Posts Tagged catholic church in australia

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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Senior Australian Bishop Charged with Sex Abuse / Agence France-Press

One of the most senior members of the Catholic Church in Australia has stepped down from his role after being charged with child sex abuse, the Church said on Monday (June 30).

“Max Davis, who heads the church’s military diocese, is reportedly Australia’s most senior clergyman and the first Australian Catholic bishop to be charged with a child sex offense.”

By Agence France-Presse on DigitalJournal.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Australian Priests Asked to Read at Mass A Statement of Commitment on Child Sexual Abuse

Yesterday, we posted links to news regarding the release of a Victoria, Australia, parliamentary inquiry report that castigated the Church for “horrific sexual abuse cover-ups.” The Catholic Church in Australia issued a statement yesterday which said, in part, that the “whole Church in Australia is deeply ashamed.” Below is the statement that priests were instructed to read to their congregations:

COMMITMENT STATEMENT FROM LEADERS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA

The Catholic Church in Australia, in its submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and in its communications with both the Catholic and broader communities has made the following commitment:

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia recognize and acknowledge the devastating harm caused to people by the crime of child sexual abuse. We take this opportunity to state:

  1. 1. Sexual abuse of a child by a priest or religious is a crime under Australian law and under canon law.
  2. 2 Sexual abuse of a child by any Church personnel, whenever it occurred, was then and is now indefensible.
  3. 3 That such abuse has occurred at all, and the extent to which it has occurred, are facts of which the whole Church in Australia is deeply ashamed.
  4. 4 The Church fully and unreservedly acknowledges the devastating, deep and ongoing impact of sexual abuse on the lives of the victims and their families.
  5. 5 The Church acknowledges that many victims were not believed when they should have been.
  6. 6 The Church is also ashamed to acknowledge that, in some cases, those in positions of authority concealed or covered up what they knew of the facts, moved perpetrators to another place, thereby enabling them to offend again, or failed to report matters to the police when they should have. That behavior too is indefensible.
  7. 7 Too often in the past it is clear some Church leaders gave too high a priority to protecting the reputation of the Church, its priests, religious and other personnel, over the protection of children and their families, and over compassion and concern for those who suffered at the hands of Church personnel. That too was and is inexcusable.
  8. 8 In such ways, Church leaders betrayed the trust of their own people and the expectations of the wider community.
  9. 9 For all these things the Church is deeply sorry. It apologises to all those who have been harmed and betrayed. It humbly asks for forgiveness.

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia commit ourselves to endeavour to repair the wrongs of the past, to listen to and hear victims, to put their needs first, and to do everything we can to ensure a safer future for children.

First published in the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s Towards Healing submission to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, September 2013

Truth Justice and Healing Council

PO Box 4593 KINGSTON ACT 2604 | Tel: +61 2 6234 0900 | Fax: +61 2 6234 0999

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Three Australian Catholic Bishops Call for End to Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children ‘For Good’

The Roman Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse scandal in Australia continues to prompt calls for reform, particularly since the beginning earlier this year of the Australian national royal commission inquiry. Now, two former Australian bishops have joined Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney Geoffrey Robinson to seek reforms and to promote a Vatican III to look at the structure of Church.

A group of rebel Catholic bishops have today (June 4) launched a petition to tell the people at the top – the Pope and the Vatican – to act to stop the abuse of children within the church. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, emeritus auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, said the national royal commission into institutionalized child sex abuse could bring healing and change laws but it could not force the church hierarchy to make fundamental changes.” From story by Janet Fife-Yeoman, The Daily Telegraph, “Catholic Bishops Launch Appeal to Church for Action on Child Abuse,” as the story appeared in The Australian — Click here to read the entire article.

National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson interviewed Bishop Robinson several days before his announcement of his online petition for an ecumenical council and a new book.

Robinson, a retired auxiliary bishop from Sydney, created the petition in conjunction with the release of his latest book, For Christ’s Sake: End Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church…for Good. The book, like the petition, calls on the church hierarchy to confront the systemic causes, like moral immaturity and the celibate culture, that have contributed both to the abuse and to the bishops’ woefully inadequate response to the crisis.” Read Ms. Manson’s entire interview by clicking here.

The Australian media have covered the continent’s child sexual abuse scandal extensively. Here are links to a couple of additional news stories about Bishop Robinson’s petition and book:

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Australia’s Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse Set to Hear 5,000 Testimonies

Long Haul as 5,000 Line Up to reveal Tales of Heartache to Royal Commission

At least 5000 people could tell their traumatic stories to the royal commission into child sex abuse. And the commission says the reputations of individuals or institutions will not be spared if naming and shaming was justified.” By Janet Fife-Yeomans, Herald Sun

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Australian Catholic Church & Boy Scouts of America Scandals Show Depth & Breadth of Child Sex Abuse & Cover-Up

Recent revelations of child sexual abuse and cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church in Australia and the Boy Scouts of America show the depth and breadth of this continuing worldwide perversion and scandal, according the Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful®.

“Although our mission drives us to address Church scandal,” said Mark Mullaney, VOTF president and board chair, “we recognize and abhor the horrific scandal of child sexual abuse and the secrecy that surrounds these crimes in all areas of society and the world. We realize that what’s at work is the widespread criminal tendency not just to abuse the weak, but also to place the reputations of individuals and institutions above all other concerns.”

According to media reports from the state of Victoria in the southeast corner of Australia, a recent parliamentary inquiry found 620 cases of abuse since 1956 that the Church had not reported to police. This underscores the worldwide nature of the scandal that, only a few years ago, was purported to be only an American problem.

Oct. 12, Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner Graham Ashton reported to the inquiry, “If a stranger were to enter the grounds of a Church and rape a child, [then] that would be reported to police. But if that stranger happened to be a member of the clergy, such as a priest, then that would not be reported. A special process is wrapped around him, which discourages a victim to complain to police, seeks to ensure the offending clergy member is not only not prosecuted and jailed, but never entered on the sex offenders register. The process is designed to put the reputation of the Church first and victims second.”

Similarly to the Church in Australia, and worldwide, the Boy Scouts of America have sought repeatedly to keep reports of child sexual abuse by scout leaders secret. Last week, however, the Oregon Supreme Court made public thousands pages of documents about abuse allegations nationwide from 1959 to 1985. This followed previous reports of other files by The Los Angeles Times. Regarding the Oregon case, The New York Times said documents showed decades of abuse and “what child welfare experts say was a corrosive culture of secrecy that compounded the damage.”

According to The Boston Globe, Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer experienced in child sex abuse cases against the Boy Scouts, Catholic Church and other organizations, said the cover ups no longer surprise him. “It saddens me,” he said, “that what you keep seeing over and over again, institution after institution … is that the goal of preserving the organization’s reputation and its funds have become more important than taking care of the kids for whom the organizations were started in the first place.”

Observing that same attitude, a New Jersey Herald and Associated Press report said, “An array of local authorities — police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and town Boy Scout leaders among them — quietly shielded scoutmasters and others nationwide who allegedly molested children … At the time, those authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of Scouting. But …, their maneuvers protected suspected sexual predators while victims suffered in silence.”

“The damage to these abuse victims in many cases is irreparable,” Mullaney said, “but even when an individual might be healed, what about our Church, where these crimes have occurred for decades and continue to occur? The Church has initiated elaborate processes claimed to prevent abuse over the 10 years since VOTF started, but has not rid itself of the most important dynamic prolonging the abuse – the clerical mindset that closes ranks around brother hierarchs to protect the Church and keep the abuse secret. This must change.”

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