Archbishop Cordileone Claims to Affirm Victims While Standing in their Way

Yesterday, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, issued a statement that rationalizes his attempt to deny justice to all victims of sexual abuse, not just Catholic survivors. His justification is logically inconsistent at best and outright manipulation of the facts at worst.

In his statement, Archbishop Cordileone "affirms" that victims need compassion and that the San Francisco Archdiocese stands willing to help. Despite those claims, he and his brother bishops in California are spending untold dollars trying to overturn a law debated and passed by California's bipartisan legislature and signed by California's governor. 

The best way for the Archbishop to "help" or "affirm" Catholic victims is to come clean about the scope of abuse in San Francisco. That starts with publishing a list of accused clerics who have worked and spent time in San Francisco, something that nearly 90% of all dioceses in the US have already done. Publishing a list is an important step that validates victims and signals that they will be believed. A list also helps to inform the public about living abusers and whether or not they are being monitored. This is an easy step toward transparency that Catholic officials in the US began taking 17 years ago.

Because abuse prevention starts with openness, we believe that Archbishop Cordileone is, at this current time, simply blowing hot air. If he cared about showing victims compassion, he would have taken this simple step long ago.

AB218 is important legislation that is helping survivors come forward, get the help they need, as well as working toward preventing future cases of abuse. The resulting hundreds, and more likely, thousands of new reports of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and staff in the state of California that will be generated, as well as the exposure of perpetrators in other institutions, will lead to justice for those survivors and protection for today’s vulnerable populations. Each case will reveal a part of the mosaic of abusers and their enablers. In our opinion, when Archbishop Cordileone fights against victims and their quest for justice, he simply confirms his status as an enabler.

CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Treasurer ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(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

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