Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Archbishop Wuerl is promoted by Pope; Sex abuse victims respond

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

We're saddened by the Pope's pattern of promoting bishops who ignore or conceal child sex crimes.

Wuerl, like Mahony and Dolan, is one of the most PR-savvy bishops in the world. But he has essentially been just as determined, and even more successful, than his peers in keeping child sex cases quiet.

During his tenure in Pittsburgh, he benefited from some of the nation’s most restrictive and predator-friendly laws which effectively blocked all but a tiny handful of victims from bringing criminal or civil charges against pedophile priests and exposing corrupt church officials.

A single Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling tossed out dozens of civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits, any of which could have exposed stunning deceit, callousness and recklessness in the Pittsburgh diocese.

In 2004, we issued this statement about Wuerl: “While publicly posturing as a "reformer" on this issue, he allows his PR staff to attack the motives of victims and their attorneys, and refuses to publicly name known and suspected abusive clergy. He bought one half hour of prime time local television to run basically a sefl-serving "informercial" about how well his diocese is handling abuse, but refused to allow a victim on the panel. Wuerl has ignored requests to help warn West Virginia families about an abusive priest from Pittsburgh (Fr. Jack Hoehl) who is now practicing in that state as a counselor.”

Some give Wuerl credit for defrocking a predator priest, Anthony Cipolla, in 2002, claiming Wuerl moved more quickly against Cipolla than some of his brother bishops did against child molesting clerics. That’s the wrong yardstick, however.

The Pope continues to reward men just like him: bright but rigid, and seemingly more committed to preserving orthodoxy than protecting children. The Pope can't have it both ways. He can't be taken seriously when he professes to care about children and victims while promoting men who endanger children and hurt victims.

To Catholics and victims hoping for a more compassionate, responsive and responsible church hierarchy, this move is distressing.

(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 10,000 members. 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, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests