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Catholics must stand together against abuse

Bravo, George Foster.

His candid open letter to Catholics was bold, blunt and necessary to blast the faithful out of passivity. It is an important question to ask what each Catholic will do. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) Investigative Grand Jury (GJ) report lays out the facts and consequences of the bishops’ criminal behavior and the lookaway antics of others.

Here are some ugly truths:

1) The local diocese/Vatican hides pedophiles. Read the GJ report. Read the 2014 United Nations report from the Committee on the Rights of the Child where it condemns the Vatican for its continued global sexual abuse of children and continued practices to move clergy and cover it up.

Search bishopaccountability

.org for a current national and global update on child sexual abuse.

2) It’s not a scandal, it’s a crime, which brings me to:

3) The Catholic church preaches eternity and hides behind statute of limitations (SOL) for reporting childhood sexual abuse. These are sickening truths.

Bishop Mark Bartchak’s response “that’s a speculative question” was illuminating. Again, the GJ report will provide insight. The OAG did not condemn Bartchak, but the GJ felt the purging of predators was taking too long, and the onslaught of attorneys the GJ had to wade through in obtaining its evidence was concerning.

The Catholic church has paid millions of dollars to countless victims and crushes them again with oppressive gag agreements. Read the GJ report.

The Catholic Bishops Conference opposes elimination of SOL in whatever state is considering reform. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania are strong obstructionists of reform.

The arguments that memories fade and people just want money are farcical. Justice was denied these victims when they found their voice, and if they can summon the courage again the burden of proof is on them.

Isn’t it difficult to support an institution that would block SOL reform for all other victims outside of the realm of the church?

Here’s where all citizens must act. SOL reform is necessary for victims to have justice. Their lives were shattered by these heinous acts. House Bill (HB)1947 is the current SOL reform Bill that was passed by the House and is now in the Senate for consideration.

Please contact local legislators Rep. Judy Ward and Rep. John McGinnis, who both voted no to HB 1947, to voice your support for its passage.

Contact Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask that the bill be voted on without changes for the full Senate to vote.

Search the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA) website, which provides convenient links to legislators to urge their support in passing this current reform bill. Additionally, you can visit snapnetwork.org and sign the petition to stop the bullying and SOL-Reform.com to view current states’ proposals and legislation.

I will be out in front of the Diocese Office every first of the month at noon to remember and support these victims and recognize the significance of the OAG investigation and grand jury report.

I welcome any other supporters to join me. I cannot change the Catholic church, as only the collection baskets will affect true overhaul of its hierarchy’s shameless tactics. However, SOL reform can be the goal of every citizen who puts the protection of its innocent children to the forefront.

Consider: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Rosalind Merritts

Hollidaysburg

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