Archbishop Charles Chaput issued a letter July 14 updating the faithful of the Philadelphia Archdiocese on the status of a bill that proposes to lift the statutes of limitation on civil lawsuits of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.
The letter in English and Spanish was dated for this weekend, July 16-17, and sent to all priests and deacons in the archdiocese via email along with several supporting documents showing the long-term effects of child sexual abuse for adult survivors and numerous resources to which abuse victims in Philadelphia, its four suburban counties and statewide may turn for help.
Another document (in English and Spanish) in the package detailed the church’s assistance to victims of clergy sexual abuse, both in implemented policies and financial assistance of some $18 million over recent years.
Also included was information to help the clergymen offer pastoral care to survivors of child sexual abuse in their parish.
The archbishop’s letter describes House Bill 1947’s “potential to devastate our parishes, schools, and charitable ministries” because of civil lawsuits that could be filed against private institutions such as Catholic parishes and dioceses in the state if the bill were to become law. The House bill was approved in April.
The Senate approved an amended version of the bill last month that “stripped retroactive provisions of the bill pertaining to the civil statute of limitations covering sexual abuse” because the Senate Judiciary Committee had determined such provisions were unconstitutional, according to the letter.
The Senate bill will be considered in the House of Representatives, which “we expect will take place in the fall,” the archbishop wrote.
He invited parishioners and clergy to “join in praying for all of our elected officials who work hard to serve our communities each day.”
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the bishops of Pennsylvania, this week also provided its own detailed update on the status of HB 1947.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: