Third Accusation against Houston Priest Shows DiNardo is Unfit to Lead
These new allegations against Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez show how important it is that church officials are open and honest with the public when a priest is accused. Often, survivors who may be suffering in silence will be compelled to come forward when they see or hear reports that their abuser has been accused by someone else. This transparency is critical for the healing of survivors.
Unfortunately, in this case, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and other church officials in his archdiocese have been anything but transparent. Despite claiming in an op-ed last month that “the only way to resolve the abuse crisis and restore trust with the faithful is to address any and all accusations of abuse squarely and transparently,” the LaRosa-Lopez case shows that Cardinal DiNardo has been minimizing this case for years. The Cardinal had access to the same files that have since been seized in a raid by Texas law enforcement officials. If he cared about the fact that an alleged abuser was serving a parish less than 50 miles from his Archdiocesan headquarters, he could have turned the allegations over to police. Instead, he did nothing.
Such inaction is inexcusable, especially for the prelate who is the leader of all American bishops. Cardinal DiNardo is unfit to lead the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and should be removed.
Bishops throughout Texas have pledged to be more transparent and to release lists of accused priests by the end of January. However, we can have little confidence in these lists and expect that there will be underreporting and minimizing in Texas just like AG Lisa Madigan uncovered in Illinois this week. Instead, we are looking forward to the results of the investigation from Texas law enforcement officials. That will be the transparency we can trust.
(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)