HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP, is calling for the resignation of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo from his position as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
SNAP said DiNardo no longer possesses the moral authority to lead the organization, citing several examples where they said DiNardo mishandled cases of sexual misconduct.
Michael Norris, president of SNAP Houston, said DiNardo knew about the sex abuse allegations of at least six different priests in the Galveston/Houston area for months, even years, but didn’t do enough to properly address the issue.
“He knew about Rossi for two years and he didn’t tell anyone. He knew about La Rosa Lopez for nine months and he didn’t tell anyone. He makes us wait until the press finds out about it. I mean what does he know? What other perpetrators are out there that he’s not telling us about,” Norris said.
Monsignor Frank Rossi is accused of having a sexual relationship with a married woman he was counseling. The details were released in a report published by the Associated Press.
Former Conroe priest Manuel la Rosa Lopez has been charged with sexually abusing multiple children.
The calls for DiNardo’s resignation come just one day before an annual U.S. bishops meeting in Baltimore. DiNardo is expected to call for new policies that will hold accused church leaders accountable.
Dr. Franceso Cesareo serves as the chairman of the National Sex Abuse review board, which is set up bishops. Cesareo said there’s a systemic issue that needs to involve additional layers of checks and balances.
“We want to make sure it’s a system that’s not just exclusively lead by bishops when an allegation is made against a bishop, but that the laity be part of that process,” Cesareo said.
Cesareo said the practice of reassigning church leaders to other parishes or ministries is outdated.
“When we see the reassignment of different priests and parishes, what we’re really looking at are historical cases that go back decades as opposed to current practices because that was something was addressed in 2002,” Cesario said.
“There’s one policy only that will work — zero tolerance. If you abuse a child, you can’t be cured of that they need to be removed from children period,” Norris said.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston responded, “Cardinal DiNardo will continue working with like-minded reformers at all levels of the Church to fight the evil of abuse in all its forms. He will not resign from anything.
“As president of the USCCB, Cardinal DiNardo’s aggressive leadership helped lay the foundation for Pope Francis’ historic decree just last month making bishops directly accountable either for acts of sexual abuse or efforts to cover such behavior up.
“Here at home, Cardinal DiNardo has also acted swiftly and justly in removing priests from active ministry each time he was presented with credible evidence of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior.
“We categorically reject the AP’s fabricated quotes and biased reporting last week, and will continue cooperating with authorities entrusted with establishing the truth and dispensing justice.”