PA Archbishop Accused Of Using Mafia-Like Tactics Against Lawmaker

Philadelphia’s archbishop Charles Caput is accused of using mafia-like tactics against a state lawmaker who stands in support of child victims of sexual abuse.

In an email to Pennsylvania state representative Jamie Santora, the archbishop accused the elected official of “betraying the church.” The email went on to say that Santora would suffer “consequences” for supporting legislation designed to provide victims of child sexual abuse with the justice they deserve.

The bill which provoked the vicious message from Caput would extend the amount of time that child sexual assault victims have to bring claims against their abusers.

Under the state’s current law a victim of sexual assault only has until his or her 30th birthday to file a claim against the abuser. The legislation, which passed the state’s lower house in April, would extend the deadline until the victim’s 50th birthday.

According to The Intellectualist, Caput is heading up a lobbying effort against the bill.

The email provoked the wrath of state lawmakers on both sides of political aisle.

Republican state legislator Mike Vereb, who is also a Catholic, accused the archbishop of using “mafia-like tactics” against lawmakers, saying:

“This mob boss approach of having legislators called out, he really went right up to the line. He is going down a road that is frankly dangerous for the status of the church in terms of it being a non-profit.”

The Catholic church has no business engaging in any type of lobbying activity. In order to maintain its tax-exempt status, a church is strictly prohibited from engaging in political activity.

The letter that Caput sent out is a prime example of the kind of religious bullying the Establishment Clause was put in place to prevent.

Given the Catholic Church’s history of child sexual abuse, Caput’s email accusing Santora of “betraying the church” would indicate that the church is aware that many more victims exist.

It seems clear that the church would prefer those victims never receive the justice they deserve.


Image credit via Michal on Flickr