A Call to Action for Cardinal-Elect McElroy of San Diego

(For Immediate Release August 26, 2022) 

In Rome, this weekend, the College of Cardinals will have an ‘ordinary’ consistory where Pope Francis will add 20 new Cardinals. Among them is Cardinal-Designate Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. The election of Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California, who is seen as progressive, is significant versus the Cardinal Elects from around the globe. Francis snubbed the conservative archbishops of San Francisco and Los Angeles by appointing San Diego's first cardinal. McElroy will be the 5th U.S. Cardinal appointed by Pope Francis.

We await a transition in the California Catholic landscape as an outcome of Bishop Robert McElroy's elevation to Cardinal. The new Cardinal has now assumed the authority of the incumbent archbishops of Los Angeles and San Francisco, who have resisted transparency on behalf of sexual abuse victims.

We hope that McElroy will work hard to achieve confidence as he ignored Richard Sipe's suggestions when they related to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and refused Sipe's concerns concerning clerical sexual abuse. In the end, McElroy was inaccurate and Sipe was correct. The number of cases in San Diego is increasing, we expect to see the list of credibly accused increase as well.

The Vatican was given the first of Fr. Tom Doyle's warnings in 1985, but they were disregarded. While in San Francisco, McElroy served as the Vicar General and resided with priests who later emerged were molesting children. He undoubtedly dealt with allegations of sexual abuse by clergy while serving as Vicar General for Archbishop (and subsequently Cardinal) William Levada. Levada was a notorious truth-suppressor who later served as the director of the Vatican institution in charge of looking into abuse.

Given Cardinal-elect McElroy's direct experience, we believe and hope that as a Cardinal, a cleric with the authority to vote for the next Pope, he will use his enhanced power and position to fight for survivors, even if it means revealing earlier secrets that he may have guarded due to his obedience to more powerful bishops and cardinals. He is currently one of the most important voices in the global Catholic church. He should make use of this chance to right some wrongs, even those he caused. The continuous clerical sex abuse and cover-up scandal is the church's primary, ongoing crisis, not too many conservative or non-conservative prelates or too few prelates.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(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)


Showing 4 comments

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    commented 2022-08-26 13:19:18 -0500
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  • Timothy Lennon
    commented 2022-08-26 13:00:56 -0500
    When McElroy was a sub-bishop in San Francisco he was dismissive of survivors and uncaring for their health and well-being. He was an arrogant, elist functionary who was devoid on any positive characteristics. In other words, a perfect apparatchik of the Vatican.
  • Michael McDonnell
    published this page in Official SNAP Media Statements 2022-08-26 12:39:38 -0500

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