Another Legion of Christ sex scandal, SNAP responds
Our hearts go out to this woman and her child, and to everyone who has been hurt by the reckless, callous, secretive and cult-like Legion of Christ. We know that there are many other cases like this, in which a powerful priest has manipulated a vulnerable parishioner. (see Fr. Henry Willenborg on BishopAccountability.org)
We also suspect that neither Fr. Williams nor the Legion have adequately taken care of this woman or the child, as is so often the case when clerics father children. Such secrecy and insensitivity is hurtful to everyone involved.
Genuine sexual consent between a parishioner and a priest is extremely unlikely if not impossible. Catholics are taught, essentially from birth, that priests are God's representatives on earth, able to forgive sins and turn bread into Christ's body and wine into Christ's blood.
This kind of experience is almost always harmful to the women who are exploited by powerful, popular, charismatic and well educated clerics.
We call on Vatican and Legion officials to publicly discipline Fr. Williams. (He claims he's taking a year off to "reflect" on what he's done.) As long as priests who engage in sexual misdeeds get to determine their own consequences for their misconduct, little will change in the church and vulnerable adults will remain vulnerable.
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (email@example.com, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More