New Bills Target Innocent Catholics

Catholic Online [United States]
February 19, 2006

Hanover, Penn., February 18 -- State legislators in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan and New York, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Minnesota and Massachusetts have introduced bills that might severely cripple the Catholic Church as an institution, hurting its 67 million members. If approved, these bills will lift or extend retroactively statutes of limitations and permit thousands of civil tort lawsuits to be brought against the Catholic Church.

"It's not fair to make innocent Catholics pay for the crimes of the guilty. Many of the faithful were not even alive when some of these sexual abuse cases allegedly took place," said Raymond Drake, president of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a Pennsylvania based organization of lay Catholics.

"We strongly believe that these bills are supremely unfair since the burden of the punitive damages will be borne by the Catholic faithful in general, not the individual criminals or their accomplices," said TFP president. "As a result, Catholic school children will be deprived of their schools to pay for the misdeeds of others. And the charitable works of the Church will be cut back to pay for settlements and attorney fees."

On January 3, the TFP called on Catholics to fight these extraordinary legislative efforts with utmost vigor. It has since published full-page advertisements in The Washington Times, The Denver Post, and other newspapers denouncing these retroactive changes to statutes of limitations. The TFP web site ( also urges its readers to get involved and protest against these measures.

"These lawsuits will resurrect real or imaginary cases where some abusers are dead, the bishop no longer in office and much of the evidence is all but impossible to produce," Drake continued. "Others are asking the courts to accept cases based on what they call 'repressed memory,' where the victim suddenly 'remembers' he was abused. These cases used to be thrown out of court for lack of merit but now they are being accepted."

While it is horrendous that clergy and religious -- infected by the moral rot of today's hyper-sexualized culture -- did in fact sexually abuse many minors, the proposed "solution" will only make more innocent Catholics suffer. The social and financial consequences of this retroactive lifting of the statutes of limitations will be the sacking of the Catholic Church's assets, generously contributed by hard-working faithful. It will lead to bankruptcy proceedings and the selling of churches, schools, hospitals, and other social facilities.


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