FACSA’s Statement Regarding the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s “Presentation on How House Bill 1947 Endangers the Church and How You Can be the Solution”



May 27, 2016

Contact: John Salveson at 215-870-0680   salveson@abolishsexabuse.org

BRYN MAWR, PA – John Salveson, President of FACSA (Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse) released the following statement regarding the Archdiocese of Philadelphia program entitled “Presentation on How House Bill 1947 Endangers the Church and How You Can be the Solution” held at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Friday, May 27th.”

“The program this evening is a shameless, self-serving manipulation of Philadelphia area Catholics by spreading misinformation and half-truths regarding the impact of HB 1947.  Below is a sampling of the untruths being peddled by the Archdiocese.”

ADPhila:  ‘It could lead to the closure of parishes and schools.’

The truth: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, like diocese all across America, has been closing parishes and schools for decades due to the overall decline in church membership and attendance.  These closures are completely unrelated to abuse settlements.

ADPhila: ‘It could cripple ministries serving the needy.’

The Truth: Catholic Social Services, the largest entity in the Philadelphia region ministering to the needy, receives almost 83% of its total funding from the government.  This amounts to almost $95 million annually.  This funding would not be affected by HB 1947.

ADPhila: ‘It is unconstitutional.’

The Truth: Eight states have enacted legislation similar to HB 1947. Despite several attempts to prove otherwise, rulings in seven of these states found the legislation constitutional. The overwhelming trend is that courts support these bills, as evidenced most recently in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

ADPhila: Bankruptcy and severe debt were the only options for most dioceses in the states with retroactive windows.

The Truth: No diocese in America has ever filed for involuntary bankruptcy or been forced into bankruptcy.  Several have entered and then emerged from bankruptcy voluntarily as a way to stop victim’s lawsuits and as a negotiating tactic. Additionally, a substantial portion of settlements is paid by insurance companies – not the diocese.

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