Pope Set To Visit Philly In 2015, Which Is At Least 20 Years Too Late To Save The Children

DAILY NEWS: Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement Sunday in Milan during the 2012 World Meeting of Families there. The meeting, according to a statement sent out by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, began in 1992 as an attempt to “strengthen and defend the sacred bonds of marriage and family across the globe.” This is the first time that the conference will be in the U.S., and the first time that it will be held in a non-Catholic majority country. The conference has been held four times outside Europe, and the Pope has never before traveled to the ones held off the continent. The Pope passed over Philadelphia back in 2008 when he visited Washington D.C., then New York. “What changed? Two things. The grand-jury report, and the eruption that emerged from it, changed everything,” said Vatican expert Rocco Palmo, who writes the Catholic-themed blog Whispers in the Loggia. “We’ve been through the toughest period that any American diocese has been through in the last 50 years. It’s the darkest hour the Philadelphia Archdiocese has gone through in 200 years.” Chaput was handpicked by Pope Benedict XVI to lead Philadelphia through traumatic times, and Palmo said that the papal visit is a “vote of confidence” in the Archbishop’s leadership. “The Vatican knows about the closing of the schools, the trial and the financial situation of the Archdiocese. … It’s been 16 very difficult months,” he said. “This is a way of giving happy news and a shot in the arm to the church here.” MORE

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INQUIRER: But the RV got no farther than King of Prussia, the man testified, when Smith said the vehicle had mechanical problems and they would have to stay overnight in a nearby Holiday Inn. There the two boys spent the afternoon playing cards with their pastor, drinking Southern Comfort liquor and sodas.Later that day, the man testified, Smith began chasing them around the room putting ice cubes down their underwear. When it came time for bed, the man continued, Smith told them to sleep naked because their clothes were wet. While his friend slept on the floor, the man testified, he slept in bed with Smith and quickly fell asleep because of the alcohol he drank. The man said he awoke on top of Smith – who was also naked – and realized they both had erections. MORE

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PHILADELPHIA  SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED BY PRIESTS: We were disappointed in how Charles Chaput responded to abuse claims as the archbishop of the Denver archdiocese, especially his work to defeat statute of limitations reform in the Colorado legislature. We suspect that the fears held by church leaders in Philadelphia of similar reform are one of the reasons that Chaput was promoted. However, his past record is not as important as the tone he will set for the future. After years of cover-ups perpetrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia deserves better. Survivors of abuse do not deserve to see their perpetrators protected and criminal actions justified with shady legal tactics. They deserve justice. Chaput should comply with the recommendations of the Philadelphia grand jury reports and fully support legislation that would reform the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. And he should immediately remove and discipline current employees of the Philadelphia archdiocese involved in enabling and covering up these sex crimes.It is not enough to stand on a podium and talk about things to be done. Chaput should do everything within his substantial power to ensure that these enablers are brought to justice and that survivors have the chance to expose their predators so that children today and in the future can be kept safe. MORE

RELATED: In March, Rigali suspended more than two dozen priests pending an archdiocesan investigation. Gina Maisto Smith, the former Philadelphia prosecutor who is leading that investigation, said after the news conference that her team expected to continue its work despite the change of archbishops. With her findings still months away, she said, it appears that it will fall to Chaput to decide whom among his priests to dismiss and whom to restore to ministry. MORE

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