For nearly two decades, a small nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii has operated out of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.
And while powerful clerics have publicly pledged to hold the church accountable for the crimes of its clergy and help survivors heal, some of them arranged meetings, offered blessings or quietly sent checks to this organization that backed the abusers, The Associated Press has found.
Catholic leaders say the church has no official relationship with the group. But Opus Bono successfully forged networks within the church hierarchy.
The Associated Press unraveled the continuing story of Opus Bono in dozens of interviews with experts, lawyers, clergy members and former employees, along with hundreds of pages of documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests.