Thursday, June 9, 2016

The battle of church & state is heating up in Delco

Earlier this week I used this space to note that several members of the county's Harrisburg delegation found themselves in the crosshairs in the increasingly bitter battle surrounding House Bill 1947.

That is the proposed legislation that would expand the window for victims to file civil suits in cases of child sexual abuse. The move is being vigorously opposed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Last weekend a letter from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was distributed at all Masses urging the faithful to contact their state senators and ask them to vote against the measure.

It has already passed the House.

The votes in favor by local representatives did not go unnoticed.

State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, was flabbergasted when he saw his name in the church bulletin. He had been singled out for his vote in favor of the legislation.

Miccarelli was not amused.

He was so ticked off that he reached out to me after the item appeared in the parish bulletin of his home parish, St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone.

What really bothered him was a couple of things: One, that the church is again pushing the notion that this law unfairly targets the Catholic church, while not addressing similar problems in public institutions. Miccarelli says that is not the case. But he also was upset that no one in the church reached out to him before dropping that little nugget in the parish bulletin.

I also reached out to Rep. Jamie Santora, R-163, who also is feeling the heat.

Santora believes the church is coming dangerously close to crossing the line of church and state.

It is not lost on any of these public servants that they have to run for re-election in November.

I told Miccarelli that if he wrote me a guest column expressing his beliefs on the issue, I would run it on our op-ed page.

It's in the paper today.

You can read it here.

He, Santora and the others feeling the heat over their vote also are featured in other media outlets today.

There is no vote on House Bill 1947 set by the House as yet. There is a hearing on a related part of the bill scheduled for Monday.

This issue is not going to go away.

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