The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding Vatican Asking U.S. Sec. of State to Block Lawsuit


Thursday, March 3, 2005

Statement by Mary Grant of Long Beach
SNAP Regional Director (626) 419-2930 cell

For more information:
Mary Grant of Long Beach, SNAP Regional Director (626) 419-2930 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Steven Sanchez of Glendale, SNAP Los Angeles Director (818) 262-6540 cell

There are three key players in this controversy today.

Everyone knows who Condoleezza Rice is.

Everyone knows who Cardinal Roger Mahony is.

Not everyone knows the third party - Cardinal Angelo Sodano of Rome. He is a close, trusted advisor to the Pope, a top veteran church official who serves now as the Vatican Secretary of State.

Last month, Sodano asked Condoleezza Rice to block a class action lawsuit brought by clergy sex abuse victims that includes the Vatican as a defendant.

We know this because of an exclusive story today by the top American journalist in Rome, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

It is now clear that top Vatican officials doing what American bishops often do - trying to use legal technicalities and political connections to evade justice and accountability in sex crimes cases.

We feel that the Vatican effort to thwart this lawsuit is designed to protect bishops' secrets, reputations and assets, not protect innocent children and vulnerable adults.

We strongly urges all Catholic leaders, from Cardinal Sodano on down, to stop trying to interfere with the American judicial system and obstruct clergy sex abuse victims who feel compelled to seek justice and healing in court.

We strongly urge Cardinal Mahony, as the top church prelate in America, to publicly speak out against this move. He heads the largest archdiocese in America. He is percieved by many to be the unquestioned leader of America's bishops. He must take a stand.

In truth, there is virtually no difference between what Cardinal Sodano in Rome is trying and what Cardinal Mahony in Los Angeles is trying. Both are using every conceivable roadblock to keep victims from getting the closure, healing and justice they need and deserve. Both fear the American justice system and American juries. Above all else, both obviously fear more hidden truths surfacing, truths about how bishops covered up the rape of children.

It seems and feels worse, however, when these efforts to obstruct closure, healing and justice go to the very top of the Vatican and the very top of the American government. Mahony must speak out against this.

Despite years of horrific sex crimes against children and cover ups of those crimes by bishops, we in SNAP feel that little has changed in the American church hierarchy. And apparently nothing has changed in the Vatican church hierarchy.

Therefore, we welcome more aggressive and innovative strategies to try and prod church officials toward real reform and to protect children who are still at risk.



Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests