OP-ED: Legislation Would Heal Wounds

Click here to read: “The time is now: Childhood sexual abuse and the statute of limitations,” by Sister Maureen Turlish, National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 9, 2010

Excerpt from above linked article:

“The question remains, How can the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church ethically or morally justify its opposition to legislation that would better protect all children while holding all sexual predators and their enablers accountable, regardless of religious affiliation?

Through its bishops and state Catholic conferences, the Roman Catholic Church is the most powerful institution opposing better child protection legislation in this country, bar none.

Dolan has been very vocal in his opposition to any proposed legislation in the state of New York that has sought to hold either sexual predators or enablers accountable.

In seeking to shield the Roman Catholic Church from the accountability and transparency it was forced to promise in 2002, such opposition now gives more protection to sexual predators — whether they are parents, ministers, priests, imams, rabbis, doctors, teachers or coaches at universities like Syracuse or Penn State — than to the victims themselves.

In opposing legislative reform in New York, Dolan is not unlike Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput in Pennsylvania, who has united with the Commonwealth’s bishops and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference in opposing any legislation that would enable victim/survivors of childhood sexual abuse to access justice, no matter when they were sexually exploited or by whom.

Archbishops Dolan and Chaput, along with most of their fellow bishops, haven’t a clue as to the suffering that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church’s has caused and continues to inflict on sexual abuse victims because they have never been truly accountable or transparent.

No one in the Catholic community has suffered more than the innocent children whose minds, hearts and souls were torn asunder by those who stood in the place of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Baltimore’s former archbishop, Cardinal William Keeler, correctly described such horrific sexual abuse by a trusted minister of God when he used the term “soul murder,” for it truly is that.”

10 thoughts on “OP-ED: Legislation Would Heal Wounds

  1. Absolutely correct, and as far as we are concerned , as Catholics, to think that President Bush gave them diplomatic immunity, no doubt to curry favour with Rome.
    Transparency not on the agenda there.

  2. Good article Sister.
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/suing-the-church–31 Chaput article on “sueing the church” Two things I want to coment on………………PA will present two Bills one for private and one for public institutions so he can no longer use this argument of unfairness. The other many victims are looking to expose their predators names so they don’t molest other kids………..Chaput never mentions this…………..

    1. Exactly Beth -the identifying perpetrators through civil window legislation -never mentioned by those in the Church who fight SOL reform. I think most Catholics do not even know that window legislation can help protect children -I wonder why that angle is never mentioned by the Church …maybe because they know this would have many Catholics actually support SOL reform!

  3. Doesn’t the piece of scripture according to Matthew 10:26-27 just say it all. It was the first thing that caught my eye on the web page, showing where you all are coming from as Catholics.
    Good on you.

  4. As long as chaput and his pals in Harrisburg continue to delay this much needed Legislation they continue to shield and protect the abusers and enablers of not just the clergy but anyone / everyone who has abused a child !

  5. Mathew : 10:26-27.( CK OUT ON THIS PAGE). This scriptures tells you everything that God is trying to tell you right now and long before the Scandal in the Roman Catholic Church that has been so completely revealed to all people therein. But then ignored. It also reveals the PEOPLE INVOLVED in these scandals in the secular world, of well known universities, charitable organizations,institutions for the handicapped and marginalized.

    Get your head together, for this is not going to be going away any time . If God said it and it is happening and you’re not paying any attention and you are a believer, you will face the consequences of “IGNORING GOD”

    Stop attending, schools that cover -up this sort of thing! Stop attending any place that does not do something immediately (go to the authorities) to stop the hideious sexual abuse of our innocents by persons of trusted authority. The church people are the worst ,as they represent Christianity or Judaism or any other faith based institution. GOD IS GOD, OVER ALL.! HE SEE’ S ALL AND KNOWS ALL, WHOM ARE YOU KIDDING??????

    Laws can change but the deviil cares “nothing for the law” he will continue his evil ways on anyone who sucombs to it.

    If all people who are involved in these cover-ups would testify and ask GOD’S ‘forgivnes, THEY MIGHT be forgiven. This is, in MHO, is not for those who actually do the crimes” the SIN AGAINST the HOLY SPIRIT, which is the UNFORGIVEABLE SIN. is for the doers of these crimes.They are already condemned.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, till people hear the WORD of GOD.to be TRUTH AT IT’S HIGHEST LEVEL,NOT MUCH WILL HELP..but it will continue to be revealed. .SO .OPEN YOUR EARS AND YOUR EYES. GOD IS WAITING FOR YOUR BRAIN TO CLICK IN AND DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE! LEAVE THE EVIL BEHIND.

  6. I was brought up with the Sally’s, thanks be to God, and embraced the faith as an adult. A man’s word was once his honour, but in the church so I have discovered, one can never be commmitted to anything or other when answerable to a higher authority, other than God.
    Many decent clergy, religious women, theologians, scientist’s and faithful, [not necessarily in that order] have been cut off at the knees going to their graves broken men and women.
    I look to the day when they will be validated. To bring them to mind albeit collectively, hopefully brings their remnants consolation.

  7. I have been thinking about how we can make the hierarchy of the RCC understand that the people have had their fill. The people in the pews will continue to give their money and will continue to support “their priests” all of whom they believe are “holy men.” Consequently, the real push to deprive the RCC of its financial power is diminished. BUT, there is another way. The RCC–and all religious groups–have been able to amass quite a bit of financial power by their TAX EXEMPT STATUS. Consider a campaign to remove the tax exempt status of the RCC…Just think about all the money the RCC has in real estate alone!!!

    Now is the time for Revolution in America. Let us work toward REMOVING THE TAX EXEMPT STATUS OF THE RCC. I am going to investigate that and will get back to you all.

    1. Elizabeth this not an IRS issue, but it does deal with the Feds and Statutes of Limitations in the States. And it deals with victims of abuse from many sectors of socierty. Marci Hamilton in Verdict, Dec 1, I think, made the following suggestion:

      The Federal Government Could Do Much to Address Child Sexual Abuse By Withholding Funds From States that Do Not Suitably Address the Problem

      This is not an arena, though, where the federal government can unilaterally force the states to alter their criminal and civil laws.  Instead, the federal government can create incentives for the states to fix their SOLs or punish those states that refuse.

      How?  The way the federal government very often convinces the states to act—through the power of the federal purse.  The federal government ought to condition the receipt of state funds on improvement in criminal and civil child sex abuse SOLs.  Indeed, the federal government ought to threaten to take future funds away if the SOLs remain as backward as they are in, say, New York, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Alabama—to name a few of the worst.

      SOL windows would help Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, and the millions of victims who are now middle-aged, and have not yet come forward.  There will be many more of them, as it seems the tipping point has now been reached; we seem to be able now to put the shame where it belongs—squarely on the shoulders of the abusers.  In the past, victims felt too ashamed to come forward. That seems to be less often the case now.

      Our problem is not just the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy, or the Fundamentalist Mormon Church’s prophets, or any one big college football program.  It is men in positions of power—the Masters of the Universe, to draw from Bonfire of the Vanities—who rule their domains with too few around them who are capable of challenging them.  It is long past time to empower the victims to level the truth at the institutions that have benefited too long from their imposed silence.  For that, SOL windows, and reforms, are the perfect tools.  And if states won’t adopt these reforms, the federal government ought to attach steep costs to their unconscionable refusal.

  8. Elizabeth, as an addenda to Marci’s point, Thomas Doyle, when describing the history of the abuse crisis, in Voice of the Desert, Clergy Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church, Reflections 1984-2010, makes the point that civil law makes the bishops listen:

    . We learned much from the legal engagements between victims and the bishops.  We learned that the bishops were and continue to be willing to expend vast sums of the money donated by the “faithful” to defend themselves and to utilize every manner of stonewalling imaginable.  At the same time we learned that the Church learned that the secular legal system is a power greater than itself in spite of all efforts at cultivating deference.  Entreaties of all kinds, appeals to various Church teachings and even to the Gospels had little or no effect on the bishops’ unchristian response to victims.  However the power of the courts made them move….reluctantly, but it made them move.

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