TX-- Victims want Houston’s Cardinal to do more on abuse

For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 17

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

Statement by Amy Smith, SNAP Dallas Director (281 748 4050[email protected])

Houston’s top Catholic official says that some of his colleagues around the world apparently minimize the problem of predator priests and believe it’s “not a universal problem,” according to an interview he gave to a Catholic news source.


When it comes to sexual abuse, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said “There is still some lingering sentiment that this is fundamentally maybe an Anglo-Saxon problem, a problem in developed countries. That’s not true. It’s everywhere,” he said.

We find this hard to believe. It’s very hard to imagine that well-educated men would believe that somehow clergy sex crimes and cover ups are somehow restricted to one region, culture or socio-economic class.

In our experience, very few church officials handle clergy sex crimes and cover ups well. Bishops in the developed world, however, have made minimal progress but only because they’ve been forced to act due to civil lawsuits, journalistic investigations, educated laity and well-funded, sophisticated law enforcement agencies. Sadly, these factors are less prevalent in the developing world.

In the developing world, there tend to be closer ties between government and religion and a wider power and education gap between clerics and lay people. These are problematic factors too.

So bishops in those regions tend to be even less responsive and forthcoming about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Put more bluntly, they tend to conceal clergy sex crimes more because they know they can get by with it more.

DiNardo should urge Pope Francis to clearly inform these sadly misguided so-called “princes of the church” that adults who commit and conceal sexual violence are found everywhere. And DiNardo should do his part, as a high ranking church official, to educate his brother bishops across the globe about the world-wide nature of this crisis in his church.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790[email protected], Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, [email protected], Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, [email protected]


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