September 28, 2015
Berks County lawmaker Mark Rozzi, who says he was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest as a child, criticized Pope Francis before his visit to Philadelphia and said the papal weekend brought back painful memories.
In a video from CNN published before the pope's visit, Democratic Rep. Rozzi calls for Francis to ask Chaput to encourage lawmakers in supporting his bill to change the statute of limitations for cases of sexual abuse.
He says the only way to allow victims to heal is to allow their voices to be heard and criticized a recent comment from the pope in which he said he was sorry how the abuse scandal had weighed upon U.S. bishops. Watch the video here:
Pope Francis did not avoid the issue during his visit to Philadelphia. Speaking before bishops in Wynnewood Sunday, he said "God weeps" for the victims and said he was "deeply sorry" for what had happened, referring to several cases of clergy members sexually abusing young boys.
The pontiff also met with five victims of clergy abuse before giving those remarks.
However, the speech didn't seem to satisfy Rozzi. He told WFMZ that the visit "brought back nightmares" and said those words left him "outraged" and had been said before. Instead, he insisted the church needs to take action.
Rozzi is currently sponsoring a bill in the house that would raise the age from 30 to 50 for those who were sexually abused as a child to file a civil suit and would allow those who were previously barred from doing so because of time to take to the courts.
His bill joins a number of potential pieces of legislations in the state legislature that would modify the statute of limitations in ways that would make it easier for victims of past abuse to take legal action.
While recently advocating for the bill, Rozzi drew on his own experiences to try and promote it:
While in Denver, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput fought against legislation similar to Rozzi's.
He said Monday that the pope was "sincere" in his remarks made Sunday and is concerned about the issue.