KY- Controversial cardinal to speak at event

For immediate release: Friday, March 14, 2014 

For more information: David Clohessy (314-566-9790,  [email protected]) 

Controversial cardinal to speak at event

He's accused of covering up child sex crimes

Victims feel his visit to KY "sends the wrong message"

"It encourages future cover ups & hurts victims," they say

SNAP to Lexington diocese: “Tell your complicit prelate to stay home

A controversial church official will address a Catholic event in Kentucky later this month and a support group for clergy sex abuse victims wants him to be disinvited.

On Saturday, March 22, retired Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Rigali is to be a featured speaker at the Catholic Men Servant Leaders annual conference in Lexington.

Rigali headed the Philadelphia archdiocese when prosecutors there released a lengthy grand jury report that harshly criticized the church hierarchy's role in concealing clergy sex crimes.

In 2011, the New York Times reported that a “cloud hangs over Cardinal Rigali’s legacy — his mishandling of the abuse scandal,” noting that “the scope of crimes committed by priests — including rape, as described graphically by a grand jury in February — had shocked many because it had all been described before, by another grand jury in 2005.”

At one point, “Cardinal Rigali said there were no priests in active ministry who had been accused of abuse,” but a month later, “he reversed field and suspended 21 of them in one day, prompting criticism that he should have alerted prosecutors sooner,” the Times said.

Because of that, leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests want Lexington Catholic officials to oust Rigali from the upcoming event.

“Welcoming and honoring Rigali sends precisely the wrong message and hurts already suffering victims and betrayed Catholics,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director of SNAP. “It encourages future cover ups by saying ‘no matter how much you endanger children you can still be rewarded.”

“It rubs salt into already deep wounds by having this disgraced cardinal speak at a conference at a high school that’s meant ‘to help men grow in holiness and to live their faith in their marriages, families, workplaces, communities, and parishes,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP.

SNAP also criticized Rigali for quietly suspended two credibly accused predator priests in 2011, but refusing to name them.

Earlier, he headed the St. Louis archdiocese. There, Rigali helped an accused predator priest (Fr. Alex Anderson) sue one of his victims. (Later, church officials paid that victim a $22,5000 settlement.)

“Rigali also welcomed dozens of out-of-state predator priests to quietly move into our archdiocese and live at church facilities without notifying or warning citizens or Catholics,” said Barbara Dorris.

The event will be at Lexington Catholic High School (2250 Clays Mill Road in Lexington)

Here is the exact wording and website link for the conference page: 

Cardinal Rigali has had an impressive journey since he was ordained a priest in Los Angeles in 1961.  He obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1964 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and completed the course of studies at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy while working in the English-language section of the Secretariat of State in the Vatican.  Subsequently he was assigned to the Apostolic Nunciature in Madagascar.  Before returning to the United States, the Cardinal served the Holy See for thirty years.  During his time in Rome he held various positions, working closely with Pope Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II.  In 1985 he was named President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and Titular Archbishop of Bolsena.  Pope John Paul II ordained him to the episcopacy on September 14, 1985.  In 1989 he became the Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops and in 1990 was named Secretary of the College of Cardinals.  In 1994 Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of St. Louis. In 2003 he became Archbishop of Philadelphia and was named a Cardinal.  On September 8, 2011 he became Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia.  He currently makes his home in Knoxville, and although retired he remains involved in the life of the universal Church through various pastoral and consultative activities.  

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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  

Contact: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,[email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home,314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])


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