PA--Archbishop manipulates parishioners in political ad
For immediate release: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Philadelphia’s top Catholic official plans to use parishioners in a political ad in a battle to reform Pennsylvania’s predator-friendly child sex abuse laws. Shame on him and on every church staffer and member who’s cooperating in this deceitful effort.
This Friday, May 27th, from 6:30-8:30PM at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, archdiocesan officials will give a “short presentation on House Bill 1947” followed by “audience participation in filming a short commercial on this issue.” (See email from church official below)
The measure would temporarily lift the state’s arbitrary and archaic statute of limitations, enabling victims to expose those who committed and are concealing child sex crimes.
Shame on Bishop Timothy Senior who’s apparently going to be there. Shame on “Joyful Films” which is producing the ad. Shame on Archbishop Charles Chaput for approving this manipulative move.
It’s also deceptive to ask Catholics to “join” church officials “in creating a solution” that’s essentially a political propaganda advertisement designed to help continue hiding the names and wrongdoing of Catholic clerics who have assaulted children or are protecting those who assaulted children.
Finally, shame on Meghan Cokeley (215-587-5630, email@example.com) and Mary Cullinan (215-587-0500, firstname.lastname@example.org) of the archdiocesan "Office for the New Evangelization," which purports to “bring the Good News of Jesus into every human situation” and “gathering the world into Christ’s saving embrace.” They're deceiving donors and misusing church funds by letting Chaput raid their budget for his lobbying campaign against victims and families.
We hope donors who have given to the “New Evangelization” will protest this deceptive maneuver. We hope donors who are considering giving to the “New Evangelization” will contribute elsewhere.
We hope parishioners won’t be fooled or manipulated into becoming pawns in Chaput’s self-serving political fight.
Catholics who want to “help protect our local church” should be pushing for, not against, better child safety laws. What will really “protect” the church – and its families – is aggressively rooting out corrupt clerics and deterring more cover ups, which is precisely what a civil window will do.
No matter what else may happens Friday night, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.