A Survivor’s Take On Pending Legislation

Written by OWLFAN

This past week has been a whirlwind for survivors such as myself with the news that House Bill 1947, which passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in April, would be going to the Senate for hearings in June.  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has begun circling the wagons in anticipation of this bill passing.  Last Tuesday, Archbishop Chaput and other archdiocesan officials and “consultants” (aka attorneys), gathered for two meetings at St. Helena parish in Blue Bell – ironically, my registered parish!

According to an article by Matthew Gambino on CatholicPhilly.com, “speakers at the meetings described the dire financial impact upon Catholic parishes, schools and institutions that would likely result from an expected flood of civil lawsuits should the bill be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor.”

In coming weeks, parishioners will receive “information about how the legislation might affect them, as well as the parishes, schools, and charitable works they love and support based on what has happened in other states” according to Ken Gavin, spokesman for the archdiocese.

As a survivor, I wanted to give my take on these meetings, the archdiocese response, and the feelings that it has stirred up in me.

First, it is true that the archdiocese and Victims’ Assistance has helped me obtain therapy, doctors and medications.  They pay for all of these visits.  A rough calculation, if I should continue this course of action, until the age of 75, they will spend over $250,000 on my case alone.  Not one person is disputing the facts that the Archdiocese is helping victims in this way.

What is infuriating to me is their response to this proposed legislation and the anticipated message that will be sent to Catholics across the archdiocese.  I had the opportunity to meet with several archdiocesan officials during the investigation of my case.  One on one – they say all the right things.  “I’m sorry.”  “Nobody should go what you went through.”  “We want to hear you – want your help.”

Publically, it is a completely different tact.  Articles and statements are written with innuendo of survivors wanting to bankrupt the church – take it down.  Just read again the statement from Mr. Gavin – bold for emphasis ­-  “… the legislation might affect them, as well as the parishes, schools, and charitable works they love and support …”.  Add to the equation the likelihood of long trials, detailed discovery and the possibility of more scandals being revealed, and you can understand the angst.

So imagine me, sitting in Sunday Mass (already a difficult task for me), and listening to how if this law passes, parishes may close, programs for special education and the poor will not be able to be funded, the Catholic School system, founded in Philadelphia by St. John Neumann, being shut down.

If Ford Motor made an automobile that, due to defects in the manufacturing process, caused the wheels to fly off when reaching speeds of 50MPH, would anyone care that victims would sue because they were injured or killed?  No – it would be justified.  Would anyone care if these suits caused plants to shut down and jobs to be lost?  Absolutely but, unfortunately in life, for every cause there is an affect.  For every action, there is a reaction.

As I was writing this, I was reading from a book for a 12-Step Program that I attend.  I was reading Step 10 – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it”.  Perhaps I should send the book down to 222.  Sure, I know they can’t be happy with this legislation.  But, a more proper – more appropriate response to survivors would be this – “Yes, we are alarmed by the potential financial impact that HB1947 will have on the Catholic Church in Philadelphia but we acknowledge that crimes were committed against children in the past and we may have to suffer the consequences.  We are confident that, going forward, measures are in place that will insure these crimes will never happen again.  In the interim, we will continue to support victims and accept responsibility for the past.”

So be prepared for the PR onslaught from your pulpit in the next few weeks.  For those of blind faith that don’t want to acknowledge the role of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in this scandal, there will be tears and outrage when the PR machine starts churning out the message of victims wanting to bankrupt the Catholic Church – only in it for themselves – driven by greed and money.

And then look over at me, sitting next to you – and there will also be tears.  For what my Church did to me – and continues to do to me – for I did nothing wrong.

77 thoughts on “A Survivor’s Take On Pending Legislation

  1. OWLFAN,

    You summed it up perfectly. I agree with you on every point. It is crazy-making when you think about it.

    I am following my gut on this. I am trying not to pay much attention to the Archdiocese PR bs, and am trusting that most people now get what is going on here, and are now willing to do what is best. The ignorant sheep will always be ignorant, but they are entering the minority rank, as the awareness of the issue of clergy sexual abuse of innocent children reaches critical mass.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that we are gaining momentum, and change is going to happen. There will be hiccups along the way, but SOL reform is going to happen. The Catholic Church is going to go down fighting, but it is going down nonetheless! And by this I do not mean the Church will implode. Nor do I want it to. It will simply lose the fight to prevent SOL reform.

    I have my sad moments, but mostly I am living my life. I don’t use a whole lot of my outside of therapy hours on the issue. I long ago gave up on the idea that the Catholic Church really gave a damn about the survivors. I look at it as a business, and as a business without a soul. I find my god in a lot of other places . . . at the beach, at the horse barn, in the laughter of my crazy extended family members, in the eyes of my delighted granddaughter, in the arms of the man who lives me completely. The Catholic Church really can not hurt me anymore. But someday they might have to write me a big check because they failed to do the right thing for me when they had the chance. And that someday might be sooner than I expected. And I will cash that check without thinking twice about the cost to them. Because they haven’t thought one minute about the cost to me. And it really isn’t going to cost them nearly as much as they make it out to be. For a very long time they have been pouring money into fighting SOL reform, and nobody complains about where that money is coming from. Just another dirty little secret.

    People aren’t stupid. They know the Church has assets. The education of developmentally delayed children and helping the poor need not be affected by victim settlements. But the vulnerable will be used as pawns by a corrupt and greedy Church. It’s what they do best.

    OWLFAN, I wish you peace and solace as this drama plays out. You deserve it.

    1. Laney,I hope you get what you deserve and enjoy every Penny you get.. I agree with everything Owlfan has written.. I have a long road ahead of me . I am now 70 and abused at age 6 . I am seeking help but statute of limitations is the problem . Long Story!!

  2. More meetings this week for other employees of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to tell them how this will impact them directly: loss of employment, loss of pension benefits, loss of Churches and Schools. But they will not mention how many victims have lost their lives, through suicide , drug overdoses and the severe psychological damage that was done to children sexually abused by Catholic Priests. They will not talk about how this scourge has cost them over three billion dollars in payouts to victims, how it has cost them hundreds of thousands of people leaving their Church. They will not talk about the number of Churches and schools that have been closed and now sit empty. Instead they will talk about greedy victims who want to bankrupt their Church. Baloney! The damage that has been done and will continue to be done is because people like Charles Chaput failed to do the right thing and continue not to do the right thing. If you are looking for a scapegoat, try looking in the mirror.

    1. Jim What Archbishop Chaput is doing is wrong and may God have mercy on his soul. I went to St. Charles Seminary and listened to the presentation and raised a few poignant questions. The AD and Archbishop Chaput don’t have child protection and the care of souls as their top priority and for that they will lose everything including their own souls.

  3. I am sorry that I cannot express my thoughts on this topic as eloquently as I would like, or as well as OWLFAN and Joseph Laney have. The following words and phrases that I refer to above have a strong trace of emotional blackmail to them in MY humble opinion:

    ” the legislation might affect them, (meaning those abused, I assume?) as well as the parishes, schools, and charitable works they love and support” ” if this law passes, parishes may close, programs for special education and the poor will not be able to be funded.”

    It infuriates me that they are pointing out very vulnerable groups, for dramatic effect, I am sure, like Special Education, which is SEVERELY lacking, as I know first hand ((shame on them) as well as the poorer population, but are victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse not extremely vulnerable as well? They are saying, without actually saying, that those of us who have been pushing for a fair and long overdue SOL bill are going to affect negatively many other groups. It almost seems like they are implying the cuts that will be carried out are the victims’ fault – the abused that have suffered unfairly and without apology or recognition in many cases for decades.

    What is wrong with a gracious acceptance of the SOL, even on the surface? Apparently, the Archdiocese is unable to do this, as well as a sincere apology to all the victims and their families. Why is it impossible for the Church to admit their wrongs, as we have been taught to do by the teachings of the Catholic Church?

    Thank you so much for listening. I am very frustrated, and am very grateful to have someplace to let it all out. Best wishes to all.

    1. Well said. Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to come to this blog and know I’m not alone.

    2. They don’t think they need to accept the consequences of their actions. They should have thought of these consequences many years ago.

  4. And my thanks to Jim Tucker’s input as well. Apparently we were typing away at the same time expressing our frustrations.

  5. Here is my questions..are the clergy believers? I ask because Catholic school was the original Fear Factor and I truly believe that we will answer for our actions one day. When it is my turn I sure as heck am not going to try to argue with God that victims of child rape in the Catholic Church should have been denied civil suits because there are caps on financial claims in public school districts and the law was unfair. Seriously?

    1. Priests are first and foremost believers in their individual priesthoods. Maintaining and advancing them depend on loyalty to their bishops. Of course they believe in a final judgment and heaven, but they have to survive their practical priesthoods first and now. Chaput is the boss man-God of every priest in the archdiocese of Philadelphia. Priests would scoff at that comment but it’s the truth and it’s why they will all spew Chaput’s agenda in one way or another in their parish churches in the weeks to come… that’s “if they know what’s good for them.”

      1. Kate I understand the obedience issue but take Chaput out of the equation and there are priests who will argue about private institution settlements vs public institution settlements as if they are attorneys rather than the persona of Christ

        1. in persona Christi ..Jesus was nailed to a cross and died for our sins and they are going to preach from a pulpit about unfairness of civil suits for children who were raped in the Catholic Church and they have no fear of what will come from those actions? really ?

        2. Private and public institutions are man-made. They are subject to crimes and corruption. They pay penalties. The problem is that clergy view the institution called the Catholic Church as Other. It’s not. It’s a figment of their programmed and cultish imaginations.

          1. and they are also not taking into account the survivors/victims and family members who will be in attendance as Owlfan points out how difficult mass attendance can be to begin with due to the circumstances

          2. The faithlessness, betrayal, deception, falseness, breach of trust, sell out, and stab in the back are confounding.

  6. The civil statute of limitations for child sex crimes needs to be lifted for new and old crimes. Those who enable and cover up these sex crimes need to be held accountable too, otherwise children will never be safe from being dealt this life sentence of trauma and pain.
    Most victims of child sex abuse are unable to even speak of it until they are much older. By filing a suit, this gives victims the opportunity to enter into the discovery phase, which allows them to subpoena secret archive documents and to subpoena high ranking officials to testify under oath. This is the main reason that Catholic bishops pay big bucks to lobby against lifting the civil statute of limitations. They want their secrets and crimes of cover up to stay hidden.

    It helps to expose the child predators, but it also helps to expose those high ranking officials who continue to cover up these sex crimes.
    Victims wish for the full truth to be exposed so that no other child is sexually abused.
    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511, SNAPJudy@gmail.com
    SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,

  7. Sorry, But we’re sorry doesn’t cut it!!!! Those words “We’re sorry doesn’t help or cure the pain that we survivors have and will have for the rest of our lives. I suppose I shouldn’t say we. Instead, I’m speaking for my self😭😰.. Some survivors and their families may be forgiving but I can’t forgive or forget!!

    1. Judy Jones said it all for me!!! I can’t speak of it without falling apart and crying, nightmares continue and even though it was not my fault ,I still feel guilt and embaracment. A 6 yr old child at the time!!! I cannot go to church , go to confess my sins to maybe a Pedofile ,Much less see a nun without feeling anger!!!

    2. You are so right. The AOP has a long, long, road to travel before it can meet any standard of morality, faithfulness to the Lord, etc.

      Accountable and transparent? Really?

      Now, Chaput has authorized scare techniques including, “loss of employment, loss of pension benefits, loss of Churches and Schools.”

      But hey, Chaput has said he’s really tired of hearing complaints saying, “What else do they want?”

      People in the pews in the AOP have not idea of the real financial status of the archdiocese and Chaput will direct priests, PACC and their lobbyists to do whatever it takes to make sure it stays that way and BTW, look at what’s taking place in Minn/St. Paul lately here:


      and on bishopaccountability.org/abusetracker

      or go directly to:


      In the name of God what more has to happen to move the good people of Pennsylvania of whatever stripe to do the right thing; contact their legislators and tell them to do the same.

      Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia – 2005

      Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia – 2011

      Grand Jury Report on the Altoona/Johnstown Diocese – 2016

      Penn State, Sandusky, Joe Paterno

      At most recently:

      The Solebury School in New Hope, PA (Bucks County)


      Shall I go on…?

      Sister Maureen Paul Turlish SNDdeN
      Advocate for Victim/Survivors & Legislative Reform
      Founding Member of CatholicWhistleblowers.com & The National Survivor Advocates Coalition
      Board Member of Voice of the Faithful – Greater Philadelphia

  8. OWLFAN, thank you for your excellent essay.

    Particularly disturbing, in my opinion, is Chaput’s (and priests who act as his mouthpiece) arrogant intent to manipulate and intimidate the sheep with the threat of school closings, the suspension of Catholic programs, etc. A Church that has spent decades covering up the sexual abuse of children and continues to balk at accountability is NOT necessary, all-important, vital, key, imperative, invaluable, or indispensable. It’s corrupt!

    Honorable Catholics will see through the unscrupulous attempt to use and control them, and will possess, if need be, the wisdom and imagination to reinvent “life after” an institution that, for good reason, “breathed its last” due to its abominable and ongoing sins and crimes.

    word5915, you are correct. “We’re sorry” does not merit forgiveness. Mercy without justice is a moral obscenity and evil.

  9. I’m reading these comments and realize that manipulation, intimidation and emotional blackmail are apt descriptions of the Church’s present tactics. It’s not surprising, given the corruption and coverups that have created this situation. Any one looking for the Church to take the high road on this are bound to be disappointed. Perhaps a complete upheaval is what is necessary and warranted. Too much attention to the disruption of the Church’s status quo and too little attention to the victims lifelong suffering is why we are where we are.

    1. Michael, My first thought when I read the catholicphilly article was this isn’t Denver….Goodluck Archbishop Chaput with your agenda because local Philadelphia catholics aren’t gonna buy into the “save the church” propaganda.

    2. In Philly, Chaput is relying on an old paradigm that worked in Denver, but public opinion– thanks to knowledge, information, education, reports resulting from investigations, claims made by survivors, etc.– has drastically changed since then. The Church is notorious for ignoring both public opinion and enlightenment and it’s paid for it over the centuries. Chaput is entrenched in the Church’s historically arrogant, anti-intellectual, and self-protecting-at-all-costs mindset. He’ll lose, along with his loyal priests and sheep. The lack of leadership is mind-blowing.

  10. The reactions of the AOP have been consistent in that they continuously deny any liability and will only submit to some effort to restore the lives of the victims when there is incontrovertible evidence of rape. I listened to my own pastor’s response after they were found to have housed four pedophiles in the two parishes to which I belonged and I found the response totally insufficient. I did find one priest who has very regrettably passed away who was rebuked for standing up and criticizing Bevilaqua at the mandatory assembly for priests after the 2005 report. He stood in the pulpit and summarized the news stories as well as the reaction of the priests he knew best. Then he and the associate pastor stood there and wept. He told us there was a letter from the cardinal which he didn’t have the heart to read aloud and that we could get copies after church if we wanted. Based on my discussions with him, I found it necessary to leave the church after his death. He told me the clergy are spiritual advisers and not dictators. I said that the actions of the AOP demonstrated that they were less than authoritative on matters of faith and morals. He agreed and said that if it came down to a conflict between the a bishop and my conscience that I should follow my conscience. I doubt that Chaput would buy into that idea.

    My faith is very important to me and I felt adrift without a morally trustworthy leadership so I began surveying other churches in my community. I finally settled on a Lutheran congregation that supports my faith quite effectively. The theological differences are irrelevant to my faith such as the perpetual virginity of Mary, the bodily assumption of Mary and the whole issue of transubstantiation vs consubstantiation. I liked the fact that they asked for prayerful consideration of their moral advice, but that my conscience was the final arbiter of my moral code. I would encourage others who are unhappy with the AOP and feel as if they are following a false prophet in their bishops to consider looking for another faith community that meets their needs. It is a terrible thing to lose your faith, and everyone deserves a community that supports it. The AOP will say that this is a mortal sin, but remember, they also said that child rape was not a big deal under man’s or God’s law.

  11. What does it mean that, on the whole church has become one of the last bastions of bigotry in a country celebrating love and equality!

  12. I hope some intelligent people see theough this and either walk out of mass or decide to switch to another denomination. If I still went to church i would walk out in the middle when this was read!

  13. You are so right! You and countless others were innocent victims. My thoughts and prayers are with you for all the pain you have suffered. The church comes across as a bureaucratic red tape system instead of standing together as a whole to say they are sorry to the victims. To say one on one that “I am sorry” is good but gathering as a united front denouncing the sins of the clergy is a much more effective way to apologize. As far as bankrupting the church. …oh well! The church has to attend to their flock which means the innocent abuse of children. The hierarchy should have stopped this abuse decades ago as much was known and kept secret. Had they done this, they might find themselves in less strapped financial distress. I am so very sorry for all of you that suffer from the terrors you faced in your past. I will pray for all of you.

  14. I just recently learned that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is planning to run TV spots in opposition to the Statute of Limitations reform bill set to go before the Pennsylvania State Senate sometime in June. Featured in the spots will not be the illustrious Archbishop Chaput nor a cadre of priests or Bishops. Instead will be a group of lay Catholic workers who work in the parishes in various positions. Lay people will be the messengers. Evidently the PR people realize that any message from Chaput or priests in their priestly garb will not at this time do much for their cause. The Catholic Church has a long history of making themselves out to be the victim. This has often saved them in the courts and the court of public opinion. You must realize that according to them the real victims in this case are the multitude of people who work in the parishes who may lose their jobs if SOL legislation is passed .The PR people will not lose their jobs. The high priced lawyers employed by the Church will not lose their jobs .The Archbishop and his Denver cronies will not lose their jobs .Only the little people will suffer.It amazes me that the Church only cries poor when it comes to clergy abuse victims. They have money to run TV spots that are certainly not cheap. They always seem to have money for lawyers who we all know cost a lot.Their PR people, I am sure are paid well. Personally, I advocate for victims of clergy abuse not because I want anything from the Catholic Church. I have never received one penny from the Church where I was abused. I have no interest in their money. At the same time, I support others who want to be compensated for their pain and suffering. What I want and what I believe most victims want is for the Catholic Church to be held accountable for what their priests have done in abusing children. I want the Church to be held accountable for the many victims who were abused after they knew that the problem existed and covered it up by transferring known predators to other parishes.The only way that victims have received any amount of justice is through the court system. Unfortunately the Statute of Limitations on these crimes is not sufficient to bring justice to the real victims. I was twelve when I was molested. I was forty when I was able to start to deal with the after effects.I am by far the rule and not the exception.AgainThe Catholic Church needs to be held accountable.

  15. Sunday, May 29.

    If anyone attended Mass this weekend, would you please report on whether your parish priest used the pulpit to regurgitate Chaput’s agenda to avoid accountability and obstruct SOL reform? Were steps outlined for parishioners to jump on the disgraceful bandwagon?

    Thank you.

    1. The parish I went to on Sunday didn’t mention the Bill at all. I quickly browsed the bullentin headlines too…nothing there either. Nothing mentioned at a different parish I went to last week either.

  16. Should not those who were involved pay, not those who are the church ? Their pensions, perks, etc. – get a real job to support yourself ?

    1. Frank, in the case of the Catholic Church, individual priests sexually abused children but the institution, itself, fostered it and covered it up for decades (if not centuries). The institution was grossly negligent, acted criminally (indeed on the level of organized crime), and is, therefore, liable. Under US law, an institution (i.e. the Catholic Church) is responsible for the actions of its employees (i.e. offending priests) if it did not provide appropriate supervision or did not have adequate policies and procedures to deal with, in this case, crimes of sexual abuse. Irrefutably, the Church failed on all accounts.

      Because “we are the Church,” and because the Church is mainly comprised of innocent members, presumably like you and millions of others around the world, and because the vast majority of the Church’s assets are comprised of the donations of innocent members, does not alleviate the institutional Church from its liability to pay for its crimes.

      Innocent members of the Church should consider just how innocent the institution is to which they are affiliated and financially invested.

    2. Frank: The vast majority of childhood sex abuse victims work very hard at our jobs as adults to support ourselves and our families.I was sexually molested by A Catholic priest some fifty five years ago. The current bill before the Pennsylvania State Senate will do nothing to compensate me for years of pain and suffering from the abuse.Because of my age[I am sixty seven], I will not be able to file any claims. The cutoff is age fifty.In many ways the Church is getting away easy because there are thousands of victims who cannot get justice for these crimes committed against them as children. This was a compromise that was made because the Church didn’t think it was fair to have to defend cases from forty or fifty years ago.Now they claim it is unfair because public Institutions cannot be held accountable for actions of their employees. The fact of the matter is that even if this were not the case, the Archbishop would do or say anything to avoid taking responsibility.

  17. Our priest spoke at length about it last weekend referencing sexual abuse of children countless times. After receiving complaints he was more mellow this weekend and just mentioned a short blurb. The church’s main argument is that the bill is unfair because it is more lenient towards public institutions vs private (such as the church). Any suggestions on how to counter such an argument?

    1. Mudarissa: This whole defense reminds me of when I was a child, and myself and a friend were caught doing something that we were not suppose to be doing. I was punished severely and my friend got no punishment at all. When I complained about the unfairness my parents explained that what I did was wrong and deserved to be punished. It was the duty of my friends’ parents to discipline their own child. Of course as a child I still didn’t think it was fair. Bishops in many ways still think like children. Rather than take responsibility for their own actions, they point their fingers at others .If I were to get drunk , get in my car and get in an accident and kill somebody, I would be held responsible. That is the law and it is right. Not too many years ago, this was not the case and people got away with drunk driving. Now if when I was charged , I defended myself by saying there are other people on the road who drive drunk. I would be laughed out of court. What the Archbishop refuses to do, is take responsibility for the sexual abuse of innocent children.Now he may point the finger at school teachers or whoever else he wants to, but at some point in time, he needs to become and adult and take responsibility for what he and his fellow Bishops past and present failed to do: take responsibility.

    2. In February 1970, the bishop wrote Boyle to inform him no charges were filed: “The D.A. is disposed to do this: To withhold the filing of formal charges as well as a pressing for extradition,” Hogan said, as long as he guaranteed that Boyle not re-enter the area or hold parochial assignment “until professionally recommended,” and that the priest place himself under psychiatric care. Hogan concluded the letter, “Your priestly life and effectiveness is my sole concern — as it is yours.”

      Less than a year later, Boyle returned from “sick leave,” with allegations arising he groped a boy in 1971, raped another between 1973 and 1975, and forced a third in 1982 to perform oral sex. In 1995, Adamec sent Boyle for treatment and the priest ultimately retired later that year.


      The RCC has and had unbelievable influence over government officials and used the separation of powers and confession to protect itself. Could still remember in the 1970’s bringing up child sex abuse while fighting for veterans rights in DC. Again, I would have more success talk to the wall – less BS We had the kids for cash problem in PA – I m sure many institutions have protected themselves, but like kids for cash and the many institutions Sister mention above – they are paying the consequences, I hope this opens the that NE Philly moved to Lewes DE pediatrician case and has his records opened in Philly. How many parents don’t know their kids where abused as infants? Yes, places like Penn State (innocent student_ may suffer because the insurance policy may not cover there losses and make no mistake the insurance companies are also fighting this tooth and nail.

    3. It also would protect children in families etc where abuse occurred. It was interesting I waz at a meeting and the priest acknowledged most of the people that he counseled were abused in families not private or public school so why is the church making this into a public vs private school issue. Also he said the superpressed memory theory waz debunked and that how lawyers use that theory in court is not widely accepted anymore. He also said these abuse cases were from years ago and couldn’t be defended. But in reality civil suits are brought in many cases not just for criminal compensation but release of church documents that in some recent cases show the church waz deliberately waiting for statue of limations to expire. So the reason many of these cases are not prosecuted in the past is the church had knowledge of abuse but was trying to cover up information til statues expired. Crime laws are not retroactive so many times survivors sue civilly to name there abuser. If they aren’t able to criminal prosecute and can’t civilly sue if the name their abuser victims have been sued for I believe slander etc. So basically you could be sued for informing the public and trying to protect kids.

      1. And Parents and others were constantly threaten with the threat of a lawsuit. At Children’s hospital in DC and several other organizations told me in the 1980’s they could not protect me.Also, because of the confidential resrtictions the priests testimony would not be allowed in court This was after a long contacted problem in 1978 over veteran abuse. Please don’t get into my vow of obedience, went to Northeast High School in the late 60’s where grandparents of students I knew where branded with numbers as many also knew those that went to the gas chambers. It became a stalemate for the veteran issue and the rape/child abuse issue took to the mid 80’s to start protecting whisleblowers. Personnel issues was the main protecting for the Protestant minister. One just committed suicide a few years ago when his child abuse issues became public. I still am amazed of people who protect child abusers in public because they are still afraid of the consequences but in private are angry. Hopefully, more will come forward against all child sex abusers know these cases will come forward

    4. Mudarissa, I (along with you, I presume) am still waiting for a substantive answer to your excellent question: “The Church’s main argument is that the bill is unfair because it is more lenient towards public institutions vs private (such as the Church). Any suggestions on how to counter such an argument?”

      I would love to hear someone like Marci Hamilton respond to your question. Others, too, are prepared to offer substantive answers. Please, let’s hear them. Thank you.

      1. If the many questions are answered truthfully, it may further divide an already weak coalition. Those of us who had to endure the problem of who rape was worse for women or men or whether acquaintance rape was less of a problem than stranger rape. Or the statements for responding officers ie seen worse, why are you out so late. Judge who said a victim was too ugly or you are a kid you’ll get over it. The and these statements make little sense together, but we continue to watch defense attorneys take victims’ statements (Cosby edits) and jury prejudices against the victims. So it will be without a knowledgeable answer that won’t be picked apart.
        When I contacted and gave info to lawyers for the Delaware case I didn’t get a condescending response as they picked my brain for info.

        So don’t mind that we want to focus on what the church did and not what the others did when responding to the RCC tactics. I wonder what the priest would say if someone’s defense is that the other guy did it also.

        Also, confession is protected by the law and anyone who has been a religious who worked with child abuse knows the easiest way to quiet a potential witness is to go to confession.Something public school does not have. Any one who has dealt with public school rape/child molesting knows they should be accountable and if that isn’t in the bill it should be.

  18. Thanks to all for your replies ! Lot to think about here. All good. But can there even be an afterlife if they say do not do it or go to hell, yet they can and do but will not go to hell ???
    As always, we are with you who have been abused like in the military and Memorial day – 20 suicides per day – what can we do to help ? – positive not negative. All welcome to respond. Heartfelt and sincere thanks to all as we continue to do good despite it all

    1. I am beyond the age of 50 but know a younger woman violated by a man in the next town. My abuser is dead but she sees hers in the grocery store or walking down the street. Always worrying that he is victimizing other girls and totally helpless to do anything sbout it! Another friend said her abuser lived 3 blocks away. She also freared for other girls. The guy was a pillar in his church. All those years knowing that these criminals are put there free to hurt more kids because the girls were afraid and embarrased to say anything when they were young.
      It took me 45 years to find my voice. Not even my husband knew. Now he understands all my PTSD issues

      1. I do not wish to give false hope to those over 50 but let me tell you what I’m hearing. I recently received a letter in the mail from a attorney named Mr. Monohan. He informed me although the way this bill has been written will only assist those 50 and younger there is always the possibility of the law to be amended to assist ALL victims of clergy abuse. Now I will not hold my breath waiting for that to happen because I believe Chaput to be the type of person to close up shop before having to face all victims of sexual abuse within the archdiocese.

        Something else that I have been hearing straight from 17th street is Chaput is crunching numbers like he has never done before. He has been asking what the archdiocese has been paying out for victim assistance such as doctor, therapy, medication and mileage bills.

        I can only surmise two things. Chaput will look at ways to cut the funding for such assistance but I don’t see how he could since the charter has been put in place or he is looking to settle with one lump some for those receiving those benefits. If the later is true this is when each of us must decide what is best for us and our families. I have read here one woman estimate the church paid almost $245,000 for her assistance and for me who sees a therapist 3x a week. my wife 2x a week and our child once a week, no small check is worth the help our family is receiving.

        I have a good feeling the senate will sign this bill into law next month, and even if it does not help some of us I feel each and everyone of us should be proud that in someway we did something to make it happen.

        P.S. If anyone is hearing any other information please post it.

        1. Well he might be using the numbers in the commercial he’s trying to finish making too. Time will tell.

  19. I just want to say to our survivors that there are many catholics that love you and are fighting for you and to please pray for us and everyone involved as this is a spiritual battle as well as a earthly battle and pray sustains and supports us. Please pray especially for courage, humility, wisdom and compassion. Thankyou and God Bless all of us on this site and working for children and survivors in PA.

  20. From today’s Inquirer, a quote from the letter that Chaput wrote to financial advisors – “in the name of justice the bill would steal from the parents, children, disabled and elderly people of our church and the ministries they rely on.” And they wonder why we are angry?

  21. I just listened to our priest read the letter from Chaput in lieu of a homily. Pretty much ruined the rest of mass for me. I was tempted to withhold putting my envelope in. Is there any way to designate our donation go strictly to the parish and not the archdiocese?

    1. Same thing happened to me. Went to mass because it was the CYO mass for my children. In lieu of a homily, the letter was read. The same letter that was also emailed to me yesterday. The priest, who is also the pastor, said he was sorry to talk about this business during the cyo mass, but it didn’t stop him from doing so, obedient priest that he is. I had to walk out. I felt it was very inappropriate. So much for going to mass to feel renewed each week. I am angry and disgusted. There were also papers given out but I didn’t take one.

        1. Oh it is my understanding that a certain amount of collections go to AD. The only way around it is if your parish will let you name exactly what you want your money used for. For example money is only to be used for heating etc. You have to call your parish to see if they will agree to this arrangement.

    2. I wonder how many parishioners, if any, got up and walked out when their priests/pastors started reading Chaput’s letter?

      Sister Maureen

  22. I feel your pain ..😢 I agree with everything you are saying .. After many nights of nightmares and knowing things just weren’t right , I recently found out what was really going on .. I had a bad fall which brought out regressed reasons for fear of priests and nuns.. It’s a long Horrid Story , True Story !! I can no longer go to Church,much less confession or even see a nun or priest without wanting to scream out my pain … I am 70 now and abuse started at age 6 to ??? I remembered through therapy at age 69 what happened !! I am ashamed and don’t want my family or husband to know…Its to late for me to do anything since the abusers that continue to cause me pain are dead!!! It’s not fair because I can’t even face them !! Now , the only ones I can talk to are all the survivors and you and most of all God.. I live in New Mexico and not much is being said here that I know of ..I know there has been alot of abuse here especially in little towns.. I just pray for all of you and myself that these Preditors to pay for what they have done to all of us .. Other people go to prison for rapes while the Priests and Nuns hide behind their churches and live comfortably while we , Survivors live our our lives in complete sadness , live with our fears,live with our tears , embarrassment, even though not our faults, nightmares and blame , again , not our fault. I need to keep telling my self , Not My Fault!!! I can’t sue because it happened so many years ago and abuse lasted for 7-8 years. A lot more to what happened to me in those 7-8 years. The only way I can let everyone know the Whole Story is to write a book.. I just need to find someone to write it for me since I can’t afford to pay for it myself ..I want Everyone to read my story… Especially parents who have so much faith in catholic schools and churches .. I know abuse happens in other churches and Girl and Boy Scouts etc , but what happened to me by a priest and nun is unforgivable!!!!

    1. word5915;I am truly sorry for all the pain that you have gone through. Keep telling yourself that you are not to blame.Tell yourself that because you are truly not to blame.As victims of sexual abuse, most of us blame ourselves. But we were children. We were innocent. The priests and nuns who abused us are the ones to blame. I understand your frustration because your perpetrators are deceased.So is mine.Please don’t stop talking about what happened to you as a child. I believe that telling your story to sympathetic listeners is paramount in helping you to heal. Tell it to whomever will listen as many times as you can. I believe that telling and retelling your story will eventually lessen the pain. Eventually you will not cry when you tell it. As far as writing a book, feel free to start writing that book.It may or may not be published but it will help you in your healing.You have been in therapy. If you can afford it keep doing that. If not try to get into some peer couseling.I am sixty seven, just a few years younger than you.Our lives have been damaged because of what happened to us as children.But I truly believe that at no matter what age, we can heal.You have an inner strength that you can lean on. You have survived through all the pain and suffering.

  23. I think its appalling that Chaput is using the sanctity of the church and his priests to once again fight changes of the SOL laws. I can only hope many Catholics walked out of church thinking what does my church fear because of these changes ?

    One also must remind themselves if torn between the decision of donating to the collection plate or not especially if you are a survivor of clergy abuse that money you donate can very well be used against you in fighting changes in the SOL laws. Chaput has done it before by spending tens of thousands of dollars to fight against the very thing we want to see happen.

      1. And Catholics in the 5 counties of the AOP have never ever received a full, I mean full, total, detailed financial accounting. Add the fact that Catholics in the pews have no idea of the properties, not those properties used for ministerial purposes, that belong to the AOP, no matter the names on the deeds.

  24. Sister, that is exactly the point. We do not know all of the details of the archdiocesan finances, holdings, assets, etc. It all comes back to the understanding that the parishioners really have no legal standing in the operation and management of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. That opinion was offered to the USCCB by its former long-time legal counsel, Mark Chopko, now of Stradley Ronan, many years ago when he was counsel to the American cardinals and bishops. For Chaput to claim that the “sky is falling” financially due to the prospect of the proposed SOL legislation is without merit UNLESS he stands up and “shows us the money.”

    1. word5915: I am sorry I made that statement.What I was trying to say was that it is very difficult to get a book published and the benefits of you writing a book would be there whether it is published or not. I am sure you will find a publisher. Good luck in all of your endeavors. You deserve only the best.

  25. When i went to church years ago i only donated sprcfically to the building fund and progams that were not assessed for a % to the institution like the weekly collection
    If i still went to church i wojld have marched right out down the center aisle when that letter was read
    For the victim who is 70 i have to share that my husbsnd didnt know until i was 60. I read Miss America by Day. The autobiographt of Marilyn van Derbur. This helped me understand my behaviors and helped my husbsnd understand my issues after i could connect the dots. I decided to sue the church and religious order and in the process needed to write out a detailed
    account of the abuse and how it impacted me emotionally, physically, socially, etc. This had a cleansing healing effect. Knowing why i startled so easily and pushed my husband away when he leaned over to kiss me (which was a PTSD trigger from the position if attack). The nightmares have subsided
    Expressing my anger at the institution has relieved a bit of internal temsion that has given me years of digestive pain and problems

    1. PS. Its never too late to begin the healing process. I also connected with 2 other victims of priest abuse we encourage each other through the ups and downs. There is strength in nimbers.

Leave a Reply