Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Friday, April 9, 2010

Files show future pope resisted defrocking molester priest; SNAP responds

Statement by Joelle Casteix of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434). She’s in Newport Beach, California and is the group’s western regional director.

Our hearts ache for the girls and boys whose childhoods were shattered by Fr. Kiesle, especially those who may have been sexually violated after Vatican officials had a chance to oust him but didn't.

We strongly suspect that there are more damning documents like this proving that Ratzinger sided with predator priests over vulnerable kids. For the safety of kids, healing of victims and good of the church, we hope that these records will keep surfacing. The Bible tells us, "The truth shall set you free," and painful first-hand experience teaches us that only truth will safeguard kids, expose wrong-doers and deter recklessness.

Only the Vatican can defrock priests. Tens of thousands of priests have molested kids. But few of them have been defrocked. So it's obvious that Vatican officials refuse to oust many predator priests. And Ratzinger, for many years, has been a top Vatican official. So it defies common sense to somehow believe he didn't play a role in quietly keeping some child molesting clerics in the priesthood.

We again urge the Pope to voluntarily open the hundreds or thousands of pages of secret church records from the clergy sex crime cases he personally handled in Rome.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)

Despite bishop's scandal warning, files show future pope resisted defrocking molester priest
GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press Writer
April 9, 2010 | 10:21 a.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Church files show that before becoming pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger resisted defrocking a California priest who molested children.

A 1985 letter signed by Ratzinger cited concerns about the effect that removing the priest would have on "the good of the universal church."

The correspondence was obtained exclusively by The Associated Press. It is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican's insistence that Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, played no role in blocking removal of pedophile priests while head of the Catholic Church's doctrinal watchdog office.

The letter is part of years of correspondence between the diocese of Oakland and the Vatican about the proposed defrocking of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle (KEYS'lee).

The Vatican confirmed Ratzinger's signature on the letter but declined comment on its contents.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests