[Media Statement] Archdiocese of Washington DC Providing Millions to Disgraced Cardinal

SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

March 8, 2021

In a move that is outrageous to survivors of clergy abuse and current Catholics alike, Church officials in Washington D.C. have seen fit to give millions of dollars to a prelate who enabled and covered-up cases of sexual abuse. It seems to us that Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. should stop donating to the archdiocese if they are going to waste millions on a disgraced cleric instead of using those funds to improve the safety and conditions of parishes within their borders.

According to The Pillar, a little more than $2 million has been earmarked for “continuing ministry” for disgraced Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the man who turned a blind eye to the crimes of men like Theodore McCarrick and whose participation in the cover-up of child sexual abuse was exposed in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. Making matters worse is the fact that these monies were taken directly from donations by parishioners and given to a man who may have put their children at risk. We have to assume that most D.C. Catholics would be upset that their individual donations to their parishes were instead given to a wealthy ex-prelate.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory should explain this foolhardy expenditure today and take steps to undo this damage. He can start by pledging instead to use the money to protect children and support survivors of abuse. For example, he could create whistleblower funds that will encourage those who willing to speak up about crimes and cover-up to come forward. He can further finance ongoing sexual abuse prevention programs that will actively make children and the vulnerable in D.C. safer.

Just about any program or service that Archbishop Gregory could choose would be a better use of these funds. We hope he will do the right thing today and rededicate these millions towards protecting children and repairing the damage done by men like Cardinal Wuerl.

CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP DC (703-801-6044, SNAPvirginia@cox.net),Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)