SNAP and ECA Call for Reform as Bishops Gather Outside Chicago

As Americans bishops gather in Illinois, survivors demand Pope remove two US Cardinals from prominent roles in papal summit

Findings in explosive Illinois AG report “disqualifies” Chicago Cardinal Cupich from major appointment

Cardinal DiNardo of Texas also “unfit to lead” US delegation in Rome, survivors say

Summit will have “no credibility” if led by prelates who cover-up child sex crimes

Francis must include global survivor groups in summit


At a sidewalk news conference, the leading global and US organizations representing clergy abuse survivors will 

  • Release a joint letter sent today by the two organizations to Pope Francis urging him to remove Cardinal Blase Cupich from his prominent role in the upcoming February worldwide Papal Summit on Abuse 
  • Insist that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops step down as leader of the US delegation to Rome
  • Demand the release before the end of the bishops retreat this week of all sexual abuse allegations held in secret by every US bishop, including those of over 500 predator clergy in Illinois discovered by the Illinois AG
  • Urge Francis to include the leadership of global survivor groups in the summit


Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 1 pm


Outside the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Chicago, located at 835 N. Rush St


The Executive Director of SNAP, the nation’s oldest and largest support and advocacy group for victims of clergy abuse, the US spokesperson for ECA, Ending Clergy Abuse, a global justice project of prominent survivor organizational leaders and activists from around the world, as well as several other survivors of institutional sexual abuse.


As the US bishops begin a week-long retreat at Mundelein Seminary at the direction of Pope Francis, clergy abuse survivors from the US and around the globe are calling upon him to remove Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich from his prominent role in the upcoming worldwide Papal Abuse Summit next month in Rome.  The Pope appointed Cardinal Cupich as one of two Cardinals to plan and lead the summit. 

Survivors also want Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston to be replaced as the leader of the US delegation for the summit. The Pope has ordered the President of every nation’s bishops to attend.  Cardinal DiNardo is the President of the US Bishops.  

Both Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal DiNardo have been directly implicated in concealing child sex crimes by clerics in current law enforcement investigations.   

The call to Pope Francis comes in an open letter sent to the Pope by Ending Clergy Abuse, a worldwide organization of prominent global survivors and activists, and SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.  

Pope Francis announced his summit in response to last year’s unprecedented global avalanche of revelations, governmental inquiries, and criminal justice investigations into clerical abuse, including those in more than a dozen US States.  The US Department of Justice is also investigating.  

A scathing preliminary report issued two weeks ago by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan revealed that at least 500 clerical predators were not reported by Cardinal Cupich and his fellow Illinois bishops.  The Cardinal is also Chair of the Illinois Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Cardinal Archbishop of the Chicago Archdiocese.  The number represents three quarters of all priests known by church officials to have allegedly committed crimes against children.  

The pattern of concealment in Illinois appears to be even more extensive than the explosive findings this summer from a two-year Pennsylvania Grand Jury probe.  The Pennsylvania Grand Jury concluded that the bishops of that state operated a decades long, sophisticated, and widespread cover-up involving at least 300 clerics.  The report also concluded that this cover up went all the way to the Vatican.    

SNAP and ECA is calling on Pope Francis to, among other steps, compel Cardinal Cupich and the other bishops from the Illinois Dioceses to immediately inform the public about the 500 additional names that have been kept secret, including the number of allegations made against each cleric, the date the diocese first learned of the allegation, and what their official response to the allegation was.

Country wide criminal justice investigations from around the world – including in Chile, Europe, Australia, the US and elsewhere – have demonstrably shown, as the Illinois Attorney General of Illinois and other officials have concluded, the hierarchy and clerics cannot police themselves in matters of criminal abuse against children and cannot solve this crisis on their own.  That is why, the groups stress to Pope Francis, it is imperative that if the summit in Rome is to have any credibility, it cannot be led by Cardinals and bishops that have covered up child sex crimes.  It must include representatives of global survivor groups and their leadership if it has even a reasonable chance to craft true and meaningful action and reform.

CONTACT: Peter Isely, US Spokesperson for ECA Global ([email protected], 414-429-7259) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide leadership organization of survivors of clergy abuse and human rights activists. ECA assembly members represent over 21 countries and 5 continents. – @ENDCLERGYABUSE [email protected]

(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

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  • Isabel Sinton
    commented 2019-01-03 10:43:45 -0600
    The pope’s standard response as he did to the Cardinal Theodore McCarrrick revelations, was "to be very quiet’. This is not the voice of God speaking. This is a quote from Bugs Bunny’s friend Elmer Fudd. " Be vewwy, vewwy quiet. We are hunting wabbits" Turn off the cartoons, Pope Frank, and be the leader you are supposed to be !

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