PA–Victims respond to “self-serving” abuse apology

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home,

Today, the former head of the Pittsburgh Catholic diocese has written another page in his long, shrewd and depressingly semi-successful campaign to pose as a “reformer” on the church abuse and cover up crisis with his self-serving apology to a brave abuse survivor.

[PIttsburgh Post-Gazette]

Decades late, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, now of Washington DC, has apologized to Tim Bendig who was sexually assaulted by a recently-deceased former Pittsburgh priest. We’re highly suspicious of Wuerl’s timing and motives. We believe Wuerl is really seeking to burnish his image and diminish the harm caused to Catholic officials by current investigations by law enforcement into bishops across Pennsylvania and how they have responded and are responding to clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis. We also suspect that Wuerl is posturing in case Washington DC’s City Council ever re-considers suspending the District’s predator-friendly statute of limitations (by appearing to be more sensitive to victims.)

We are sad but not surprised that Wuerl admits one widely-known and proven predator priest was, in fact, a predator. But it’s important to remember that there are at least 47 publicly accused child molesting Catholic clerics in the Pittsburgh diocese and 27 more in the Washington archdiocese. (See What’s Wuerl doing to make sure that some of them are prosecuted and that none of them are now around kids?

More than nearly any other bishop (except maybe Cardinal Tim Dolan in New York and Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles), Wuerl has long been at the forefront of spinning his callous and irresponsible moves in child sex cases as somehow positive. We have long wished, and we wish now more than ever, he’d focus more on protecting of kids and their families rather than protecting himself and his peers.

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