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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A national network of abuse victims is asking parishioners to think before they contribute to the church in the wake of the devastating grand jury report.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wants parishioners to make sure their money isn’t going to defend or support predatory priests or clergy.
“As a parishioner, it is your right to ask, ‘Where is my donation going?’ You have that right to ask that and you should,” Frances Samber, with SNAP, said. “SNAP wants to make sure that those donations are going to Catholic charities, anything that is going to help the good of the church, not to be used in any type of cover-up.”
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT AND LIST OF NAMES OF PREDATOR PRIESTS
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LIST OF NAMES RELEASED BY THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LIST OF NAMES RELEASED BY THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG
Both Bishop David Zubik and then Bishop, now Cardinal Donald Wuerl are defending themselves against allegations of covering up abuse, both pointing to records of removing priests from ministry and protecting children.
But Wuerl is accused of offering convicted child predator Richard Zula $180,000 after Zula threatened to expose other priests.
Wuerl denies this but says Zula did receive a $750 per month stipend until he died in 2017.
“He continued to receive sustenance, which was obligatory on me by the law of the church,” Wuerl said.
“Now if you have the money to give to a predator, then you have the money to give to a victim,” Samber said.
The Catholic Church has already paid out more than $1 billion in legal fees and claims to victims, and if the statute of limitations is lifted on old claims, that number will continue to climb. It’s not clear that practicing Catholics outraged at this report will continue to foot that bill.
Donations are down by 30 percent in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, where a devastating report was released a year ago. It remains to be seen how Catholics in the Pittsburgh area will react to the grand jury report.