So that’s where the congregation’s money is going.
According to a new study titled “Church Influencing State: How the Catholic Church Spent Millions Against Survivors of Clergy Abuse,” between 2011 and 2018, the U.S. Catholic Church spent more than $10 million on lobbyists to fight against legislation that would have allowed victims of pedophile priests to sue the Church for damages even if prior statutes of limitations had passed. And that was just in northeastern states.
It may not have helped given how many states introduced or passed bills that allow victims to sue the Church even if the abuse occurred decades earlier.
NBC News reports:
“This report lays out what we have known all along — that the Catholic Church refuses to take responsibility for the decades of abuse that took place knowingly under its watch,” said attorney Stephen Weiss, who works for one of the law firms that commissioned the study.
“Statute of limitations reforms give survivors more time to obtain some measure of closure on the atrocities committed against them,” attorney Gerald Williams added. “The church has yet to implement meaningful reforms, and by working to prevent these laws from passing, the church is clearly demonstrating that it does not stand with survivors.”
More than half the lobbying money was spent in Pennsylvania alone. That’s the state where a grand jury report rocked the nation last August and opened the door to even more intensive investigations by other attorneys general.
Even if the lobbying wasn’t meant to stifle the bills entirely, but intended to modify them within reason, the Church ought to be at the forefront of advocating for these bills. Hell, they should be writing them and urging legislatures to pass them immediately in order to atone for their own sins.
If there’s any good news, it’s that some of the states passed victim-friendly bills anyway, while others have at least introduced those bills. It’s not clear if the lobbying killed any potential bill.
It’s truly disturbing that Catholics who give money to their Church are effectively subsidizing lobbyists whose job it is to make sure victims of child sexual abuse can’t get justice. You might be able to dismiss pedophile priests as bad apples. You might be able to ignore those involved in the cover-up. But when the entire Church is working against victims like this, it’s absolutely fair to blame everyday Catholics for continuing to support the Church with their money.
No decent person should be giving a dime to the Catholic Church. Instead of spending money helping people, the Church is doing everything it can to further human suffering that Catholic priests caused.
Catholic officials are still more interested in protecting their pocketbooks than helping parishioners.
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