06/17/16

U.S. BISHOPS’ SILENCE ON GUNS AND GAYS

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The U.S. Catholic bishops met in Huntington Beach, California this week, just days after the Orlando massacre. And despite the fact that the church’s most powerful prelates were all gathered together at a time when the nation is desperate for pastoral leadership to counter the vitriol spewing from Donald Trump and his ilk, this was the official, and only, USCCB statement on the massacre released by conference president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz:

Waking up to the unspeakable violence in Orlando reminds us of how precious human life is. Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act. The merciful love of Christ calls us to solidarity with the suffering and to ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every person.

It’s an amazingly tepid, generic statement in the face of such tragedy that touches on two areas of special concern to the bishops: guns and gays. While the bishops’ conference officially backs gun control proposals put forward by President Obama and the Democratic Party, it has put almost no energy into pushing for them. Imagine if Catholic bishops rallied from the pulpit against politicians who failed to vote for common sense gun control legislation with the same energy they put into opposing John Kerry and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights? Or with the sustained effort they put into opposing the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, with their Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Freedom, their annual “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign and countless statements and interventions by leading bishops?

The bishops’ silence on animus toward the LGBT community is more understandable, although no more acceptable, given their own role in fostering it by suggesting that the legalization of same-sex marriage was some kind of cultural Armageddon and that refusing to accommodate gay people is a protected form of religious martyrdom. Only Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, had the guts to admit that the Catholic Church was complicit in fostering a culture of hostility toward the gay community:

…sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence. Those women and men who were mowed down early yesterday morning were all made in the image and likeness of God. We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that.

By comparison, in his statement on the massacre, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone revealed the dark heart of what so many in the church’s leadership believe to be the truth about LGTB individuals:

…we stand in solidarity with all those affected by this atrocity, regardless of race, religion, or personal lifestyle.

That’s right, it’s too bad your “personal lifestyle” got you killed. Just as the Catholic Church still insists on referring to LGBT individuals as “people who experience same-sex attraction,” the church offers its sympathy with a not-to-pointed reminder that ultimately it believes homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism are lifestyle choices that can be rejected, and indeed must be rejected, to be fully accepted by the church.

Similarly, Kurtz’s official statement, with it’s reminder of how “precious life is” and call for “protecting the life and dignity of every person,” is a not-so-subtle reference to abortion. Nothing like using a national tragedy that has absolutely nothing to do with abortion to push your anti-abortion agenda, boys.

But conservatives within the church will continue to push the line that it’s an “abortion mentality”—as well as a lack of respect for the special sacredness of heterosexual, procreative sex—that allows all forms of violence to flourish, ultimately making gay people, not guns, responsible for the violence visited upon them.

Complete Article HERE!

06/17/16

Pennsylvania Catholic church using ‘mafia-like’ tactics to fight sex abuse bill

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Clergy process into the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, ahead of the papal mass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 26 September 2015.

Clergy process into the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, ahead of the papal mass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 26 September 2015.

The Catholic church in Pennsylvania has been accused of employing “mafia-like” tactics in a campaign to put pressure on individual Catholic lawmakers who support state legislation that would give victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers.

The lobbying campaign against the legislation is being led by Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput, a staunch conservative who recently created a stir after inadvertently sending an email to a state representative Jamie Santora, in which he accused the lawmaker of “betraying” the church and said Santora would suffer “consequences” for his support of the legislation. The email was also sent to a senior staff member in Chaput’s office, who was apparently the only intended recipient.

The email has infuriated some Catholic lawmakers, who say they voted their conscience in support of the legislation on behalf of sexual abuse victims. One Republican legislator, Mike Vareb, accused the archbishop of using mafia-style tactics.

“This mob boss approach of having legislators called out, he really went right up to the line,” Vareb told the Guardian. “He is going down a road that is frankly dangerous for the status of the church in terms of it being a non-profit.”

Under US tax laws, organisations like churches that are classified as non-profit groups are not supposed to be engaged in political activity, though they are allowed to publish legislators’ voting records in some cases.

At stake in the contentious fight is a state bill that would allow victims of sexual abuse to file civil claims against their abusers, and those who knew of abuse, until they are 50 years old. Under current law, victims can only file suit until they are 30 years old. The proposal overwhelmingly passed the state lower house in a bipartisan vote in April but appears to have stalled in the state senate, where some believe it might not pass.

If it does pass and is signed by the governor, the legislation could cost the Catholic church tens of millions of dollars following a spate of abuse allegations in the state, including a devastating report released earlier this year by a grand jury that detailed how two Catholic bishops in the Altoona-Johnstown diocese covered up the abuse of hundreds of children by more than fifty priests over a 40-year period.

But it is the church’s personal targeting of legislators, rather than the legislation itself, that is drawing the most scrutiny, particularly among a small group of lawmakers who are both Republican and Catholic – and say they have steadfastly supported the church’s positions on other issues such as abortion and private Catholic schools.

A church bulletin called out Nick Miccareli for his support of a bill to allow victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers.

A church bulletin called out Nick Miccareli for his support of a bill to allow victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers.

Catholic lawmakers interviewed by the Guardian expressed dismay, shock and anger at the treatment they have received, particularly because they were targeted after the bill already passed in the lower house. All said they supported the legislation because they believed survivors of sexual abuse often needed decades to come to grips with the abuse they suffered.

One Catholic state representative named Martina White went on a local talk radio programme to describe how she had been “crushed” when she was disinvited to several planned events at local Catholic parishes because of her support for the bill.

Another representative, Nick Miccarelli, said he was baffled and upset when he learned that his support for the proposed legislation was included in his church’s bulletin under the heading “Just So You are Aware”, including information that he said was blatantly misleading about the nature of the bill.

“I’ve never had anything but good things to say [about my parish], so it was a heck of a shot, when you are out there telling people how much you think of a place, and that place doesn’t even give you a phone call before they print … something that was not an accurate statement,” he said. Miccarelli was angered by the bulletin’s suggestion that the lawmakers had sought to protect public institutions while targeting private ones like churches.

Rep Thomas Murt, who attends mass daily, told a colleague he was “devastated” when the priest at his church spoke about Murt’s support of the legislation, even as Murt was sitting in the pews. The priest’s discussion of the legislation went on for 40 minutes.

“Tom was really upset that no where did the priest mention the kids. Anyone who knows Tom knows he is extremely sincere on this issue. He just wants to do what is right,” the colleague said, asking not to be named.

Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput celebrates mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on 18 February 2015.

Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput celebrates mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on 18 February 2015.

Ken Gavin, a spokesman for Chaput, rejected claims that the archdiocese was attempting to “shame elected officials from the pulpit”.

Gavin said the Philadelphia archbishop had sent a letter explaining the church’s opposition to the bill to 219 parishes throughout the area, which had been read or made available during Mass.

“I am not aware of any situations involving a pastor lambasting an elected official and they weren’t directed to do so. I do know of many instances where pastors shared with parishioners how representatives voted on [the bill]. They shared knowledge that is already public,” Gavin said.

Chaput’s criticism of the bill is centred on claims that the Philadelphia archdiocese already has a “genuine and longstanding commitment” to abuse victims; that it is committed to protecting children now; and that the new law would only apply to churches and private institutions, but still make public institutions like schools and prisons immune from similar retroactive civil suits in abuse cases.

But the Catholic lawmakers who support the bill reject that claim as a red herring, because public institutions like schools receive some immunity from lawsuits in order to protect taxpayers. All said they had been deeply moved by the testimony of fellow legislator Mark Rozzi, who was raped by a priest when he was 13 years old and said the bill would offer victims some justice after years of being “stonewalled”.

Critics of Chaput’s strategy say the archbishop used the same tactics to successfully derail similar legislation in Colorado, where he previously served as archbishop. Joan Fitz-Gerald, the former Democratic head of the state senate in Colorado who had introduced the bill, recalled it was the most vicious and difficult experience of her life, with Chaput allegedly telling one of his lobbyists that he did not believe Fitz-Gerald would be going to heaven.

“He is the most vehement supporter of the secrecy of the Catholic church over pedophiles. He fights any authority over his own, even when it is a matter of criminal law,” Fitz-Gerald said.

One expert, Marci Hamilton, the chair of public law at Cardoza School of Law, said similar legislation that has passed in four other states, including California, has only been used by a relatively small number of victims.

“This is a way for the whole culture to say to survivors that they matter and that they are believed. Because when a survivor comes forward, in most states they are beyond the statute of limitations [to bring civil claims] and the message they get from the law is that what happened to you doesn’t matter,” she said.

Hamilton claimed that Chaput had been brought to Pennsylvania after helping to kill similar legislation in Colorado.

“It is clear they [the church] have bought into this strategy, which is to turn the church into the victim and to portray the victims as just seeking money and triangulating the parishioners against the victims, by saying the parish will go bankrupt and have to close schools,” Hamilton said.

Jamie Santora, the Republican legislator who several people said received the email from Chaput, declined to comment on the email specifically. But he acknowledged he had been accused by a high ranking church official of betraying his church.

“I don’t feel I did betray my church. Growing up Catholic gave me the ability to vote the way I did. To me that was the morally correct vote, by choosing victims over abusers,” he said.

Asked to comment, the spokesman for the Philadelphia archbishop said: “Elected officials are accountable to the people who elected them. There’s nothing odd in that. It’s how the system works.”

Complete Article HERE!

06/15/16

Former vicar general still in the pulpit

by Kay Fate

Bishop John Quinn

Bishop John Quinn

WINONA — The man who abruptly resigned as vicar general and chancellor of the Diocese of Winona continues to say Mass and celebrate the sacraments, despite what church law says about suspended priests.

The Rev. Msgr. Richard Colletti has officiated at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and St. Casimir, both in Winona, according to parishioners who were present.

Colletti, 63, resigned a week ago after the Post-Bulletin discovered he admitted under oath in the early 1990s that he had a sexual relationship with a college freshman whom he was counseling.

The relationship lasted for more than a year, according to court documents obtained by the Post-Bulletin, and included a pregnancy scare.

Fr-Richard-Colletti

Msgr. Richard Colletti

The vicar general is the second-highest ranking position in the diocese. Colletti also resigned from his position as administrative chaplain for the Winona Newman Center.

Bishop John Quinn said June 1 that “it would have been within my role to (terminate Colletti), but before I even began that discussion, Monsignor informed me that he wished to resign.” The resignation was effective that day.

According to canon law, the rules that govern the church and its members, “a suspended priest is usually forbidden by his bishop to exercise the power of order, which means he is not permitted to celebrate any of the sacraments.”

It offers “many reasons why a bishop may suspend a priest,” according to a canon law website, “but here in the U.S. we are all unfortunately familiar with the most common example in recent years: The priest who is suspended after allegations of sexual abuse are made against him.”

A suspended priest always retains the ability to say Mass; he is, however, ordered not to do so.

Quinn is out of town for the week, said Ben Frost, director of public relations for the diocese, and no one else could comment.

Patrick Wall, a former Benedictine monk and Roman Catholic priest who’s a consultant for Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Twin Cities law firm that has represented dozens of victims of priest sexual abuse, has a master’s degree in canon law from the University of Cardiff School of Law. He said Tuesday that Colletti’s continued role within the church is in “direct violation of their procedures.”

He noted Quinn’s “most recent response on sexual abuse about the promise of safe churches, and the most recent statement regarding Colletti,” which says in part that “the Diocese of Winona takes every allegation of clergy sexual misconduct very seriously.”

The victim turned to Colletti, who served as chaplain and director of campus ministry at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, at the beginning of her freshman year more than 20 years ago, court documents say. She was 18 and seeking counseling for depression. According to court documents obtained by the Post-Bulletin, Colletti twice admitted the sexual relationship to the Rev. Gerald Mahon — vicar general of the diocese at the time and now pastor at Church of St. John the Evangelist in Rochester. Mahon told Colletti to stop seeing the woman; Colletti continued to pursue her, documents say.

Eight months after Mahon first learned of the sexual contact, he referred Colletti to Servants of the Paraclete for a psychological evaluation. Within six months, Colletti was also sent to the House of Affirmation, a psychlogical and psychosexual treatment center for priests, and to Guest House, a facility in Rochester that treated priests for alcoholism.

In a letter to Colletti in November 1988, Mahon called him “dishonest” at least six times, writing, “it is clear that deception and dishonesty have characterized your behavior … ”

The woman filed a personal injury lawsuit in 1991 against Colletti, the diocese, Saint Mary’s University and the Church of St. John the Evangelist, where Colletti was later transferred. The parties settled the case three years later. Though the file remains open, the terms of the settlement are confidential.

Complete Article HERE!

06/9/16

Priests, parishes target Pa. legislators who backed sex-abuse bill

By MARIA PANARITIS

Rep. James R. Santora

Rep. James R. Santora, a Republican from Drexel Hill, sits in his office at the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday.

HARRISBURG – One lawmaker called it “electioneering.” Another grew emotional as she recounted being snubbed by a priest. A third penned a Facebook screed that became the buzz of the House of Representatives.

Legislators expressed outrage this week after they said they had been named by priests at Mass, in church bulletins or in some other way rebuked by the Catholic Church for supporting a bill that would let child sex-abuse victims sue individuals and private institutions decades after the abuse occurred.

Rep. Nick Miccarelli, a devout Catholic from Delaware County, said he was stunned on Sunday to see his name printed alongside what he called “lies,” and “distortions” in the weekly bulletin at his Eddystone parish. By his count, at least a dozen other House members reported having been singled out by the church or its advocates in recent days.

“A lot of the members would tell you responses have been nothing short of threats to claims of betraying their faith,” Miccarelli, a Republican first elected in 2008, said the day after his Facebook post about the campaign quickly made the rounds in Harrisburg.

Several of the legislators, each of whom faces re-election this fall, said they were targeted for retribution as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput leads a push to stop the bill from becoming law.

The measure would give victims until age 50 – instead of 30, as the current law allows – to sue their abusers or the institutions that employed or supervised them. It won near unanimity in the House this spring, but faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.

The church, among the biggest opponents, has warned that the bill’s retroactivity could lead to a wave of lawsuits and unfairly cripple parishes and schools that deserve no blame for sexual attacks that happened decades ago.

Ken Gavin, a spokesman for Chaput, confirmed that archdiocesan pastors this weekend in “many instances” shared with worshipers how certain lawmakers had voted on the bill.

“The bill is public and the voting records are public,” Gavin said in an email Wednesday. “There’s nothing wrong with sharing that information. Obviously, parishioners are very concerned about this legislation. For those constituents to contact elected officials to voice such concern is a very normal thing.”

The push from the pews was not new or unexpected from Chaput. He used the same approach as bishop of Denver to help defeat a similar bill a decade ago. Other dioceses subsequently replicated the approach when statute of limitations reform took hold in their state capitals.

But some on the receiving end said they believed the effort went beyond simply educating the congregation.

The House bill passed overwhelmingly – all but 15 of 195 members voted in favor of it.

Still, Rep. James R. Santora, another Delaware County Republican, said even stalwart church supporters like him were finding themselves under attack and unhappy about it.

“I believe everyone that voted for the bill is being targeted,” he said, including himself in that list but declining to say how he had been targeted.

To Santora, the naming of lawmakers inside churches and in parish bulletins smacked of “electioneering.” He questioned the propriety of the church telling worshipers, as he saw it, that they were not worthy of votes come November.

It also bothered Santora that, to the church, it made no difference that he had helped secure millions of public dollars to help the archdiocese finance the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia. Or that his late mother worked for the archdiocese. Or that his children attend Catholic school.

“We’re constantly advocating for the church,” Santora said in an interview, “and now we’re the enemy.”

At Mass Saturday and Sunday at St. Dorothy’s in Drexel Hill, the pastor did not name Santora, he said, but did read a letter from Chaput urging parishioners to contact the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After that, calls and emails began flowing in, including from a major church donor who asked Santora to explain why he had supported the bill.

Santora said he did so because as a Catholic he felt it was the moral thing to do.

“I had a choice,” he said. “Do I choose victims, or do I choose the rapists or the abusers? I chose the victims.”

In an interview Tuesday, Rep. Martina White of Northeast Philadelphia was visibly moved as she described hearing a few days ago she would be no longer welcome at some constituent events in her district. She said a priest told her aide the reason was White’s support in April of House Bill 1947.

“When you think of the Catholic Church, you think of acceptance and forgiveness and a community that’s available to you,” said White, a first-term Republican who belongs to St. Christopher’s in Somerton and attended 12 years of Catholic school.

“Being dis-invited,” she said, choking back tears, “you feel cut off.”

A letter on the issue distributed to St. Christopher’s parishioners over the weekend didn’t identify White, she said, but it did name Sen. John Sabatina, a Democrat from Northeast Philadelphia. (He did not respond to request for comment.)

Another legislator said to have been shaken after hearing his parish priest call him out by name at Mass was Rep. Thomas Murt of Montgomery County, according to Miccarelli, who said he discussed it with Murt. A Republican and Iraq war vet, Murt did not respond to a request seeking an interview.

In recent letters distributed to worshipers and through Catholic schools, Chaput and others have expressed many of the same concerns that, when brought to the table in Colorado, helped defeat a change to the civil statute of limitations there.

They say the bill is unconstitutional because it allows retroactive filing of civil claims; is selective because the retroactivity does not apply uniformly to public schools and state institutions; and could bankrupt schools and parishes by allowing a flood of lawsuits for clergy abuse.

Gavin also noted that the archdiocese had taken action in recent years to help victims of clergy abuse, dedicating more than $13 million since 2002 “to provide victim assistance to individuals and families, including counseling, providing medication, eliminating barriers to travel and childcare, and providing vocational assistance as well as other forms of support.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf (R., Montgomery) has taken no position on the bill, committing only to hold a hearing Monday on its constitutionality.

After enduring what he called “bully tactics,” Miccarelli went on Facebook Monday night and excoriated his church, St. Rose of Lima, for singling him out in what he said was an inaccurate summary of the bill. That passage in the church bulletin read:

JUST SO YOU ARE AWARE – State Representative Miccarelli voted in favor of House Bill 1947 which states that private institutions can be sued as far as 40 years ago for millions of dollars, while public institutions may not be sued for any crimes committed in the past.

Supporters point out that the bill would not prevent people from suing public institutions for child sexual abuse on the grounds of gross negligence.

On Tuesday, Miccarelli distributed copies of the church bulletin page to members on the House floor and began to hear stories of similar campaigns. Demand was so strong for the copies, he said, he had to make more.

Despite the pressure, he, like other legislators, said he would not change his stance on the bill.

Said Miccarelli: “I would much rather be chastised from the altar, than to be damned for not allowing justice to be done.”

Complete Article HERE!

06/9/16

A Public Service Translation of a Catholic Bishop’s Letter Against SOL Reform

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bishop-letter

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia is circulating a letter to parishioners and schools to enlist Catholics to join him in his scorched earth battle against the child sex abuse victims his institution created as well as the rest of them, including the incest victims. As someone who is familiar with Chaput’s tactics against victims and statute of limitations reform ten years ago in Denver, Colorado, I am performing the public service of providing the public a factual translation of his letter, which leaves out a few details.

Dear friends, bishop chaput2

A bill is currently pending in our state senate, HB 1947, that poses serious dangers for all of our local parishes, schools, PREP programs, charities and other Church ministries.

Translation: Well, HB 1947 is actually a watered-down version of the robust statute of limitations (SOL) reform in Delaware, Hawaii, and Minnesota. It caps all civil claims at age 50, which is actually a pretty big win for us bishops, who know that there are many victims well over the age of 50 who have yet to tell their story publicly. Especially good news for us is that many of the survivors of serial Philly predator Stanley Gana will be blocked. Thank God for small miracles! Between us: we have insurance to cover claims, and the insurance guys don’t want to have to pay on those policies, so we do have some powerful friends on our side.

With this letter, I urge you to write or telephone your local state senator and members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against HB 1947, and especially to oppose any retroactivity provision in the civil statute of limitation covering sexual abuse.

Translation: The Grand Jury reports of the Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses have already revealed way too many facts about our callous disregard for Catholic children. If a retroactive bill is enacted, more truth will be spilled and we will look really, really bad. Look at the tens of thousands of pages released in California! Besides, we need to get this bottled up quickly so we can divert everyone’s attention to the glorious Fortnight for Freedom for us to impose our faith on others in as many arenas as possible, whether we are talking abortion, contraception, or same-sex “behavior.” It starts June 21. I can’t wait!

All of us are rightly angered by the crime of sexual abuse.

Translation: The crime itself is just, well, despicable. The cover up, was, well, you know, necessary.

Over the past decade the Church has worked very hard to support survivors in their healing, to protect our children and to root this crime out of Church life.

Translation: I mean, it has been appropriate, of course, for us to fight tooth and nail every single victim who has had the temerity to sue us! We have had no choice but to smear them in the press, assert baseless religious liberty defenses, depose their families and friends, and blame them for their pathetic problems in life. And if their statute of limitations expired, we have had to righteously shut them down ASAP. If they would just heal the way we tell them to with some short-term therapy (c’mon, you can’t expect us to pay for your whole life—get it together!) and a prayer, we could forgive them.

But HB 1947 and bills like it are destructive legislation being advanced as a good solution.

Translation: I have talked to my fellow bishops and these laws are bad news: victims get to request discovery from us if you can believe it, and some judges actually have forced dioceses to produce their Secret Archives, and, let’s face it, they’re supposed to be secret! (That’s why many dioceses did not share their Secret Archives with John Jay College during its invasive investigation of us.)

The problem with HB 1947 is its prejudicial content. It covers both public and religious institutions — but in drastically different and unjust ways.

Translation: Look, I know the lawyers have told me that private and public tort liability is always treated differently. And I don’t have any problems with sovereign immunity generally. (Let’s face it—that’s the reason it is so hard to sue our mother ship, the Vatican; if it weren’t a country willing to invoke sovereign immunity everyone would be suing!) But this is another tactic that my PR firm back in Denver crafted for me, and it’s a winner. At this point, let’s face it, we are the victims.

The bill fails to support all survivors of abuse equally, and it’s a clear attack on the Church, her parishes, her schools and her people.

Translation: Okay, okay, I know it is not an “attack” on the Church, because it applies to all private institutions, secular and religious, for-profit and nonprofit. But this is another public relations move from Denver and, praise Jesus, it works. Let me repeat: we are the victims.

HB 1947 is retroactive for private and religious entities, but not retroactive for public institutions.

Translation: Apparently that is unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania Constitution, unlike the rest of the bill, which, to be honest, we know is constitutional. Nevertheless, we are bringing in some high-powered law guys to say that the whole thing is just one big unconstitutional debacle, so every Pennsylvania Senator will have the ammunition needed to reject HB 1947 on a principle.

It places very low caps on damages for sexual abuse in public schools in the future. And it makes it hard for abuse victims to sue public institutions going forward.

Translation: I mean, public schools have been mandated reporters for a very long time, and we made sure we weren’t, but, still, if we have to pay for our bad acts, they should pay, too! Surely, everyone else screwed up just as much as we did, right? Right?!

Meanwhile, private and religious entities face unlimited liability for exactly the same evil actions, and not just going forward, but also in the past.

Translation: I know “unlimited liability” is a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean—the damages of the victims of child sex abuse, especially when they lose their faith as well as their innocence, can be astronomical. Why should we be the ones to pay for that?

This is not justice.

Translation: From where we’re sitting.

In fact, HB 1947 actually excludes most victims.

Translation: Especially if you ignore the incest victims, which we hope our readers do.

And it also targets innocent Catholic parishes and school families, like your own, who will bear the financial burden of crimes committed by bad individuals in the past, along with the heavy penalties that always result from these bad bills. This is not just an archdiocesan problem.

Translation: We are the real victims of those “bad individuals.”

In other states where similar legislation passed, local parishes have been sued, resulting in parish and school closures and charity work being crippled. The effect of bills like HB 1947 is to erase the sacrifices of generations of faithful Catholics who have done nothing wrong.

Translation: Of course, 75-90% of Catholic Charities funding comes from the government but I don’t want to get too far into the weeds here.

The Church in Pennsylvania accepts its responsibility for the survivors of clergy sex abuse. It’s committed to helping them heal for however long that takes. But HB 1947 and bills like it are not an answer. This kind of legislation is unjust and deeply misleading. It benefits too few victims, and it ends up punishing Catholic parishes and families who are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Translation: In my experience, nothing works better than triangulating the parishioners against the victims we created.

This is a serious and time-sensitive matter.

Translation: I really just need another year so that the funds I have been moving around will be beyond the reach of the victims when they eventually do get justice, like the funds from selling our seminary this week. I’m not stupid! I know SOL reform is inevitable. If I can get the finances arranged just so, and delay SOL Reform just enough, once a bill is passed, we can file for voluntary bankruptcy with its many benefits: We can force every victim to come forward–ready or not–and then pay pennies on the dollar for the ones in statute, and pay absolutely nothing to those we have kept out of statute! It worked like a charm in Milwaukee, where they were able to not only achieve these goals but also drag the survivors through years of federal litigation over the religious liberty right to engage in fraudulent transfers to hide millions from the victims. The Seventh Circuit was pretty harsh, but I am eager to see what the Third Circuit will think!

Please take a few minutes to review the important materials I’ve included with this letter.

Translation: These are killer documents, passed around by the U.S. bishops under SOL attack, though we do have some questions whether Pope Francis is with us.

Senate hearings begin on or around June 13. Please act now to contact your senator, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and urge them to oppose HB 1947 and any effort to impose civil statute retroactivity. You can do that quickly and easily by visiting www.pacatholic.org. That’s the website for our state Catholic Conference, and you’ll see a prominent link on the homepage about this vital matter.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ, Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Philadelphia

Translation: Not a bad letter if I do say so myself.

P.S. Let’s be clear: No one is shifting the full cost of the abuse to this Archdiocese. We need those funds to help the truly needy and of course to lobby against contraception availability, abortion regardless of the woman’s health or life, and the litigation costs of firing gay and unwed mothers who are teachers in our parochial schools.

Peace be with you.

Complete Article HERE!