Catholic Church Continues to Lobby Against Child Protection Law Reforms


“Statutes of limitations exist to ensure a just verdict can be reached,” said Amy Hill, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the bishops’ political arm in the state.

“Over time witnesses’ memories fade, evidence is lost or never found, and in many instances perpetrators or witnesses may be deceased.” – Reuters.com

Hill’s argument doesn’t hold water because there is no Statute of Limitations for murder in Pennsylvania. All the evidence challenges she mentions would also apply to murder trials. There should not be a Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Abuse.

This is just a case of the Church trying to avoid fiscal and moral responsibility.

Click here to read the full story: “As Pope visit nears, U.S. sex victims say Church remains obstacle to justice,” by Scott Malone, Reuters.com, September 10, 2015

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36 Responses to “Catholic Church Continues to Lobby Against Child Protection Law Reforms”

  1. Nancy Mortimer O'Brien Reply September 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I am wondering what citizens can do about the church’s refusing to do anything about this issue, especially with the pope expected to visit Philadelphia soon and no plans to include this issue on his agenda or the World Meeting of Families.

    • In Hawaii where I attended every hearing on SOL child sex abuse legislation that I proposed and our local legislator introduced, I had to witness and be in the same room with the catholic church paid lobby and the representative lawyer from the Attorney Generals office who tried to shoot down the bill.. All the legislators both sides passed the bill to the governors desk.. He vetoed it.. (He had appointed a catholic priest as his homeless tzar.. and this priest (who later had to resign for allegations of sexual assault on young women who worked for him at his church before he was appointed) appears to have been an influence on the governor who attended the RED MASS .. my outrage led me to report what happened to the FBI I took photos of the church and state together.. I told all my fb friends and family.. and I began a mission to expose the catholic church for child endangerment and expose catholic and other politicians who caved to their church instead of the will of the people.. The best thing to do is vote the governors and politicians out of office.. (the governor did not win his attemepts at a second term).. the legislators eventually got both civil and criminal bills signed (although politics still was noticeable).. I think the SOL on rape /child sex abuse should be removed globally.. and not be given to politicians who are in bed with their bishops to decide.. it would end all the games and it would show the catholic church that the people of the world have had enough of their evil..?

    • One must wonder how is it that the Pope or church leaders would totally ignore the elephant in the room. How could he not speak to or deal with the sexual abuse of children, when it is an epidemic in our society. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be the recipient of unwanted sexual contact before the age of 18. How is it we can have a World “Family” centered event yet not deal with this…when they are the first to tell us most abuse occurs by family members, teachers, counselors, coaches…oh, don’t forget clergy.

      There is only 1 reason why the Pope, (and no one should be surprised) will not be dealing with the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The real truth of what Church officials knew all along will begin to unravel and be revealed to the light of day. That very thought, leads them to believe it will crush our church. Their secrecy and silence and lies have allowed this festering wound to infect our church. It has spread like a gangrenous infection. The body, our church is decaying and church leaders have little to no will to cure it.

      Not even Pope Francis….how could he possible allow The Vatican Envoy to the Dominican Republic, Bishop Wesolowski to escape accountability. Any talk of real reform is a sham and window dressing for those who still believe this institution has addressed such crimes they have committed against the faithful. Woe unto them.

  2. Correct me if I am wrong but haven’t we heard this statement rephrased a million different ways before. Is this truly what they say to themselves behind closed doors? Do they really think we are that dumb? Has anyone asked them about their real fear which is that thousands of carefully kept documents might be exposed and that it is really not so much about about faded memories as there maybe documented proof to validate those memories? Why cant they just come clean and say we don’t want to go bankrupt or have to sell off a lot of assets so we are ok with sacrificing thousands of children to the predators that we could possibly take off the streets if the statue of limitations were changed.

    • When we eliminated the civil statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of a child in Minnesota we never mentioned catholic or any religion. Our Minnesota Child Victims Act is a law for ALL victims of childhood sexual abuse. — Those that keep catholic, catholic, catholic in their fight for reform of sexual abuse laws will keep giving bishops and their lobbyists a key position at the table. Bob Schwiderski

      • Hi Bob, I couldn’t agree more. When I speak to legislators, I speak as PA taxpayer, voter and mom concerned with the welfare of all children in this state (see yesterday’s post). But here on this blog, we discuss the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse. I think it is very, very important to inform fellow Catholics on the political behavior of their institutional Church. Who else is putting money in the collection basket that ends up funding the lobbyists?

        • Susan I was raped by a priest at the age of 7. I’ll say it again, I did not push the catholic issue, I pushed the healing, recovery, protection issue. Bob

  3. I guess the above wouldn’t sound to “Christ -like” and would truly expose them for who they are………. cowards that have no faith in Gods forgiveness. mercy, justice or providence. Correct me if I am wrong but if I read the Bible correctly practically all the apostles were martyred or put in jail.Why do these church leaders think their positions come without great risks, sacrifices and hardships?

  4. It appears the problem is that the USA is in Bed with the catholic church .. John Boehner and Nancy Polosi invited the pope here to talk to congress and the UN and he is being protected by homeland security pope francis is making a saint out of a vile abusive Franciscan priest during a mass at the national cathedral.. while a bishop in Argentina pope francis ignored victims of abuse by argentina priests.. he also tried to keep his
    close” friend father grassi out of prison for child sexual assault… the new catholic saint began the California catholic missions and under his command California native Indians were raped, enslaved, slaughtered, and their land stolen….. it does appear that the pope and Jesuits and Vatican and hierarchy still believe the lie that they are superior to all and that all bow down to them.. but millions have left the catholic church globally because we admit the truth about it’s violent and shameful history.. and that they do not represent Jesus Christ or his teachings in fact they mock him..?

  5. S. Reid Warren, III Reply September 10, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    What a vacuous statement. All too many victims of child sexual abuse ( let’s call it what it is, rape, since the abuse was performed by an adult and the child had no power or control).’

  6. S. Reid Warren, III Reply September 10, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I forgot to add, that all too often in child sexual abuse, the victim later in life commits suicide – either directly or by use of alcohol or drugs.

  7. a beautiful young boy in Hawaii was raped by the Catholic bishop at the time (bishop joseph ferrario) the boy had already been raped by other priests since early childhood.. the boys mother was the bishops housekeeper and had at least 7other children.. the boy David Figueroa went on to become a male prostitute, homeless, and dead of hiv aides.. before he died his mother and he went to bishop Ferrario to ask for financial help but the bishop and his church HID behind the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS child sex abuse and refused to accept responsibility… (it is mentioned in a chapter of a book called THE RITE OF SODOMY BY Randi Engle.. that bishop ferrario handed the mother and son 300 dollars.. Ferrario’s photo is in a place of honor at the chancery in Honolulu and was buried with full catholic honor…. ..

  8. …..and what is the name of the organization made up of catholic parishioners who truly have a say in decisions catholic clergy make regarding decisions about their church.

    I said it before I will say it again. The church belongs to the parishioner not its clergy. A demand should be made to the church clergy parishioners want to be involved in any and all matters regarding their church.

    I must check my notes but I believe the Archdiocese of Philadelphia namely Chaput spent $75,000 one year to fight any changes with the sol laws.

    • “I must check my notes but I believe the Archdiocese of Philadelphia namely Chaput spent $75,000 one year to fight any changes with the sol laws.”

      Dennis, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was much more than that in one year. And how much might the bishops of all the PA dioceses been told to contribute to the lobbying efforts that go on in Harrisburg? You’d be hard put to find those figures in any financial reports that are given to the People of God.

      Sister Maureen

  9. I remember every single detail of my rapes by catholic priests. A very small minority could ever forget what happened to them. In 2006 I went to Tennessee and confronted one of my rapists. I stood with a video camera running and listened to his version of what happened. He didn’t know who I was until he had finished then I began to tell him what really happened. The video was handed over to the victims coordinator where it was viewed by the appointed people of the church. Two weeks later I won in the sense that his name would now be put on the archdiocese website. I repeat, I remember every single detail!

  10. Margaret A. Murphy Cape Cod Reply September 10, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I would like to thank Susan Matthews for her incredible courage, intelligence, and perseverance to educate Catholics to the TRUTH of the Roman Catholic Church and its patriarchal, hierarchal system.

    NO CATHOLIC CHURCH BELONGS TO ITS PARISHIONERS!!
    .
    Corita Kent, a fabulous artist and a former nun, once wrote-
    “Evil may not be seeing enough. So perhaps to become less evil, we need only to see more.”

    Because of Susan’s efforts, we are all seeing more———–evil!

    • NO CATHOLIC CHURCH BELONGS TO ITS PARISHIONERS!!

      Sadly your statement is 100% true but don’t you feel that should change ?

      Susan has a great site here but I remind you of its name CATHOLICS4CHANGE. No matter what Chaput thinks Its not all peaches and cream and people are speaking out on how they have been treated and better yet people are questioning what is going on.

      Maybe I should keep my two cents to myself since I have already jumped ship and been baptized in another church. But I was raised a Roman Catholic and its not that easy to forget things. I still care very much. (Why I have no idea)

  11. Pope: Priests must be especially merciful, he added, saying if that they weren’t, then they should ask their bishop for a desk job and “never walk into a confessional, I beg you.”

    “A priest who isn’t merciful does much damage in the confessional. He berates people,” the pope said Sept. 10 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

    I see a lot of desks being placed on order. Chaput should have one for each day of the week.

  12. Here we go again, the Catholic Conference mantra…memories fade, witnesses die and evidence is lost, Miss Hill said. “SOL exist to ensure a just verdict”, she said.

    Okay, then why does the Catholic Conference oppose ANY and ALL revisions to the SOL…WHEN EVIDENCE DOES EXIST. In many cases there exists much evidence, particularly in institutional cases. (remember Penn State, only when the case got to court did we learn what School officials really knew all along) The Church REQUIRES records to be kept on any allegation, complaint or letter regarding a clergy member, kept in the bishop’s s\
    “secret archive” as REQUIRED by Canon (Church) law. Further, there is almost always some evidence that NEVER gets to court due to current SOL’s. Previous allegations, investigations, letters, e-mails, text messages, recordings, EVEN ADMISSIONS of guilt are all barred by the current SOL in Pennsylvania.

    As a survivor of clergy abuse the priest who had abused me wrote letters, many letters which clearly showed his illicit behavior…THAT TOO was time barred…where is the justice in that?

    Pennsylvania Law maker stop pretending NOT to know the difference, those who do not support such reform clearly choose to protect the assets of institutions instead of protecting our children from known predators! Plain and simple as that. No more smoke and mirrors.

  13. Hey everyone can I just ask for prayers for my situation to be “fixed” and if not that God gives me peace as the world comes crashing in on me. I am not quit sure what God wants from me but my boat is rocking real hard right now. Thanks and peace to you all this coming week. You are all always in my prayers. I know all things are possible with God who strengthens me.

  14. Beth,

    One thing I look at this site as is not only to receive the latest information from Susan but a place to go to receive that shoulder to lean on from other brothers and sisters who have walked in our shoes, who have been through the ups and downs. It does not even have to do with our sexual abuse issues. We have that special bond that brings us closer. The one thing I know is I needed help only a year ago and came to this site for help. and received much more then I could ever think possible.

    So right there you have already made a great decision in coming here. Please know myself, my wife and our little girl will be saying prayers to help you with what you may be dealing with and know that boat can rock as hard as it wants. it may even knock you out but be comfortable to know your life jackets are right here and damn we will not let you go under.

    I will check the site more often then I normally do so please keep letting us know how you are doing.

    • Dennis and everyone thanks for the prayers. Its amazing how things come full circle and how the good things in the past we have done can end up helping us and others in the future. All I can say is God is good and we need to continue to let God work thru us so others see the face of God in us. Please keep praying as I pray for all of you daily.

  15. “and damn we will not let you go under” Thankyou Dennis that means more then you will ever know. A lot of things are lining up and coming together and I don’t exactly know what the end result will be. I just need to trust God in this storm as I see it’s coming and I cant do anything but walk thru it.

  16. Beth

    With your faith in God and the power of prayer something tells me you will walk thru it with your head held high.

    Keeping you in our prayers.

    The Ecker Family

  17. Dennis the Holy Spirit is moving…….Thankyou Thankyou so much

    • Very very sad. I believe they are the same survivors family that was outside the cathedral during the healing mass when I stood outslde with Vicky. If I could only convey the pain and suffering I witnessed. They are in my prayers.

    • same story different area. Junkie kid with a father in law enforcement who couldn’t tell the signs his kid had a problem

      • maria: Life is full of questions, IDIOTS are full of answers !

      • Same story because people in law enforcement are experienced enough to know predators don’t stop at one victim and they are not naïve enough to sign the AD documents in which they promise not to press charges in exchange for life long counseling etc. Law enforcement workers are trained to report crime not hide them or minimize them.Drug abuse can be very difficult to catch right away and many times it can go undetected.

  18. I respect this site and the people here to much to place into writing what my true feelings are about Maria. I will look at it as God has given everyone free will to say or do as they please even if it is nonsense.

    I have read the article and think it was so brave of this family to do the interview. Brave enough that it gave me strength. Enough strength to leave a comment that calls it like it is :

    Dennis Ecker ·

    I too am a victim of clergy abuse by Father Hermley of Father Judge H.S. who is now deceased. I have been dealing with my abuse for over 40 years now and I know how this family feels. Their child, their baby he did not die simply from a drug overdose their child was MURDERED. The overdose was only the diagnosis how he died. I am not saying his abuser killed him by how our laws define murder he died trying to rid the memories and pain of what his abuser did to him and for that reason his murder rests not only on the hands of his abuser but also the Catholic Church namely the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the same archdiocese I and so many others have to deal with. The same archdiocese that will spend tens of thousands of dollars to fight any change in Pennsylvania law regarding statute of limitations. The catholic church wants us the victims to go away but we have nothing to be ashamed of, we did nothing wrong. I applaud this family for doing this interview and I have a saying for any clergy abuse victim ” THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TURNED US INTO VICTIMS IT IS OUR JOB TO TURN OURSELVES INTO SURVIVORS

  19. “…Marsico has in the past said components of the reform legislation would be unconstitutional in Pennsylvania and would not hold up in court…”

    This is simply NOT TRUE and Mr. Marsico knows this. Marci Hamilton, a prominent legal scholar in church-state issues, has provided to this man a comprehensive and thorough documentation of the legality of key provisions of the legislative proposals. Ms. Hamilton has advised various state legislatures around the country in these efforts and some states have passed such legislation successfully and there have been no challenges (successful or otherwise) to date.

    Mr. Marsico, a father and grandfather, is standing in the way of a public forum and hearing on these critical legislative proposals. Make no mistake, his actions, decisions and conduct are to the detriment of ALL children in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    Those who are involved in these efforts and advocacy to improve the legal access and redress for past victims and future victims of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania and those families crushed and destroyed by the evil, horror and desperation of child sexual abuse in their own homes must never, ever forget that this single man, Rep. Ronald Marsico, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee, favors the abusers, criminals and pedophiles at the psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual expense of past victims and future victims here in this wonderful state.

    Of course, being a life-long Philadelphia Catholic who treasures his faith, we have become used to the bogus claims, excuses and defenses for why our Catholic leadership (Archbishop Chaput) here in Philadelphia and across the state has fought feverishly against these important “statute of limitations” proposals. One excuse after another………the victims are in it for the money, they want to destroy the Church, these proposals only target religious and/or Catholic institutions, such legislation will create a torrent of civil suits which will bankrupt the Church………All bogus, all untrue and none borne out in the history of reform across the country since the clergy abuse crisis came to national attention in 2002.

    Would that our political leadership (Marsico) and our religious leadership (Chaput) show the same courage, commitment and dedication to ALL Pennsylvania children that two of our Pennsylvania legislators have done by coming forward with their stories of childhood sexual abuse. Rep. Mark Rozzi and Rep Louise Bishop……..these two courageous individuals are true leaders because nothing will stop their efforts to ensure better protection and legal redress/access for our children, who would fall victim to childhood sexual abuse, regardless of the date of assault.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

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