Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse Harbored by Group in Michigan, SNAP Reacts
A catholic group operating out of Michigan has been termed a “rapid response” team for priests that have admitted or been accused of sexually abusing others. Making matters worse, the group is funded by the same clerics who pledge honesty and transparency in cases of clerical sexual abuse. This troubling situation should be confronted by parishioners and the public.
Opus Bono Sacerdotii has been providing funds and secret shelter for accused priests for at least twenty years, arguing that the sexual abuse scandal is overblown and created by the media. The thousands of survivors who have come forward since Opus Bono’s founding in 2002 show that their founding principle is inaccurate. And the fact that Opus Bono have been unwavering in support of convicted serial predators like Jason Sigler or admitted abusers like Robert Kealy show that their ministry is misguided and dangerous.
If Opus Bono were proud of their mission and ministry, they wouldn’t have operated in nondescript, unmarked buildings and lied about the nature of their work to city officials in which they operated.
We are especially concerned that high level church officials like Cardinal Edward O’Brien have been contributors to Opus Bono’s mission. With all the promises that church officials have made to be transparent in cases of clergy abuse and to support zero tolerance, it is unconscionable that some of those same officials are secretly funding an organization that fundamentally aims to undermine zero tolerance and to keep Catholics and citizens in the dark about the facts surrounding cases of clergy abuse.
We are grateful for the internal whistleblower from Opus Bono and for the work done by the attorney general’s office in Michigan to bring to light the activities of this group.
We hope that Catholics will ask the officials in their own dioceses whether they have supported Opus Bono in the past and will call on those same officials to denounce the organization’s tactics. It is one thing to privately show support for accused clerics, but it is quite another to employ admitted abusers and misuse donations and redirect funds in order to keep potentially dangerous men hidden within communities with families.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)