Many have asked what I hope from Archbishop Chaput’s leadership. Kathy and I hope he will follow all of the recommendations of the 2011 Grand Jury Report. For instance, the Archdiocese still hasn’t removed the Victims Assistance Program from its (and therefore, its lawyers) supervision.
We hope Archbishop Chaput will support a bill for the removal of the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in PA. There is no civil statute for murder in this state. We agree the Catholic Church shouldn’t be unfairly targeted in a bill. The Catholic Church should strive to protect and bring justice to all children. We hope Archbishop Chaput would use his extensive lobbying experience to push for such a bill rather than fight against the idea as he did in Colorado. A Church that puts its institutional interests above even one child is not the Church I learned about in Catholic grade and high school. We were taught what Jesus would do.
For those victims who don’t wish to seek civil litigation (and there are many), we hope Archbishop Chaput will embrace a plan for “Restorative Justice.” (More on this soon). However, so much trust has been lost, I’m not sure this is possible.
We hope Archbishop Chaput will reach out to those who are on the fence and those who have left the Church over the cover up. We hope reaching out is done with more than words. Actions will speak louder.
David O’Reilly writes about Archbishop Chaput in today’s Inquirer, “In his 2008 book Render Unto Caesar, he wrote, ‘Catholics who live so anonymously that no one knows their faith . . . aren’t really living as ‘Catholics’ at all.’ He went on to observe that ‘American democracy depends on people of character fighting for their beliefs . . . forcefully and without apology.'”
That’s just what Kathy and I will continue doing.