SNAP reacts to the news about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI worsening condition

(For Immediate Release December 28, 2022) 

It is certain that many people will have mixed feelings about the life of Pope Benedict XVI. The expected passing of Benedict is a painful reminder that we're still dealing with the aftereffects of his tenure in Germany as Archbishop. We also can’t forget the twenty years he spent as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under John Paul II before becoming Pope. Sadly, many clergy abuse victims are not out of the woods in terms of healing from their wounds and getting the justice they deserve.  

Survivors of child sexual abuse in Germany were among the most hurt, having been deceived first by Benedict's cover-up of sex crimes and then monumentally betrayed following his election to the papacy. There are no words to adequately express the anguish these survivors and their dear ones faced. We wish to honor the abuse survivors in Germany and everywhere for continuing to speak truth to power against such great odds and in the face of such powerful denial. Despite Benedict’s lack of candor, their truths cannot be denied. 

In our view, Pope Benedict XVI, much like John Paul II, was more concerned about the church’s deteriorating image and financial flow to the hierarchy versus grasping the concept of genuine apologies followed by true amends to victims of abuse. The rot of clergy sexual abuse of children and adults, including their own nuns and seminarians, runs throughout the Catholic church, to every country, and we now have incontrovertible evidence, all the way to the top.

Any celebration that marks the life of abuse enablers like Pope Benedict must end. It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change: tell the truth about known abusive clergy, protect children and adults, and allow justice to those who have been hurt. 

CONTACT:  Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(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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