for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com OCTOBER 1, 2015 • The queens CourieR 29 oped Seeking justice A LOO K BACK A Look Back for all victims of child sex abuse letters Awestruck by pope’s inspiring visit Pope Francis’ visit to New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia was just phenomenal. Pope Francis came, he saw and he conquered the hearts of thousands who came out to see him and the millions who saw him and listened to his message on television. Many of us were awestruck by his energy and tenacious efforts at age 78 to bring his message of peace, love and charity for all in desperate need. Pope Francis’ indelible spirit has moved, in my opinion, Christians and non-Christians alike and hopefully has inspired many to volunteer to help their neighbors and strangers who are in need of human kindness. He has truly lived up to his name sake he had chosen which is St. Francis. As such he had shown a tremendous amount of compassion for the sick and the poor with many acts of kindness, while he was here. Now I hope his visit translates to the rekindling of people’s spirituality and a return to their faith and their many houses of worship that welcome them with open arms. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25: 35-36 — “ For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” Truly Pope Francis has shown himself as a shining example by his visit and bestowed upon us a most profound message. And for that we say thank you. Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village Pope shed light on poverty in the city I was heartened that during his visit to New York City, Pope Francis shed light on the prevalence of poverty across the globe. Almost anywhere you go, you only need to look around to see that poverty rages rampant in our city, country and world. Sadly, in 2015 — 203 years since the New York City Mission Society was founded — our work is now more critical than ever. Consider that more than two out of every five people living in New York City live in poverty. That is nearly 2 million men, women and children, many of them without homes or food to put on the table. If you factor in all of those living just barely above the poverty line, the number rises to nearly half of our city’s population. Those who we serve sadly are at the bottom of the economic ladder: 5 percent live in shelters or transitional housing; 55 percent have food insecurities; 86 percent live at or below the poverty line; and 93 percent of our students attend failing or below-average schools. These numbers illustrate the harsh realities that derail, for so many, the American Dream. Each day, our staff faces the children, families, friends and neighbors who have had their dreams derailed, and sometimes extinguished. We echo Pope Francis in our staunch belief that all deserve to live in dignity, and that we can — and should — make a difference in others’ lives. We strive to level the playing field by providing the highestquality educational programs and support that inspire and empower the youth in our programs. At times, it may seem like an uphill battle. But the good news is that we, like many others, will not settle. The Mission Society resolves to address these problems over the long term, because no matter the month, year or century, poverty breaks hearts and strangles dreams. Elsie McCabe Thompson, President New York City Mission Society BY ASEMBLYWOMAN MARGARET MARKEY We were all excited about the momentous visit of Pope Francis, but disappointed that overall, so little attention has been paid to the scourge of childhood sexual abuse — one of the most urgent topics of concern among so many New York Catholics. The fight to address this issue in many states is directed at reform of archaic statute of limitations (SOLs) that restrict the time for victims to come forward and expose abusers and the organizations that hid or protected them. New York currently ranks among the very worst states in all of America for how it deals with victims — right at the bottom of all 50 states along with Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Indiana. If a New York victim of child sex abuse doesn’t come forward within five years after their 18th birthday, they forever lose the opportunity to bring charges. Since research shows that many if not most abuse survivors do not come to grips with what happened to them until well into adulthood, if ever, that means that most victims never get justice and pedophiles remain free to abuse new generations of children. My Child Victims Act of New York (A.2872A/S.63A) would to completely eliminate the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse in the future and get justice for older victims. Even though the measure has passed the Assembly four times, it has never come to the floor of the state Senate and the most vocal opponent of this reform is the New York Catholic Conference of Bishops. I was encouraged by the strong message of the Holy Father to his Pontifical Commission earlier this year that there was no place in the ministry for abusers and his call for reconciliation and healing for past victims. He has backed up those views by creating a Vatican tribunal to hold bishops accountable for cover-ups and failure to prevent abuse. There is no limit to what is a lifetime of suffering and anguish for so many victims of childhood sexual abuse. That is why there should be no limit on the ability of victims and society to hold abusers accountable. Nor should there be any limit on accountability for institutions and organizations that deliberately protected and hid perpetrators. Earlier this year, I reached out to His Holiness to ask for his help in convincing the bishops of New York to follow his lead. I hope he can help us transform the eminent opponents within his flock, New York’s bishops, into advocates for children and survivors by urging them to support statute of limitations reform in New York State in the future. Markey represents the 30th Assembly District, which includes all or parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Maspeth, Middle Village, Sunnyside and Woodside. Today it’s an asphalt road known as Catalpa Avenue, but this undated photo taken during the early 1900s shows the dirt surface of what was then called Elm Avenue in Ridgewood. Note the brick rowhouses lining both sides of the roadway; these homes were constructed in part by master builder and later Sheriff of Queens County Paul Stier. Stier built hundreds of homes across Ridgewood, many of which are part of now landmarked. Have a historic picture of Queens that you’d like to share with us? Email it to editorial@ queenscourier.com.
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