoken Catholic feminist." That influence was evident in Haselberger's 2002 article in The American Feminist where she bemoaned the income disparity between men and women. More recently, she claimed that the Archdiocese wasn't paying her enough, even though she was paid more than all the male canon lawyers in the organization.

    In 2004, Haselberger was awarded a Ph.D. and a canon law degree. Her canon law thesis was titled, "Sources of Legitimization of the Rent-A-Priest Movement." She claims she was critical of this group, yet for years this entity flagged a statement by her on its website saying it was "acting in a canonically valid way" by offering the sacraments. When questioned about this, she said, "I have never attempted to have it removed largely because the wisdom of many dioceses has been that we only look bad when trying to take them on." She adds that this "has never been a problem for me." (My italics.) She did not say why it was not a problem for a rogue organization to allegedly misrepresent her work.

    Fact: Dioceses have excommunicated priests who belong to Rent-A-Priest. Moreover, because these priests are in schism, their excommunication is automatic. Maybe she will address this at her upcoming SNAP conference.