PA--Archbishop manipulates parishioners in political ad

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

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 protected]) and Mary Cullinan (215-587-0500[email protected]) 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected])




Please help protect our local Church



Dear Friends in Christ,

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 1947, a proposal to remove the criminal statute of limitations (SoL) for childhood sexual abuse and raise the civil SoL from age 30 to 50 moving forward. It also retroactively extends the civil SoL from survivor’s age 30 to age 50. This bill would prospectively, but not retroactively, lift sovereign immunity so someone who is abused in a public institution in the future could sue the school district or government agency, but not in the past. 

To put it another way, civil claims that are currently time-barred would be revived until the victim reaches age 50 but only if that abuse occurred in a non-profit setting, as public schools and agencies would still be protected by sovereign immunity. Nonprofit and private organizations like Catholic parishes and schools could be sued for past cases, but not public schools. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. 

Please read this important article concerning this bill to better understand the issues at stake:

Please join us in creating a solution this Friday evening.

Friday, May 27th, 6:30-8:30PM

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary

100 E. Wynnewood Rd.
Wynnewood, PA

  • Short presentation on House Bill 1947
  • Audience participation in filming a short commercial on this issue
  • Holy Hour of prayer with Bishop Timothy Senior

View the flyer

We will have a brief presentation on the bill and the potential risks associated. In partnership with Joyful Films we are working to produce a short commercial which will educate the public on the severity of this issue and the need to act. We need your help to film a short group scene representing the Catholic Church alive in the Archdioceses of Philadelphia. Following our filming we will have a Holy Hour with Bishop Senior, presiding, to pray for this matter and the strength of our Church.

Please invite everyone you know who will stand with us to defend the Church. 

Thank you!

Meghan Cokeley
Office for the New Evangelization 
Archdiocese of Philadelphia





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