In the small number of hours since the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released its list of priests who were credibly accused of sexual assault, its leader, Archbishop Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, expressed sympathy for the abuse survivors and confidence that the names are complete.
DiNardo spoke to ABC13 Eyewitness News Thursday afternoon, beginning with what kind of message he hoped to give to survivors now that the long-promised list was released.
FULL INTERVIEW: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo speaks with ABC13
"It's important to give to those young people, to victims, to survivors, to give them the day to say, 'Yes, we understand your experience. We understand your stories. These are the list of names that we have put out today.' That shows that we understand that."
The list was a long time coming, even as a number of the outted clergymen have been in the public consciousness for a while.
"In Houston, a number of these shepherds, priests, who were accused, their names have been in the news over the years. But this is the first time we've had everyone together," he said.
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DiNardo was asked whether he had in-person ties with anyone on the list. He explained that he may have known four or five of the priests, further stating that most of the clergymen had already left by the time he ascended to the top of the diocese in 2006.
Before we spoke with Cardinal DiNardo, SNAP, the group advocating for church abuse survivors, expressed disappointment, because it felt more priests should have been on the list than the 42 names that were made public.
In response, DiNardo was confident that the list of credibly accused priests was complete, and that the church and third-party investigators, The Kinsel Group, did their due diligence.
"We gave them all our files. This is what came out," said Dinardo.
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The cardinal then expressed the same disappointment by abuse victims.
"If there's one person on the list, I'm not happy," he said.
Still, he said he would not know where or how anyone would get figures to suggest more names were supposed to be added.
"We did our work. I think we did it well. We're always hoping if there are more names that would come forth, but these are the names we had."
In light of the cardinal's editorial in a Houston newspaper on Thursday, the biggest question for DiNardo was whether he ignored any priest that was alleged to have abused anyone in the church.
"I did not ignore or neglect any one priest that was brought to my attention. Some may say, 'You moved too slowly.' But I recall, once something came to my attention, I moved on it."
The cardinal says he understands the anger and frustration of those affected by clergy abuse and says he's doing his best to rebuild the trust of Houston's Catholics.
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