Archdiocese of Santa Fe Completes Bankruptcy

(For Immediate Release March 22, 20223) 

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has completed its bankruptcy and now, finally, nearly 400 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests and other Archdiocesan employees will receive compensation. Let us be clear: no amount of money makes up for the harm endured by the victims of these crimes. Let us also be clear that for every survivor who came forward, it is likely that there are still many more that did not. Victims continue to require outreach and care, especially those who are still suffering alone and in silence.
Archbishop John Wester recently published an open letter to survivors, saying that he is "ashamed" of what happened in Santa Fe and expressing "profound regret and sorrow" for what these victims endured as children. While we would like to believe the worthy sentiments expressed by the Archbishop, we find that we cannot. What we would need to see to believe is concrete action from Archbishop Wester. He is one of the most powerful clerics in the United States. He owns a bully pulpit wherever he goes, especially when he attends bishops' conventions in the United States and in Rome. He has the ear of the pope. As an Archbishop, he might just rise to Cardinal, where he would be eligible to vote for the next Pope. We ask that he convert what he says is his "shame" into fighting for survivors and that he makes a part of his ministry true support for victims of abusive priests.
What do we need at this point?
1) We are still missing lists of the accused from 15 dioceses and about 100 religious orders in the United States. None of the 150 orders of nuns have published any names. Archbishop Wester can help us get those names into the public eye. He can start with San Francisco, his own hometown, and where he worked as an auxiliary bishop from 1998-2007. The current Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, has steadfastly refused to publish a list. Our own San Francisco list numbered 312 names in September of 2022. Informed by the information from the lawsuits filed in the recently closed California civil window, our cross-referenced San Francisco list now numbers 400. Imagine the true scope of that list if Archbishop Cordileone published the names still hidden in his secret files.
2) Dioceses much wealthier than Santa Fe are now threatening bankruptcy - Oakland and San Diego are two examples. Bankruptcy generally stiff-arms victims and keeps the secrets hidden away. The Archbishop can urge Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, to drop those threats and instead come to the table with open hearts and open files. Bankruptcy almost always wounds victims more deeply, instead of promoting healing.
Only with transparency and radical change can the modern Catholic Church in America be redesigned to be safe for families and a relevant force for good. At the moment, we do not see it as a force for good. We invite the Archbishop to join us and fully take the side of good, fighting against the evil that is clergy sexual abuse.

Contact: Contact: Mary O’Day (602-677-2188 [email protected])  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) 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 more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

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