Survivors and supporters hold vigil to shine a light on the abuse crisis

Survivors and supporters hold vigil to shine a light on the abuse crisis

Group says Bishops should include survivors and laity in their discussions

SNAP says Cardinal DiNardo unfit to head USCCB

WHAT

Holding flashlights, survivors and Catholic laity will read the names of over 100 victims who have committed suicide because of the abuse they suffered at the hands of clergy.

They will ask Bishops to include survivors and Catholic laity in discussions about the abuse crisis and what steps should be taken to move forward.

They will question why Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who has been accused multiple times of covering up abuse, still leads the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB)

They will hand out an informational flier about what everyone can do to prevent abuse and to create a safe environment for victims to come forward.

WHEN

Monday, November 12th at 5 PM

WHERE

Outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront,  700 Aliceanna St, Baltimore,MD

WHO

Clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters who belong to a group called SNAP, the Survivors Network  of those Abused by Priests, including a man who is SNAP's MD leader and a woman who is a member of SNAP's board of directors, as well as representatives from Call to Action, a lay Catholic group that works for justice in the church, and another lay Catholic group, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF).

WHY

The US Catholic Bishops are meeting this week, November 12-14, in Baltimore for their annual Fall Conference.

Led by Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, the group will discuss and decide what steps to take to respond to the sexual abuse crisis. The bishops will address such issues as: third party reporting, policies for bishops who have resigned or been removed and other measures. Survivors and the Catholic laity are not part of these discussions. The hierarchs are deciding among themselves what survivors need to find healing and justice without input from those who are most affected by their votes.

The head of the USCCB, Cardinal DiNardo has himself been accused of ignoring allegations against a priest in his Archdiocese. The clergyman, Father Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, was still assigned to a parish when he was arrested in September. According to the report from the Associated Press, the Archdiocese of Houston was told by two different people that Father LaRosa-Lopez had sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers. The male victim reported his abuse in 2017. The family of the female victim alerted the archdiocese in 2001, and she contacted them again in 2010, when she discovered the priest was still in ministry.

We simply do not understand this callous disregard for the safety of children by Cardinal DiNardo and other Houston Church officials. In 2002 the Catholic bishops promised “zero tolerance” for abusers, yet in 2018 a priest with not one, but two, accusations against him was allowed to function as a clergyman. Father LaRosa-Lopez was also the Cardinal’s episcopal vicar for Hispanics.

A  recent report from the National Catholic Reporter also shows that when the Cardinal was the Bishop of Sioux City he would have been aware of a priest who confessed in 1986 that he had molested dozens of children over a twenty year period. This abuse was covered up by Cardinal DiNardo, along with other Sioux City bishops, for almost 30 years. In addition, in 2002 the Cardinal acknowledged mishandling another abuse allegations in the Diocese. In our opinion, this is proof positive that Cardinal DiNardo is unfit for his role as the head of the USCCB .

(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 SNAPnetwork.org

CONTACT : Becky Ianni, SNAP Treasurer, Local DC/VA SNAP leader (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044),  David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland leader (David.Lorenz@verizon.net, 301-906-9161) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Secretary (925-708-6175)


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