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Monday 02 August |
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Pennsylvania Legislators Say They Are Being Targeted for “Retribution” by Catholic Church

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/09/16

From Philly.com: 

One lawmaker called it “electioneering.” Another grew emotional as she recounted being snubbed by a priest. A third penned a Facebook screed that became the buzz of the House of Representatives.
 Legislators expressed outrage this week after they said they had been named by priests at Mass, in church bulletins or in some other way rebuked by the Catholic Church for supporting a bill that would let child sex-abuse victims sue individuals and private institutions decades after the abuse occurred.
Rep. Nick Miccarelli, a devout Catholic from Delaware County, said he was stunned on Sunday to see his name printed alongside what he called “lies,” and “distortions” in the weekly bulletin at his Eddystone parish. By his count, at least a dozen other House members reported having been singled out by the church or its advocates in recent days. “A lot of the members would tell you responses have been nothing short of threats to claims of betraying their faith,” Miccarelli, a Republican first elected in 2008, said the day after his Facebook post about the campaign quickly made the rounds in Harrisburg. Several of the legislators, each of whom faces re-election this fall, said they were targeted for retribution as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput leads a push to stop the bill from becoming law. The measure would give victims until age 50 – instead of 30, as the current law allows – to sue their abusers or the institutions that employed or supervised them. It won near unanimity in the House this spring, but faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. The church, among the biggest opponents, has warned that the bill’s retroactivity could lead to a wave of lawsuits and unfairly cripple parishes and schools that deserve no blame for sexual attacks that happened decades ago. Ken Gavin, a spokesman for Chaput, confirmed that archdiocesan pastors this weekend in “many instances” shared with worshipers how certain lawmakers had voted on the bill. To Santora, the naming of lawmakers inside churches and in parish bulletins smacked of “electioneering.” He questioned the propriety of the church telling worshipers, as he saw it, that they were not worthy of votes come November. It also bothered Santora that, to the church, it made no difference that he had helped secure millions of public dollars to help the archdiocese finance the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia. Or that his late mother worked for the archdiocese. Or that his children attend Catholic school. “We’re constantly advocating for the church,” Santora said in an interview, “and now we’re the enemy.”

Read it all. 

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