Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SNAP responds to new Bay Area Catholic bishop

Statement by David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790)

We’re disappointed that Monsignor Robert McElroy, former diocesan administrator, has been elevated to bishop. Pope Benedict pledges to “do everything possible” to stop future child sex crimes. Yet he promotes men who have been long-time insiders in corrupt dioceses. If the Pope truly wants abuse cover ups to be handled differently, he must reward men who haven’t been involved in abuse cover ups. If he wants corrupt dioceses to reform, he must promote men from other, less-corrupt dioceses.

It’s disturbing that just two months ago, McElroy used the pulpit to defend his boss on abuse. We don’t need another bishop who rushes to judgment, defends the indefensible and curries favor with the church hierarchy. We need a more open-minded, sensitive bishop whose first concern is for vulnerable kids and wounded victims, not the world's most dominant religious figure.

Especially disappointing is that McElroy repeats two long-discredited excuses for the widespread, and widely documented, cover up of clergy sex crimes by bishops. He claims rampant recklessness and deceit by church officials is because of their views on forgiveness and psychology, overlooking the simple fact that abuse is a crime, bishops know this, yet often continue, even now, to keep these crimes hidden, rather than call the police.

In the midst of abuse and cover up charges, clerics should be focused on the sorrowful, not the powerful. Clerics should be urging victims to speak up, not urging journalists to stand down.

This appointment should remind citizens and Catholics that it’s more important than ever to be vigilant, not complacent, about children’s safety in the San Francisco archdiocese.

(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), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259,) Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests