August 10, 2018

Global clergy abuse survivors and activists to Dublin archbishop: ask Pope to remove three cardinals linked to cover-up of clergy sex abuse from the WMOF.

ECA joins public demands that these Cardinals be investigated, not honored

Irish survivors deserve more respect from Papal visit, organization says

Organization appreciates Martin’s efforts to get clergy abuse on the Papal agenda

See: Open letter to Archbishop Martin available in:

Prominent clergy abuse survivors and human rights activists are delivering an open letter to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin today from a global organization focused on holding the Vatican accountable for ending clergy abuse. The activists are urging Martin to ask the Pope to take three decisive actions, including removing from the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) three cardinals facing serious questions about protecting brother bishops who have committed sexual abuse. The cardinals should be investigated, not honored, group says.

“We are astonished given the Pope’s recent vow to change the church’s culture of abuse and cover-up that these cardinals have not already voluntarily stepped down from their roles at the WMOF,” said Peter Isely, a founding member and spokesperson for the new group. “Their prominence at the conference disrespects the suffering of Irish survivors”.

The group is asking Martin to intensify his public efforts to make the clergy sexual abuse crisis a central focus in the upcoming Papal visit to his country.

The letter to Martin is being sponsored by the new international organization, Ending Clergy Abuse ( ECA is a global team of survivor leaders and activists that began with the vision and conception of internationally recognized survivor and activist Barbara Blaine. Blaine died before the first assembly of members gathered in Geneva in June to launch the organization (representing 15 countries from 4 continents).

The group urges Martin to request three actions by the Pope before his visit to Ireland. The Pope should:

  1. Order that three cardinals facing serious questions and public outcry about protecting brother bishops who have committed sexual abuse be removed from their prominent speaking roles at the WMOF. They should be investigated instead. The three are Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga of Honduras and Cardinals Kevin Farrell and Donald Wuerl of the United States (see below).
  2. Acknowledge and meet publicly with survivor leaders of Ireland during his visit.
  3. Announce that the next WMOF will be dedicated to the impact and prevention of sexual violence, particularly clergy sexual violence, on families.

In the letter, ECA emphasizes the importance of Francis demonstrating that he will not tolerate anything or anyone connected to his trip that dismisses, silences, or undermines the Irish survivors’ experience of trauma and their ongoing struggle for justice. This is particularly important because the Pope is coming to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF), which focuses on the importance of the family as the cornerstone of life, society and the church.

“No single force has devastated Catholic family life more than the rape and sexual assault of Catholic children worldwide by priests and the cover-up of those crimes by the Vatican and members of the hierarchy”, said Isely.
Concerning the three cardinals, the organization writes in their letter to Martin, “Any bishop who covers up for another bishop should not be trusted to safeguard Catholic families, much less preach to the world about the sacred and intrinsic dignity and meaning of family life”.

Concerning its request that the Pope meet with survivor leaders in Ireland, the group writes, “Private meetings with anonymous survivors are always welcome if conducted properly but they are no substitute for a public dialogue with survivor leaders from around the globe”.

In regards to their third recommendation, that the next WMOF be devoted to clergy sex abuse, the group writes, “Sexual violence is an epidemic in the modern world. The church cannot claim to address it unless it addresses the sexual violence that has been and is being perpetrated within its own global structural mechanisms. Such an honest and difficult conversation is perfectly placed in the next WMOF”.

ECA representatives from Germany, Belgium, United States and United Kingdom will travel to Ireland from Tuesday, August 21st until Monday, August 27th to join Irish survivors to compel action from the Catholic hierarchy to respond globally to this global problem.

ECA will be: (1) sharing a message from survivors around the world about the impact of clergy sexual abuse on families, (2) discussing the responsibility of the Pope, diplomats, and the current Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for stopping the global abuse crisis, (3) demanding action from the Catholic hierarchy, and (4) responding as a global unified voice to the different activities around the WMOF and the Pope’s visit to Ireland.

ECA assembly members have traveled to 15 nations to address the clergy abuse crisis and recently gathered with officials of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations and with the Committee of the Rights of the Child to explore joint efforts of the international community.


Peter Isely
ECA Founding Member, United States survivor.


Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide organization of survivors and human rights activists who compel the Roman Catholic Church to end clergy abuse, especially child sexual abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims. ECA assembly members represent 15 countries and 4 continents. – @ENDCLERGYABUSE –



In July, Cardinal Maradiaga’s close associate and auxiliary bishop in Honduras, Bishop Juan Jose Pineda, was removed because of sexually abusing seminarians. According to reports, Pineda’s behavior was long standing and well known by church officials, including Maradiaga. Maradiaga is also facing allegations of financial misconduct.

In the U.S., former cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick recently was removed from ministry and the College of Cardinals. He has been accused of sexually abusing at least two minors and sexually harassing and abusing seminarians and young priests. The revelations have led to calls by prominent Catholics for an independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of seminarians, including McCarrick’s alleged crimes and the network of church officials who covered up his wrongdoing.

As associates of McCarrick, Cardinals Farrell and Wuerl are facing valid questions about what they knew of McCarrick’s misconduct. Although McCarrick’s alleged assaults of children were made public only recently, his predatory behavior toward seminarians was an open secret in the American Catholic church; it was publicly discussed and documented online for years. In 2005 and 2007, New Jersey dioceses paid two settlements to his adult victims. [See this useful timeline.] Farrell and Wuerl both deny having known of McCarrick’s wrongdoing, but their assertions are being challenged by Catholic commentators and experts (see articles 1, 2 and 3).

Kevin Farrell was McCarrick’s vicar general in the Washington DC archdiocese, and reportedly his protégé. According to a columnist for the National Review, a conservative U.S.-based publication, “Farrell shared an apartment with McCarrick for six years, years in which settlements were being paid out in New Jersey for McCarrick’s misdeeds.” Farrell says it is not true that he and McCarrick lived together.

Cardinal Wuerl succeeded McCarrick as archbishop of Washington D.C. in 2006, around the time New Jersey dioceses were settling with McCarrick’s victims. On a separate but equally serious matter: As bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, when thousands of U.S. victims were reporting their abuse to dioceses, Wuerl never made public a list of offenders, unlike more than 30 other U.S. bishops and religious superiors. A grand jury report that will be released next week is expected to name around 90 accused Pittsburgh priests, many of whom surely were reported to Wuerl.

Related articles about McCarrick and his network:

The Truth About Cardinal McCarrick: The Catholic Church needs an inquest into what the pederast cardinal’s colleagues knew, and when, by Ross Douthat, New York Times, July 25, 2018

Past review board members: Independent inquiry into seminarian abuse needed, by Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter, August 7, 2018

Cardinal McCarrick: Everybody Knew, by Rod Dreher, the American Conservative (blog), June 20, 2018

McCarrick, the Bishops and Unanswered Questions, by J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency via the National Catholic Register, July 24, 2018

Cardinal McCarrick’s Network, by Rod Dreher, the American Conservative, July 20, 2018

Catholic Bishops Beg for a Clear Policy against Evil, by Michael Brendan Dougherty,National Review, July 26, 2018

Interviewing Cardinal Wuerl on McCarrick: Can’t WTOP and others do better? by Julia Duin, Get Religion blog, July 30, 2018

Editorial: America’s bishops shouldn’t be investigating one of their own, New York Post, August 9, 2018

Revelations of US cardinal sex abuse will force pope’s hand, by Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 21, 2018

Timeline on Archbishop McCarrick’s life, ministry, abuse claims made against him, by Catholic News Service via Catholic Register, August 9, 2018

Related articles about Maradiaga:

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Honduran Bishop Accused of Sexual Abuse, National Catholic Register, by Edward Pentin, July 20, 2018

Habla la viuda estafada: “Maradiaga sabe todo lo que hace el obispo Pineda” [The condemned widow speaks: “Maradiaga knows everything that Bishop Pineda does”], Criterio, June 12, 2018

Former Seminarians Allege Grave Sexual Misconduct by Honduran Bishop Pineda, National Catholic Register, March 4, 2018

Cardinal Maradiaga accused of financial mismanagement, Catholic News Agency December 17, 2017