Lawmakers Demand Apology From Santorum

The Massachusetts congressional delegation Friday sent a letter to a Pennsylvania senator demanding an apology for what they called his “outrageous, erroneous and insensitive” comments in a column linking Boston’s liberalism to the clergy sex abuse scandal.

“We are deeply disturbed that you would offend Massachusetts by using an abuse scandal, one that has been mirrored in your state and in others, to score cheap political points with far right political groups,” said the 10 lawmakers in a letter to Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.

A spokesman for Santorum said Friday that the senator stands by his comments.

Spokesman Robert Traynham said it was very sad that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and other Democratic liberals “have decided to politicize comments that were three years old.”

Santorum wrote in the July 2002 column for Catholic Online that promoting alternative lifestyles feeds such aberrant behavior as priests molesting children.

“Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture,” Santorum wrote. “When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.”

In their letter the lawmakers said Santorum’s comments _ which came to light again in recent newspaper columns _ were hurtful to the victims of the clergy sex abuse.

On Wednesday, in a speech from the Senate chamber, Kennedy called for Santorum to apologize.

“I think people have really been offended and outraged,” said Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., “It really reflects on the senator. It certainly doesn’t reflect on the people of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania deserves better that him.”