SNAP – the US-based organisation that supports victims of clerical sexual abuse – has issued a list of cardinals it said would be the worst candidates for pope based on their handling of child sex abuse claims or their public comments about the cases.
When asked about the SNAP list, the Rev Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, told CNN:
We believe it is not up to SNAP to decide who comes to conclave and who is chosen. … cardinals can decide themselves without asking SNAP for advice.
And Joseph Zwelling, a spokesman for Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who is on SNAP’s “Dirty Dozen” list, said:
I’m not going to respond to this group which has little to no credibility.
The two other US cardinals on the list are Sean O’Malley of Boston and Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC. The others listed are Leonardo Sandri of Argentina, George Pell of Australia, Marc Ouellet of Canada, Dominik Duka of the Czech Republic, Peter Turkson of Ghana, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, Tarcisio Bertone and Angelo Scola of Italy, and Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico, the group said.
But not all of them are linked to alleged coverups of sexual abuse, SNAP said. Some were placed on the list because of their public remarks related to the abuse scandal.
The Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of child sex abuse scandals in recent years – and the new pope will be under pressure to deal more effectively with a crisis that has shaken public confidence in the church.
SNAP says it’s vital to look at how the world’s bishops have handled claims of abuse by priests because the crisis is far from over. A statement on SNAP’s website said:
This scandal, we believe, has yet to surface in most nations … Clergy sex crimes and coverups remain deeply hidden in the vast majority of nations (where most Catholics live), and has really only become widely known – and barely addressed – in the US about a decade ago and in a few European countries even more recently.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn