New President to take over USCCB Leadership, SNAP Calls for Action
For immediate release: Tuesday, November 15, 2022
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has chosen its new leader, and now survivors of clergy abuse are calling on him to immediately take steps to address the ongoing scourge of clergy abuse and cover-up.
Following a vote this afternoon, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, U.S. Military Forces, is their new president. Archbishop Broglio leads one of the three archdioceses that hasn't published a list of credibly accused clergy, deacons, nuns, and laity. This sends the message that the transparency promised in the charter is no longer a priority for the church. This new leader succeeds Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, a prelate who did next to nothing during his tenure to address the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. When elected, Gomez took over for Cardinal Daniel Dinardo, a prelate who was actively involved in the cover-up of clergy sex crimes in at least two dioceses, Sioux City and Galveston-Houston. Given the recent history of USCCB leadership, we hope beyond hope that this new president will break from the trend set by his predecessors and actually address this ongoing scourge as opposed to ignoring it.
This year, the USCCB chose to address the issue of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy by once again apologizing while also patting themselves on the back for producing a toothless document in 2002that they believe has solved the sex abuse scandal. Yet ongoing arrests for abuse occurring after 2002 and attorneys general reports belie this claim, and the upcoming release of reports from attorneys general in states like Maryland and Illinois will, we expect, include more examples of abuse occurring after the promulgation of the Dallas Charter.
“I don’t want an apology, prayers, or remorse. None of those three things will protect children.,” said Becky Ianni, SNAP Board Member and volunteer leader in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas. “I want change.”
Specifically, SNAP is calling for Broglio to take three specific actions:
- Pledge to stop using church funds to lobby against legislation that will make children safer. In 2019, the Church spent upwards of $10 million to lobby against legislation that would open up the courts for survivors to file suits that would expose abusers and their enablers, as well as to push back against making clergy-mandated reporters of sexual abuse. This must end.
- Publicly call out those remaining prelates who have refused to release lists of accused priests and set a standard for the current lists that exist. Three Archdioceses – Military Services, Miami, and San Francisco, along with more than a dozen other dioceses have so far refused to release the names of clergy and staffers who have been credibly accused of abuse. We believe that the new president requires each diocese to release these lists immediately, and also insist that dioceses that have already released lists should ensure that there is enough information to make these lists useful by requiring that each list include the full work history, photograph, and details regarding when allegations were first reported for each abuser listed.
- Institute new monitoring protocols for priests, brothers, nuns, deacons, seminarians, and other church staff or volunteers who have been laicized or who left their positions due to allegations of abuse. An earlier investigation by the AP in found that many of the priests who have been accused of abuse within the church and then left the Church have gone on to secure positions in other institutions that would allow them access to children. The new president should immediately invest in a permanent monitoring and tracking system that can help ensure these dangerous men and women do not simply move on to abuse children elsewhere.
“For years, survivors have been pleading with church leaders to do more to address sexual abuse, and for years we have been ignored,” said Dave Lorenz, SNAP Volunteer Leader for Maryland. “Instead of applauding themselves for something they did 20 years ago, church leaders should be trying to build on that work now. They can start by following these three suggestions.”
CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP Board Member (703-801-6044, [email protected]), Dave Lorenz, SNAP Maryland ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Mike McDonnell, Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])