Roster of Press Releases


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Victims want Cardinal banned from high mass honoring Pope

He praised bishop convicted for concealing sex crimes

But he’s leading event at National Cathedral in DC

Pope and DC archbishop must oust him, group says

SNAP: “Honoring a prelate who unapologetically encourages law-breaking is wrong”

In a media event conducted via teleconference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss letters they’re sending today to Pope Benedict and Washington DC’s Catholic archbishop. The letters urge the two Catholic officials to:
--forbid a controversial Vatican Prelate from leading in a high pontifical mass in DC this weekend, and
--vehemently condemn the Cardinal’s remarks essentially encouraging ongoing cover-ups of clergy sex crime by bishops.

They will also urge the Vatican Prelate to stay home, apologize for his irresponsible behavior, and make amends by urging all bishops to post the names and hometowns of credibly accused child molesting clerics on their websites.

Tuesday, April 20, 1:00 PM ET

To participate in the media event via teleconference, participants from the news media should dial (877) 366 – 7193, and participant code 9897146626. If you experience technical difficulties, please call (571) 223-0042 for further instructions.

Three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a Chicago-based international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (

SNAP is writing Pope Benedict XVI and Washington DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl about a controversial, now-retired former Vatican official, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. Castrillon Hoyos made international headlines when a letter he wrote to a French bishop surfaced last week. In it, he praised a French bishop for not reporting a credibly accused sex offender to police despite being a mandated reporter under French law. The French bishop was convicted of failing to report child sex crimes to secular authorities. On Saturday, Castrillon Hoyos again generated a firestorm when he claimed that Pope John Paul II instructed him to send copies of his letter addressed to the French bishop to bishops worldwide.

On April 24, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in northwest Washington, Castrillon Hoyes will lead a “Solemn Pontifical Mass” at the shrine’s high altar. The mass is considered an historic event since it will be the first of its kind since the Basilica was founded. The shrine is considered “America’s Catholic Church” and is the largest church in North America.{74D49A76-DDDC-41FA-A9B0-591EA5F4D68E}&content_id={BB8D8F85-028F-4817-8FD8-BF73F40AEFF2}&seid=

For years (including 2001, when he wrote the controversial letter to the French bishop), Castrillon Hoyos headed the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Clergy, in charge of priests across the globe.

The French bishop, Pierre Pican of the Bayeux-Lisieux diocese, received a suspended three-month jail sentence after admitting in court that he had kept a known pedophile in a parish. That priest, Fr. René Bissey, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for repeatedly raping a boy and for sexually assaulting 10 other children.

"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Castrillon Hoyos wrote Pican. "You have acted well and I am pleased to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest."

According to church rules and customs, a bishop can prevent any priest or bishop from performing services or doing work in his diocese. SNAP wants Wuerl to exercise this power with Castrillon Hoyos. SNAP is also appealing to the Pope to take action because ;last week the Vatican instructed bishops worldwide to report cases of sex abuse in the church to cicil authorities. SNAP states that the Pope must demonstrate his commitment to this directive by reprimanding Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and cancelling his appearance in Washington.

A Vatican spokesman has indirectly confirmed that Hoyos’ letter was authentic. Castrillon Hoyos confirmed the existence of the letter when he referenced it and Pope John Paul II on Saturday. It was posted last week on a French website.

Five years ago, when he was considered a candidate to become the next Pope, SNAP expressed concerns about Castrillon Hoyos’ views about the crisis and his intervention on behalf of a notorious Arizona predator priest.

Mark Serrano (703) 727-4940, [email protected]
David Clohessy (314) 566-9790, [email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests