By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …
Posts Tagged Australian Catholic Church
It does seem to beggar belief that, shortly after a census revealed that Australians are abandoning the institutional churches in droves – for reasons including the exclusion of women from leadership, along with sex abuse scandals, irrelevance and treatment of LGBTQI people – that a group of bishops could so readily dismiss a simple, plaintive motion asking women be heard.By Julia Baird, The Sydney Morning Herald
“‘Embarrassing. Shocking. Scandalous and absolutely unacceptable.’ The 86-year-old Benedictine nun Sister Joan Chittister was in bed this week – recovering from a bout of COVID – when she read that the plenary council of the Australian Catholic Church had refused to pass two pretty gentle, anodyne motions supporting women in positions of leadership in the church. It felt like ‘a red hot poker’ ran through her.
“Sister Joan, a best-selling American author of more than 50 books, has a large, devoted progressive global following and a profile rare for a nun, being interviewed by Oprah and appearing on Meet the Press. She has spent the past few weeks touring Australia to packed audiences, speaking about the need for renewal in the church, and the need for leaders to listen.
“But after the meeting of the plenary council – the highest formal gathering of all local churches and the first in Australia since 1937 – she called me in a state of flaming indignation: ‘The proof is in. You needn’t wear yourself out trying to convince women that the church really appreciates them, their work, their presence, their talents. They know now – right out of the mouth of the episcopacy that voted against them.’
“So what were these motions the bishops dared not approve?”
By Julia Baird, The Sydney Morning Herald — Read more …
The new phase in the abuse crisis has shown much complexity: It is not just a legal and ethical crisis, but also a theological one and a crisis of models of church governance. (Massimo Faggioli in National Catholic Reporter)
There are signs that the Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis is now getting at deeper, institutional questions. In particular, how local churches — parishes and dioceses — are governed.
“In the last few years, a unique example that could bring encouraging news has come from the Australian church.
“Since 2017-18, the abuse crisis has taken on a new dimension, thanks to the unveiling of cases (such as disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick) and of extensive cover-ups identified and published in the reports of nationwide and regional investigations (such as in Australia, Chile and Pennsylvania).
“The new phase of the crisis has focused on the direct involvement of bishops, cardinals and the Vatican. It has also identified that the crisis is not restricted to children and also involves women religious and other vulnerable persons — and has become a global crisis with huge repercussions on the relations between church and state in various countries.
“The new phase in the abuse crisis has also shown much complexity: It is not just a legal and ethical crisis, but also a theological one and a crisis of models of church governance.”
By Massimo Faggiolo, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
The witness (a former altar boy) alleged (Archbishop Philip) Wilson told him he was telling lies because (Fr. James) Fletcher “was a good bloke.” The witness said Wilson had ordered him out of the confessional and told him to recite 10 Hail Mary prayers as an act of contrition. (AP on Cruxnow.com)
An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday (May 22) and faces a potential two years in prison.
“Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.
“Wilson, 67, had pleaded not guilty to knowing of the crimes of a pedophile priest in the 1970s. He denied under oath in court last month that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest.
By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Read more …
With a sexual abuse record among the worst in the world, and an exhaustive and fair investigation completed by a Royal Commission that produced a clear set of recommendations, the international church ought to be looking to Australia for a way forward. All Australians, and particularly the Catholic community, should do what they can to shame and pressure the Australian bishops. The first step is to arise from their slumber. (The Sydney Moening Herald)
“Australian Catholics are being conned. After all the disgrace of the Royal Commission evidence and its specific and telling recommendations, the response effectively proposed by the Australian Bishops is to call a Plenary Council of the church in Australia in 2020-21. Australia’s Catholics seem to be meekly agreeing to what is an unconscionable delay and a fudge. In short, the bishops have us where they want us: corralled and quietened.
“In one sense, convening such a forum could be seen as innovative and consultative. Realistically, it downplays the magnitude and urgency of the issues that need to be addressed. Whether the agenda ultimately addresses the main reform issues raised by the Royal Commission is a moot point. Such forums in the Australian church have a habit of being lead down paths that produce platitudinous outcomes and avoid the contentious. More significantly it is openly acknowledged that there is considerable doubt and dispute as to whether such a forum would have the authority to make decisions that address the real issues.
“The temper of Australian Catholics appears to have moved from outrage to exhausted resignation that change in our church is just too hard. And indeed, it is. Faced with a witheringly perceptive analysis of the problems that contributed to sexual abuse, the bishops give little indication, individually or collectively that they know how to respond. They seem caught between their own, not surprisingly, inadequate skills in managing and leading organisational change and the very real sense that they are beholden to Rome and incapable of acting authentically and in ways that recognise the stark reality of the Australian church’s predicament.”
By Terry Fewtrell, The Sydney Morning Herald — Read more …
Outraged Catholics say Australian church leaders are ‘locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture’ / Newcastle Herald
The failure so far of any decisive response in the way of systemic reform after the catastrophe of sex abuse by clergy has been the last straw for many committed Catholics who see their church leadership locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture. (Newcastle Herald)
Australian Catholic church leaders are ‘locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture’ that has failed to adequately respond to the child sexual abuse scandal and is denying the need for urgent reform, say Catholic groups meeting in Canberra on Friday (Mar. 23) to demand change.
“More than 50 leading Catholic reformists are expected to seek an urgent meeting with Australia’s bishops after a request to release the first formal church assessment of child abuse royal commission recommendations was declined last week by Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart.
“The lack of a decisive response on systemic reform after the ‘catastrophe of sex abuse by clergy’ was ‘the last straw for many committed Catholics,’ said Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform in a statement on Thursday (Mar. 22).
“Coalition convenor Peter Johnstone said the Canberra meeting is a direct response to the bishops’ refusal to release a Truth Justice and Healing Council analysis of the royal commission’s findings and recommendations before a bishops’ conference in May. It was given to a senior church leaders group several weeks ago.”
By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald — Read more …
Pope Francis’s former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public. (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)
The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving secret evidence to an Australian court on Monday.
“Australian Cardinal George Pell wore his clerical collar for the first day of the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. The committal hearing is scheduled to take up to a month.The testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media. Prosecutor Mark Gibson said the complainants would give evidence by a video link.
“Pope Francis’s former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public.
“Monday’s testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media.”
“Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions,” said the report, which was particularly critical of Catholic organizations. “We will never know the true number. Whatever the number, it is a national tragedy, perpetrated over generations within many of our most trusted institutions.” (The New York Times)
A royal commission investigating the sexual abuse of children in Australia found Friday (Dec. 15) that the nation was gripped by an epidemic dating back decades, with tens of thousands of children sexually abused in schools, religious organizations and other institutions.
“The commission, the highest form of investigation in Australia, urged government action on its 189 recommendations, including the establishment of a new National Office for Child Safety and penalties for those who suspect abuse and fail to alert the police, including priests who hear about abuse in confessionals. It also urged Australia’s Roman Catholic leadership to press Rome to end mandatory celibacy for priests.
“‘Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions,’ said the report, which was particularly critical of Catholic organizations. ‘We will never know the true number. Whatever the number, it is a national tragedy, perpetrated over generations within many of our most trusted institutions.’
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said all Australians should read the report.”
By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times — Read more …
(Hon. Justice Peter) McClellan (head of the investigation) singled out the Roman Catholic Church in particular for often putting reputation above the safety of children in what they found to be decades of systematic sexual abuse — a familiar pattern of scandals dogging Catholic institutions globally. (CNN News)
Children are still being sexually assaulted in Australian institutions.
“That was the stark warning of an exhaustive five-year investigation by an Australia Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse that concluded Thursday (Dec. 15).
In a short hearing in Sydney, Hon. Justice Peter McClellan, who has headed the investigation, said the ‘nation thanks the survivors’ who gave testimony about decades of systematic abuse and cover-ups in religious and state institutions such as churches, youth groups, care homes and schools.
More than 8,000 people gave evidence in private sessions, and 2,559 referrals were made to authorities, including the police, as a result of the $383 million (AU$500 million) probe.
“‘The sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past. Child sexual abuse in institutions continues today,’ said McClellan. ‘In some case studies into schools the alleged abuse was so recent that the children are still attending school.’
“McClellan singled out the Roman Catholic Church in particular for often putting reputation above the safety of children in what they found to be decades of systematic sexual abuse — a familiar pattern of scandals dogging Catholic institutions globally.”
By Lucie Morris-Marr, CNN News — Read More …
“The sex abuse crisis was more than the evil acts of individuals. (Bishop Vincent Long) Van Nguyen said the culture of the church contributed to the crisis in Australia.” National Catholic Reporter
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta, Australia, speaking to the National Council of Priests of Australia, urged an end to clericalism in the church and expressed hope that a newly revitalized Catholic clergy would emerge from the sex abuse crisis that has wracked the Catholic Church in Australia.
“He spoke Aug. 30 to the National Council of Priests in Australia, which reprinted his remarks in the December edition of The Swag, its quarterly magazine.
“Van Nguyen, 55, a Conventual Franciscan who became bishop of Parramatta last year, declared in a message to a Royal Commission investigating sex abuse in the Catholic Church that he himself had been abused by church members as an adult. He told the priests’ group that ‘we are in a big mess’ as priests ‘bear the brunt of public anger and distrust in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis. It is one of the hardest times to be a priest.’
“He suggested they look to the example of Pope Francis as a vision of priesthood based on a servant, not an authoritarian, model.”
By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
In its report the commission found Archbishop Little’s “culture of secrecy … sought to protect the Archdiocese from scandal and liability and prioritised the interests of the Church over those of the victims.” (Victoria Herald Sun)
CULTURE of secrecy inside Melbourne’s Catholic Archdiocese let paedophile priests free to abuse scores of children, a damning report by the child abuse royal commission has found.
“Releasing its report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was most scathing of former Archbishop Frank Little …
“The commission found Archbishop Little lied about the resignation of paedophile priests, concealed ongoing financial assistance to others, and shuffled others between parishes.”
By Shannon Deery, Victoria Herald Sun — Read more …