Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vatican refuses to admit complicity in concealing predator's crimes

By David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director, 314 566 9790

We’re disappointed that the Vatican refuses to admit its own complicity in concealing Maciel’s crimes, which have been well-documented for more than 12 years. Just like a desperate politician at election time, Vatican officials are ‘talking tough’ about a child molester because it’s safe and popular. But the church hierarchy is again pretending that somehow it too was duped by Maciel, when in fact, it helped hide Maciel’s child sex abuse for years. In fact, almost 20 years ago, a number of his victims – very devout and accomplished men – reported Maciel’s child sex abuse to several high ranking church officials, through the ‘proper’ church channels. One of those who knew of their credible allegations was then-Cardinal Ratzinger.

The Vatican’s lengthy cover-up and foot-dragging, and now its disingenuous denunciation of Maciel, is every bit as ‘immoral’ as the horrific child sex crimes by Maciel himself.

(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 globe. 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

Contacts: David Clohessy 314 566 9790,
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747
Peter Isely, 414 429 7259
Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003

Pope names envoy, commission to reform Legionaries

By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican denounced the "immoral" double life led by the late founder of the Legionaries of Christ on Saturday and said a papal envoy and special commission would be named to overhaul the conservative order following revelations its founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least one child.

In a statement, the Vatican excoriated the Rev. Marciel Maciel for creating a "system of power" built on silence and obedience that enabled him to lead a double life "devoid of scruples and authentic religious sentiment" and allowed him to abuse young boys for decades unchecked.

"By pushing away and casting doubt upon all those who questioned his behavior, and the false belief that he wasn't doing harm to the good of the Legion, he created around him a defense mechanism that made him unassailable for a long period, making it difficult to know his true life," the Vatican said.

The Vatican assured the Legion's current members that it would help them "purify" what good remains in the order and would not be left alone as they undergo the "profound revision" necessary to carry on.

The Vatican issued the statement after Pope Benedict XVI met with five bishops who investigated the Legion for the past eight months, met with over 1,000 members around the world to determine its future after its founder was so thoroughly discredited.

The pope's response is being closely watched because the Vatican is facing mounting pressure to aggressively confront abuse and provide pastoral care to victims. The Maciel case has long been seen as emblematic of Vatican inaction on abuse complaints, since Maciel's victims had tried in the 1990s to bring a canonical trial against Maciel but were shut down by his supporters at the Vatican.

In the end, it was only in 2006 — a year into Pope Benedict XVI's papacy — that the Vatican ordered Maciel to lead a "reserved life of penance and prayer," making him a priest in name only.

The Vatican statement was remarkable in its tough denunciation of Maciel's crimes and deception. It said the system of power, obedience and silence he created had kept "a large part" of the Legionaries in the dark about his double life. That raised questions about what would become of the current Legionaries leadership since many have questioned how they couldn't have known of Maciel's misdeeds.

The Vatican ordered an investigation in 2009 after the Legionaries acknowledged that Maciel, who died in 2008 at age 87, had fathered a daughter who is now in her 20s and lives in Spain. But it was only in March of this year that the Legionaries acknowledged that Maciel had also sexually abused seminarians and that two men are claiming to be his sons.

The late Pope John Paul II had long championed the Legionaries for their orthodoxy and ability to bring in vocations and money.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests