Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, November 8, 2010

Statement regarding San Francisco Archbishop William Levada

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, [email protected])

Some 200 Catholic Cardinals will gather next week in Rome to discuss the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse crisis. We are very disheartened to hear that former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada will lead that meeting. It’s very disheartening to hear that former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada will lead a meeting of Catholic cardinals in Rome next week about abuse. This is worse than “the blind leading the blind.” It’s the complicit leading the complicit.

Just a few months ago, we asked Pope Benedict to censure or rebuke Levada.

In the spring of 2009, dozens of deaf former students of the Antonio Provolo school in Verona Italy began reporting that 24 priests and lay brothers abused them - sexually and physically - between 1950s to the 1980s. Levada, who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is essentially in charge of abuse for the Vatican. But it took Levada more than a year to even acknowledge the abuse reports from Verona. He did so only after an international media firestorm just a few weeks ago.

In 2005, when Levada was promoted to a top Vatican post, here’s what SNAP Bay Area spokesman Dan McNevin, had to say:

"We're very disappointed that Levada has been chosen. It's an insensitive and unwise decision. Regarding abuse in the San Francisco archdiocese, Levada has been slow to act, harsh to victims, and committed to secrecy.

A therapist who headed his review board quit in protest, essentially saying church investigations of molestation amounted to a PR sham.

He has allowed credibly accused priests to remain in ministry even while facing pending civil molestation lawsuits.

His lawyer has negotiated deals with local district attorneys that help keep abuses cases quiet.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith is among the most important positions within the Vatican hierarchy. It is the policy-enforcing arm of the Pope. It handles the defrocking of abusive clergy.

Specifics about Levada:-- James Jenkins, a psychologist, quit Levada's review panel, calling Levada's actions with regard to clergy sex abuse "shameful.' Jenkins stated that Levada used the panel as an "elaborate public relations scheme' and indicated that the hierarchy of the San Francisco Archdiocese under Levada is in a "state of corruption" and that Levada has created a "culture of silence" around the issue of clergy sexual abuse. Up to 20 priests accused of sexual abuse live in secrecy in the San Francisco Archdiocese. Bishop Levada refuses to reveal their names or locations. SNAP fears they live in neighborhoods among children. (see link) Five weeks ago SNAP revealed that a priest currently named in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit against a youngster remains in ministry in San Francisco. His name is Steve Whelan and he is the Associate Pastor at St. Peter’s & Paul’s church. Levada has ignored calls to suspend him. Last year Levada supported the appointment of San Francisco Attorney Joe Rusionelli to the US Conference of Bishops National Review Board for Clergy Sex Abuse. Rusionelli said in the press that sex abuse survivors can be "deranged, angry, vengeful."

The world’s Catholics deserve better than to have a man like Levada presiding over a meeting like this.

(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