August 19, 2018

Pope to survivors: “I’m on your side”.

Pope is still silent about Cardinal Wuerl and bishops that covered up child sex crimes.

Survivors to Pope: “You can’t be both on the side of victims and on the side of bishops that cover-up child sex crimes”.

Peter Isely
ECA Founding Member and Spokesperson, United States survivor,
+14144297259 (available GMT)

(CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).

Statement by Benjamin Kitobo, ECA Founding Member, Survivor from the Republic of the Congo

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF 2018) announced that Cardinal Wuerl of the United States will no longer be participating at their events during the Papal visit. Wuerl was scheduled to deliver the keynote address on Wednesday August 22, 2018.

In a letter dated Friday August 12, 2018 to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, ECA was the first to call for Wuerl’s dismissal along with two other Cardinals  The other two are Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga of Honduras and Cardinal Kevin Farrell.

ECA had particular concern about Wuerl because, as we warned Martin, he was the target of a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and would likely show he covered up child sex crimes when he was the Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

The Grand Jury report released on Tuesday confirmed our concerns. According to the Associated Press summary of the report, Wuerl “approved transfers for priests instead of removing them from ministry, oversaw inadequate church investigations and concealed information when priests were reported to law enforcement. The report also says he advised parishes not to publicly announce or acknowledge complaints, and offered financial support to priests who were accused and later resigned.”

Of equal concern are the other bishops of Pennsylvania.  According to the Grand Jury report, the current bishop of Pittsburgh David Zubick also covered up child sex crimes. This raises serious questions as to the promotional track of the hierarchy and how bishops are vetted for their selection and promotions.

During the two year Grand Jury examination, none of the Church documents which formed the basis of the investigation should have been a surprise to Francis and the Vatican. Either Francis knew the content of these documents and didn’t act or his bishops didn’t tell him.

On Saturday, in a late response to the Grand Jury findings, the Vatican said that the Pope was on the side of victims. But how is it possible to be on the side of victims while also being on the side of cardinals and bishops who cover up sex crimes?  

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 over 15 countries and 4 continents.