The Archdiocese of Mexico City has launched a fierce criticism of the organization Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which has filed a lawsuit against Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico before the California state court.
The official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Mexico, “Desde la Fe,” says that SNAP is not representing the true victims of priestly abuse, but seeking to extort the Catholic Church in Mexico. The group is “using supposed victims in an immoral way and defaming Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera,” the paper said.
SNAP has accused Cardinal Rivera of covering up abuse committed by Joaquin Aguilar, a Mexican priest who worked in the Archdiocese of Mexico City before Rivera became archbishop there and later worked in Los Angeles.
“Desde la Fe” notes that Bernardo Fernandez del Castillo, the Cardinal’s lawyer, said the Catholic Church in Mexico would soon present documentation showing that SNAP’s accusations constitute calumny. The lawyer has also publicly stated that that Cardinal Rivera never covered up for the Aguilar, who is currently a fugitive.
“Cardinal Norberto Rivera has never hidden Father Aguilar from justice, nor has he hidden his whereabouts from authorities or from officials of the Church in Mexico or in California, and he is unaware of [Aguilar’s] whereabouts today,” the lawyer said.
The newspaper also points out that SNAP has not provided any evidence for the accusations against the Cardinal and that during the last six months the organization has simply “carried out a media campaign against Cardinal Rivera based on lies, contradictions and outright calumnies,” as was made clear on February 20.
On that date, the paper indicates, SNAP officials failed to show up for a hearing that was part of their lawsuit against Cardinal Rivera and Cardinal Mahony. They claimed their absence was due to a failure to complete translation of a letter of notification about the lawsuit.
Their absence “is proof of only one thing: they have no evidence, they are not concerned about legal issues but rather about the media, and their intention is to wait for the Archdiocese of Mexico to become ensnared in the nets of their blackmail and extortion, which will not happen,” the paper asserts.
The SNAP episode, the paper continues, stands in stark contrast with Cardinal Rivera’s open decision to voluntarily testify before the court. “Desde la Fe” called the Cardinal’s attitude of openness a “clear sign that he has nothing to fear, that he is sure of his innocence and that he intends to confront the lies and calumnies that are intended to not only hurt him but the entire Mexican church.”