Contradicting Pope Francis, archbishop fights for secrecy

For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790[email protected])

Less than 48 hours after Pope Francis said “those who have covered up (abuse) are guilty,” the Philadelphia Inquirer has disclosed that Archbishop Charles Chaput is quietly working to keep secrets about a pedophile priest.

Francis made strong promises, including that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer” and “all responsible will be held accountable."

Chaput apparently disagrees.

In a wrongful-death suit in Common Pleas Court,” Chaput's lawyers are trying to block discovery, the Inquirer reports. The case involves “the family of Sean McIlmail - a Willow Grove man who died of a drug overdose in 2013 while struggling to come to terms with his alleged victimization by a priest."

- pointed to the pope's calls for transparency in a motion (filed Monday) arguing against archdiocesan efforts to block discovery in an ongoing wrongful-death suit in Common Pleas Court,” reports the Inquirer.

In 2006, Pope Benedict, discussing the abuse and cover up crisis, said “It is important to establish the truth of what happened.”

Chaput is contracting the expressed desires of two popes by his continued use of parishioners’ donations to keep abuse and cover ups covered up.

We hope Philly Catholics and citizens will pressure Chaput to reverse his hurtful, self-serving legal maneuvers and let the truth surface about clerics who committed and are concealing child sex crimes.

(Attorney Marci Hamilton is one of the McIlmail family's attorneys. )

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is


David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected][email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747[email protected])

Showing 3 comments

  • Iain Pattison
    commented 2015-09-30 16:45:06 -0500
    Good post SNAP.
    I agree with Gloria Sullivan’s comment. I agree with Mike Skiendzielewski’s comment also, especially the part about Chaput being arrogant and smug.
  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2015-09-30 06:43:42 -0500
    It becomes more difficult with each passing day here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to remain civil and respectful in one’s comments regarding the local RCC leadership, their statements, conduct and decision-making, past and present, relative to the abuse, destruction and devastation visited on child and young adult clergy abuse victims. Deliberate and deceitful obfuscation and hypocrisy……..Chaput asks “what more do they want us to do?”

    He’s a learned, mature and educated man and he most assuredly “knows” what must be done to protect our children now and in the future. He also “knows” what must be done in Harrisburg to give past victims a voice, legal access and redress (ALL CHILD VICTIMS here in the Commonwealth of PA, regardless of the venue of the alleged abuse…..public or private, religious or secular, in the home or in the community). It doesn’t work, it doesn’t sell, and it is unconvincing when a man such as Charles Chaput feigns ignorance on what steps needed to be taken to address the protection of ALL of our children.

    He has NO RIGHT to stand in the way of the protection of other children in the Commonwealth of PA even if he wishes to defend his institution, leadership and its finances from legitimate legal action from victims and families that have suffered so terribly. Get out of Harrisburg, get out of Marsico’s office and LET THE PEOPLE have an opportunity to hear what the legislative proposals are about and what they can do for our children. How dare you, your leadership or anyone else, elected in Harrisburg or elsewhere, subvert and/or hijack our system of representative democracy.

    The last several clergy abuse matters under YOUR watch, Archbishop Chaput, are clearly demonstrative of your style of leadership relative to the dangers to children in archdiocesan facilities throughout the region. Very little information re the allegations, risks in place in parishes for extended periods before notification of parents and families, and little if any information (facts, details, outcomes) regarding the disposition of the cases. What more can be done? Such a statement cannot be from ignorance, that we know. I believe it is from arrogance and a smugness that says “how dare the parishioners here in Philadelphia question my conduct, decision-making and actions in these issues?”

    It is always appropriate to end a presentation on a positive note and theme. I want to “thank you” Archbishop Chaput for allowing many, many people in the region and beyond, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to come to know and love the special, unique, faithful, prayerful and compassionate nature of two very remarkable catholic women in this area. You know who they are; if not, then it is your loss that you do not know the depth, sincerity and beauty of their commitment to the Catholic faith. Yes, Archbishop, I am referring to Margie Winters and Andrea Vettori. I have read several of the statements and letters offered in the media by these two genuine Catholic women since the Waldron Mercy issue in the summertime. I just can’t remember reading any finer expressions of one’s Catholic faith, commitment, sensitivity, caring and compassion for those in our community, especially the children. Ms. Vettori’s letter to Pope Francis should be read by every parishioner in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, exemplifying how her faith and love of Our Lord literally fills her life and the work she does.

    Archbishop Chaput, unless you have not noticed yet, you are no longer in Denver. Citizens in the Delaware Valley, Catholic and non-Catholic, will never rest until all of our children are protected in the best way possible from the risks and dangers of sexual predation as well as the highest level of legal access and redress for those who should be victimized by such evil and criminal acts. Quite simply, either join us in these efforts or please, or just get out of the way and stop using PARISHIONERS’ contributions and donations to fight against the protection of ALL the children of the Commonwealth of PA.
  • Gloria Sullivan
    commented 2015-09-29 14:48:04 -0500
    Sexul abuse . of a minor is a CRIME, PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT! W H O IN THE CHURCH doesn’t get this.? Everyone should quit theRCC…until they “get it”

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant