Local Christian Leaders Support HB 1947

Click here to read: “Applauding local religious leaders for acknowledging ‘a great sin,'” by the Lancaster Online Editorial Board, June 20, 2016

Excerpt: Earlier this month, Lancaster County religious leaders from a mix of Christian denominations added their names to a letter to the state Senate Judiciary Committee. They urged quick passage in the Senate of House Bill 1947, which was approved overwhelmingly in the state House in April. The bill would abolish the statute of limitations for future criminal cases of child sexual abuse, and extend by 20 years the time for victims to bring civil suits against their assailants and an agency whose negligence enabled the abuse. Victims would have until age 50 to initiate civil cases under the bill. The proposed law would be retroactive, meaning victims now 30 to 50 years old could still bring civil suits. The retroactive provision in the bill is strongly opposed by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference — the public affairs arm of the Catholic dioceses in this state — and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill last Monday.

15 thoughts on “Local Christian Leaders Support HB 1947

  1. The Pennsylvania legislature has dragged its heels on this issue for all too many years. It seems more beholden to the influence and power of the Catholic Church than to healing the victims of decades of sexual abuse and rape. Not just healing – but JUSTICE. Justice takes precedence over religion in a real democracy.

    I would also say that Pope Francis needs to use the power and influence of the Vatican and force the local Catholic hierarchy to heed Scripture: IN AS MUCH AS YE DO IT UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE,YE DO IT UNTO ME. and, SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME, FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

    Even I know that, and I am not a believer.

  2. I haven’t been to church in weeks and I am glad that I haven’t because I would not want to hear preaching from the alter about how we need to contact our legislators to vote against the bill. I read that last week they handed out postcards after mass to send to legislators. I have also talked to some friends that are members of our parish and they are just regurgitating what has been preached to them like sheep. They don’t do any reading or investigating of their own.

    So to me the big thing the church is trying to say, aside from the financial impact, is that the bill is not fair in the way that is handles public institutions concerning this issue. From what I read public institutions have sovereign immunity and also have a cap on how much money they would have to pay out.

    I do believe that the church is trying to use this as an excuse to push back and complain so they do not have to pay additional money out to victims. And they are spreading fake info to parishioners that public institutions can’t be sued at all which isn’t true.

    Isn’t there a way the legislators can change the language of the bill to make it more even for public and private so the church can use that as a talking point to parishioners for why this isn’t a just bill?

    I come from a family of long time Catholics. But for me I am so disgusted that this abuse has happened over all these years (an still today) and completely sick of how the church has handled this issue. To me, the victims deserve their day and if that means the church goes down in flames in financial ruin then so be it! Then maybe it can rebuild new and stronger, reflecting the real teachings and ways of God.

    1. Karen: For years Archbishop Chaput complained about SOL legislation because it would force the Catholic Church to defend against lawsuits that were decades ago where many of those involved[priests and those abused]were either deceased or would have foggy memories of the abuse.As a survivor of clergy abuse that happened fifty five years ago, I recall that day like yesterday .Be that as it is, The current legislation was devised so that those of us over fifty will not be able to file a law suit.You don’t hear the Archbishop complaining that this bill is unfair to those of us over fifty. No matter what was done to this legislation, Chaput would be against it. His only concern now and the only concern he has ever shown is to protect the financial assets of the Church.He simply cannot see pass the money .I believe that victims of clergy sexual abuse deserve justice.My priotity is not about money but to expose what was done to victims here in Pennsylvania,how the Catholic Church knew what was happening and deliberately covered it up.To have that exposed in a court of law is justice.

    1. Karen I asked Fr. Delacy if the AD was so concerned about protection and fairness why hasn’t the church been proactive in leading the way for justice and protection for all kids. He couldn’t answer me. Because the catholic church in philly doesn’t really see our children as a priority. They care more for money and reputation and may God have mercy on their souls. As for priests preaching at mass to block the HB 1947 I went to church this Sunday and not a word was spoken about it. I waz in NJ a few Sundays but the Sundays I have gone in Pa nothing has been said about this Bill. I think some priests have drank more of the kool-aid then others.

    1. Well said. Great article. Like Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your neighbor and to love your neighbor as yourself and these 4 legislatures demonstrate that very ideal.

  3. The four Catholic lawmakers – Harkins, Bizzarro, Rozzi, Dean – are living and practicing their Catholic faith, the faith that teaches us to stand up for social justice, for the innocent children, and most especially, for the victims who have suffered heartache, pain, suffering and devastation across a lifetime because the PA CATHOLIC LEADERSHIP chose to protect the institution and NOT THE CHILDREN.

    How dare any one of the bishops and archbishops in dioceses and archdioceses across the state bully, intimidate and harangue the parishes, pastors and parishioners into participating in such an UNHOLY effort as trying to defeat child and victim-centered legislation.

    Of course, these RCC “leaders” simply refuse to understand first and foremost that it is not THEIR church, but the church of families, parents, single adults, children, homosexual parishioners, those with disabilities, physical and psychiatric, parishioners of many ethnic and racial backgrounds. WE, THE CHURCH, will not allow our children and our victims to be silenced and not be able to receive justice. Make no mistake, the children and sexual abuse victims of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will, in the end, WIN this battle. There is no nobler cause then to protect our children.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

  4. A thank you to all four of these legislators. A special shot out to Madeline Dean. I attended 8th grade and high school with her brother, Harry.

    1. Thank you for contacting me by e-mail. If you have not done so already, please include your home address in your e-mail and I will respond to you as quickly as possible. If you do not live in my Senatorial district, I may not be able to respond due to the high number of e-mails I receive daily.

      Made sure HB 1947 in the heading guess I should write HB 1947 withe Rozzi amendments.

      not that it matters but here is what I wrote:

      Senator :Scarnati

      I am writing in support of HB 1947 with the Rozzi amendments.

      This is being written for those abused by the Oblates of St Francis De Sales and the Catholic Church especially for those who wold have been saved if the Judicial system acted properly. For those young children who employers raped while nothing was done when reported. For those kids who I did my best to help reform while, according to a Grand Jury report, were at a home exposed to a child molesting priest.For those who can not speak because of incest and the strong bonds of the family and weak safeguards for child welfare I know that I contacted or the witness in these save one. As a young teenager I did contact the owner. of one shop the others the kids were too afraid.

      Now I read of men in there late 70′ and 80’s molesting young girls. We need to identify these people. Still remember the number of people asking how ti identify infant rape victims, of course PA sent that trash to Delaware and the records seal.

      Allowing his bill the chance to pass and if needed challenged by the courts. You are continuing to lose ground, Some of th victims are so brainwashed they don’t understand that raping a child is wrong. I have heard that as both a teacher and a religious from the actual predators. Put some trust into government. Maybe more parents will report abuse it they know the survivor’s opinion counts.

      Edward F Gunn

      Usually try to call but my ability to speak is a problem today – stroke.

      1. Awesome Edward. Especially a out the 70 year olds. My perp molested little girls when elderly 20 years after he violated me

        1. Suzpt, What you and other are doing is awesome, I am just writing an email – the least anyone can do know the evil that happens in this world. Remembered in the 70’s the war against rape reminded the victims how many victims each predator had and unless we brought the person to justice more will suffer.

          I always told people that they did what they needed to survive and now I am glad they are here to write their stories. Priests had all the power years ago, now you have it, thank you for using it save our children

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