Open letter to victims, witnesses & whistleblowers on eve of JPII sainthood from SNAP

Our hearts ache for each of you who were abused during and after John Paul II's long tenure as Pope. We know these days are difficult, even painful, for many of you, given the awful suffering so many still experience, suffering that is often made worse as the Catholic hierarchy praises wrongdoers instead of punishing them.

Our hearts also ache for all of you who tried to protect children from clergy predators during John Paul II's tenure, yet were met with cold indifference or open hostility.

John Paul II is revered by many across the world, but as you know, during his rule, great harm was committed which endures to this day. At best, he turned a blind eye to clergy sexual crimes and cover-ups. At worst, he perpetuated and approved them. For him to now be given the highest honor in the church rubs even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of thousands of struggling victims and millions of betrayed Catholics and victims. 

For all of you who are upset because of this callous sainthood decision and celebration, we want you to know that you are not alone, that you can heal, and that real justice, prevention and recovery – no matter how depressed or pessimistic you may feel right now – is possible.

While John Paul’s sainthood will soon be history, the courage and strength and perseverance of you and your brothers and sisters in this movement for children's safety is ongoing. That's where our hope lies.

There is no better example of courage and strength and perseverance than the dozens of brave Maciel survivors. Their persistence eventually exposed the world's most notorious predator priest. Survivors across the globe should take note: it's a long, tough battle, but by persisting, we CAN achieve what Maciel's victims have achieved – letting millions learn about child molesting clerics and their corrupt church supervisors. The eventual outcome of their lengthy ordeal proves our contention that for clergy sex abuse victims, justice, prevention and healing ARE possible.  

These men are an inspiring example - among thousands of similar examples - of survivors making life-saving changes. Years ago, all of us were alone, now we're not. Years ago, few of our predators were "outed" now many are. Years ago, few people knew the scope of the abuse and cover-up scandal. Now millions are. Years ago, few people believed that allegedly holy, celibate and trusted clergy were capable of heinous crimes and cover ups. Now millions are.

So we beg you to keep protecting kids by speaking up, exposing wrongdoers, calling police. We beg you to keep healing yourself so that the cycle of violence is broken by and with each one of us. We're extraordinarily grateful for all that you have done and are doing to prevent crimes, expose cover ups and demand justice.

Together, despite the horrific things we have seen and suffered, there are practical, proven steps we can take, and that thousands of victims are taking, to better protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

To each of the hundreds of thousands of clergy sex abuse victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers across the globe, we pledge that for the safety of children we will never give up. Despite horrific pain and continued setbacks, we know you won’t either.


Miguel Hurtado of Spain/U.K. (+44 7787 638245, [email protected])

Nicky Davis of Australia (+39 388 9068750, [email protected])

David D’Bonnable of Austria (+699 125 90464, [email protected])

Barbara Blaine of Chicago (+39 366 1160224, U.S. cell +1 312 399 4747, [email protected])

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis (314 503 0003, [email protected])

David Clohessy of St. Louis (314 566 9790, [email protected])


P.S. Please keep in mind the words of Martin Luther King: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Please stand with us and with innocent children in continuing to bend that arc.

(All signers are clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Showing 6 comments

  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-04-26 12:16:10 -0500
    The first time I read this open letter, I immediately emailed the link to it, to myself, with the following note: this brings tears to my eyes…
    and, i am tired.
    I was so moved by your letter that I couldn’t even post a thank you to you, here, yesterday. Although I am still tired, and haven’t re-read this letter yet, I know that I will.
    Thank you for your steadfast, and ongoing struggle (in this “horrible war”) to end the maddness of ongoing catholic pedophile priests, laity and employees being enabled by the current pope(s) and catholic hierarchy and curia. Thank you for persevering and achieving what must sometimes seem to others, “small victories” , when compared to the scope, scale and number of catholic churches and parishoners in the world where this scandal most assuredly still exists. All my gratitude to you at SNAP and the CCR for offering and giving solace to surviving victims of this catholic scandal and horror. SNAP is most seriously needed which sadly has been proven over and over again, in the 25 years since its existence. Even in light of the current “pomp and circumstance” of endowing sainthood on jpII and j23, you are able to sustain hope for the victims. I am convinced that someday, there will be fruition of your hard and good works. I just wish it would come sooner, rather than later. In spite of the canonizations, I do see progress.
  • Friend E
    commented 2014-04-26 11:26:51 -0500
    TO DATE THERE IS NO REAL TRANSPARANCY! What a paradox! I was taught as a child that murder and suicide are a mortal sin. Here this man will be looked upon as a saint, but the sexual abuse crimes by Catholic clergy and the coverups that have and continue to cause the murder of innocence, devastating psychological truma, suicides, and knowingly the lack of acknowledgement and justice continues to prevent victims from healing. Pope John Paul ll is a Saint? I am afraid to as what is evil?
    I am vary saddened, but can only emphasize the above again “Keep protecting kids by speaking up, exposing wrongdoers, calling police” and FIGHT TO REFORM the SOL.
  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2014-04-26 10:04:13 -0500
    Jesus’ position regarding children: It would be better for one to sleep with the fishes than to harm a child. John Paul, et al’s, position regarding children: Just shut up and take it up the ass! We don’t want to hear about it!
  • James LeBoeuf
    commented 2014-04-25 14:04:16 -0500
    thank you SNAP
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-04-25 12:35:57 -0500
  • SNAP posted about Open letter to victims, witnesses & whistleblowers on eve of JPII sainthood from SNAP on SNAP's Facebook page 2014-04-25 12:35:57 -0500
    Open letter to victims, witnesses & whistleblowers on eve of JPII sainthood from SNAP

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