Friday, November 30, 2007

Catholic sewer:

On November 26 the Inquirer published an Op-Ed by Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, a Delaware educator and victims' advocate. Sister Turlish wrote that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was basically giving sexual predators a pass by working to block legislation in Pennsylvania's state legislature that would lift the statues of limitations on priests who abused hundreds of children over the past 40 years or so.

She writes that she finds it "unconscionable that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia apparently is still of the opinion that sexual predators and abusers should not be held accountable." Unconscionable, perhaps, but not unbelievable. Judging from the 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which spelled out in painful detail the decades of cover-up orchestrated by the Archdiocese to shelter its priestly pedophiles it really should come as no great shock. Cardinal Justin Rigali's initial statement on the report that good Catholics shouldn't read it because he didn't "think it's of value to families," should give some hint to the state of denial the church is in.

In today's Inquirer the Archdiocese responded to Turlish' article in the Letters to the Editor section. Donna Farrel, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese (i.e. media flak), writes:

"The Archdiocese opposes expanding civil statutes of limitation for several reasons, including that the alleged offenders have died, potential witnesses and administrators have died, and files may no longer exist." [Because, perhaps, the church had them destroyed?]

Reason enough, why sue dead "alleged" abusers? Better just to contact the Archdiocese' "victim assistance coordinators" because the church has a great track record of helping victims of its priests.

Besides this legislation is patently anti-Catholic. There are all kinds of abusers and rapists out there, why pick on the poor Catholic church? Don't listen to the "secular media" on this issue. And remember, Rigali wrote in response to the report, "We must also pray for the members of the clergy who have perpetrated the abuse."

And don't worry about the fact that the church spent decades shielding child abusers from the police and used every means at its disposal to undermine the efforts of victims families to protect their children from the very church they entrusted their safety to.

The Grand Jury report spells out why this legislation should be passed and why the church is fighting so hard to keep it from happening . . .

"Dozens of priests sexually abused hundreds of children . . . Philadelphia Archdiocese officials – including Cardinal Bevilacqua and Cardinal Krol – excused and enabled the abuse . . . the law must be changed so that it doesn’t happen again. Some may be tempted to describe these events as tragic. Tragedies such as tidal waves, however, are outside human control. What we found were not acts of God, but of men who acted in His name and defiled it . . . But the biggest crime of all is this: it worked. The abuser priests, by choosing children as targets and trafficking on their trust, were able to prevent or delay reports of their sexual assaults, to the point where applicable statutes of limitations expired. And Archdiocese officials, by burying those reports they did receive and covering up the conduct, similarly managed to outlast any statutes of limitation. As a result, these priests and officials will necessarily escape criminal prosecution. We surely would have charged them if we could have done so."


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