The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding Election of Cardinal Ratzinger
to Pope Benedict XVI


April 19, 2005

Statement by Mary Grant of Long Beach, CA, SNAP western regional director (626) 419 2930

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is a polarizing figure to many, who seems to prefer combativeness to compromise and compassion. Still, we wish him well.

We're upset that, years ago, he apparently quietly scuttled a Vatican probe into allegations that the prominent founder of the Legion of Christ, Fr. Marciel Macial, sexually abused at least nine boys.

On the other hand, we're encouraged that just a few months ago, that investigation was re-opened.

We desperately hope that, as Pope, Ratzinger thoroughly yet quickly concludes the Macial investigation and publicly announces the results.

We also hope that he will

- promptly discipline complicit bishops, who transfered and shielded serial molesters while shunning wounded victims and ignoring vulnerable families.

Virtually no consequences can deter abusers. but serious consequences can deter their enablers. We hope the new Pope understands and acts on this.

- adopts and enforces a world wide zero tolerance policy.

It's important to remember: while Vatican may set tone, and while buck stops here, no one can effectively supervise 4,900 employees, each whom essentially rules his own kingdom, scattered across the globe.

So preventing abuse and healing victims always has been and always is the responsibility of the bishops.

It's therefore important that he choose bishops who are caring shepherds, not bureaucratic CEOs.

It's also crucial that the new pope follow the words and views of John Paul II who said "there is no place in the priesthood for anyone who would harm the young."

Finally, we believe the new pope should meet soon with an international delegation of survivors chosen by SNAP and similar independent support groups.

For more information:

In Rome:
Phil Saviano of Boston, SNAP Web Master, 39 334 180 7425

In the U.S.:

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President (312) 399 4747 cell
Mark Serrano of Leasburg VA, SNAP Board Member (703) 727 4940 cell
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, SNAP Board Member (626) 419 2930
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP Board Member (414) 429 7259 cell, (414) 963 8617
Terri Light of San Francisco, SNAP Board Member (510) 727-1872
Mark Furnish of Rochester, NY, SNAP Board Member (518) 366-5842


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests