Posts Tagged Australia

Catholic Church paid A$276 million to abuse victims in Australia / BBC News

The Australian Catholic Church has paid A$276m (£171m; $213m) to victims of sexual abuse since 1980, an inquiry has heard.

The money was divided between thousands of victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was told.

“The data, released on Thursday (Feb. 16), showed the average payment was A$91,000.

“The landmark royal commission was set up in 2013 and is also investigating abuse at non-religious organisations.

“The Catholic Church made the payments in response to 3,066 of 4,445 child sexual abuse claims between 1980 and 2015, the inquiry heard. More than 40% of claims were received by a handful of male orders.

“They included compensation, treatment, legal and other costs, said Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission in Sydney.”

By BBC News — Read more …

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Father Thomas Doyle tells royal commission Vatican failed sex abuse victims / Sydney Morning Herald

The Vatican has failed to support survivors of sexual abuse in the church for decades, with prominent Catholics demanding action at a royal commission.

“A whistleblower priest who was one of the first to report allegations of sexual abuse to the Vatican in the 1980s told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he was punished for speaking out.

“Father Thomas Doyle, an American canon lawyer, told the second day of the inquiry into Catholic Church authorities, secrecy, cover-ups and betrayal of victims were hallmarks of the institution’s response to abuse.

“‘One of the massive holes in the Roman Catholic Church’s approach to this issue today is a failure to completely comprehend the spiritual damage that is done to victims, to their families . . . and the community itself,’ he said.”

By Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Sex abuse inquiry to hold final hearing into Australian Catholic Church / The Courier

The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse will examine the current policies and procedures of Catholic Church authorities in Australia in its final public hearing into the church.

“The public hearing will be held on Monday (Feb. 6) inside the royal commission’s hearing rooms at the Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney.

“The hearing will probe existing child protection and child-safe standards within the Catholic Church, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.

“It will also examine factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Catholic Church institutions across Australia.”

By Melissa Cunningham, The Courier — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Frank Brennan (Australian Jesuit priest): Breaking confessional seal won’t stop abuse / CathNews.com

“The clericalist mindset of a celibate male clergy compounded the vulnerability of children preyed on by Church personnel.” (Fr. Frank Brennan)

‘”With the seal of confession intact, a pedophile may find a listening ear to assist with the decision to turn himself in. If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I will disobey the law,’ writes Fr Frank Brennan, SJ.

“‘Like most Australians, I have been appalled and distressed by the revelations before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“‘I hope this five-year royal commission is able to provide solutions so that institutions are made safe places for children. I am one of those Catholics who has been rocked by the disproportionate number of victims whose assailants have been members of my Church in positions of trust.

“‘Of course, the Church ran more schools and orphanages than most other organisations. But that provides no excuse or justification for what went on. Nor does it provide a complete explanation for the horrific statistics.'”

By Fr. Frank Brennan, S.J., human rights lawyer and academic, on CathNews.com — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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The Royal Commission has exposed a Catholic Church culture in desperate need of change / Newcastle Herald

During his evidence to the royal commission Bishop Bill Wright made the observation that he felt concentrating on events of 30 years ago was not a useful exercise, and it is more important to understand what is happening now with regard to child abuse and protection. The Commissioner’s response was to state that the community had asked for a royal commission into organisations and that this be done in the public eye.

“Understanding the history of abuse is vitally important to the health of the current community. Let me explain why.

“First, it is vital to bring to public knowledge the traumatic events that occurred across Catholic parishes and schools in the last 60 or so years …”

By Kathleen McPhillips, Commentary in the Newcastle Herald — Click here to read the rest of this column.

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Australian police investigate abuse accusations against Cardinal George Pell / The New York Times

Cardinal George Pell, the de facto Vatican treasurer and Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, is being investigated in connection with multiple allegations of child sexual assault that date back four decades, a top police official said on Thursday (Jul. 28).

“The official, Graham Ashton, chief police commissioner of the Australian state of Victoria, confirmed a report by the government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation that detectives were investigating and had submitted an account of the allegations to Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions.

“‘We investigated and are still investigating,’ Mr. Ashton said in an interview with the radio station 3AW in Melbourne, when asked about an inquiry.

“The Victoria police have established a task force that is looking into such allegations in both religious and nongovernmental organizations.”

By Brett Cole, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Catholic Church focus of abuse inquiry / Australian Associated Press

The Catholic Church has produced some of Australia’s worst pedophiles, and the child sex abuse royal commission wants to know why.

“The commission’s numerous investigations into child abuse in a number of Catholic institutions throughout Australia will culminate in a final hearing into the Catholic Church in February, 2017.

“The commission is seeking submissions about any factors that may have contributed to child sex abuse in Catholic institutions or affected the church’s response.

“The structure and governance of the Catholic Church and the Vatican’s role are among the issues that will be examined, along with what the church has done and plans to do to protect children and prevent abuse.

“Other issues identified by the commission include canon law, mandatory celibacy and the selection, screening, training and ongoing support and supervision of working priests.”

By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Victims tell their stories to Australia’s royal commission on child sexual abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“In some respects, the story of the Australian government inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is a story that can be told in numbers.

“Since its first hearing three years ago, the inquiry — the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — has received 29,223 telephone calls from victims and other interested parties, as well as 16,171 letters and emails. It has conducted 4,874 sessions in private (to provide, where requested, a safe and confidential environment for those testifying) and made 961 referrals to authorities, including police, many of which have resulted in arrests and charges …

“Numbers, of course, rarely tell the whole story. To the extent that the commission has been a cathartic experience both for individuals and more broadly, its impact is impossible to quantify.”

By Chris McGillion, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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George Pell criticized by Catholic bishop as ‘destroyer of unity’ on child sex abuse / The Guardian

“Pope Francis was yet to show strong leadership on the issue”

Cardinal George Pell ‘destroyed the unity’ of the Catholic church’s response to child sex abuse, an Australian bishop has told the royal commission.

“Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who played a key role in developing the Australian church’s response to child sex abuse, also said Pope Francis was yet to show strong leadership on the issue and one of his predecessors, John Paul II, responded ‘poorly’ to revelations of child abuse.

“Robinson worked with other bishops on an Australia-wide clergy response to abuse, Towards Healing, from 1994. When Towards Healing was close to finalization in 1996, Pell created the Melbourne Response, taking the country’s largest diocese out of a united response.

“Robinson said Pell, then the archbishop of Melbourne, created the rival program because he wanted to be seen as a leader on abuse.”

By Bridie Jabour, The Guardian — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Archbishop Philip Wilson pleads not guilty to concealing child sex abuse / The Sydney Morning Herald

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has pleaded not guilty to concealing child sex abuse in the Catholic church via his lawyer in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday (June 6).

“Archbishop Wilson, who did not appear, was represented by barrister Simon Buchen, who said his client was pleading not guilty and he was anticipating a lengthy hearing …

“Archbishop Wilson is the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex abuse allegation against another priest.”

By Gabriel Wingate-Pearce, The Sidney Morning Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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