Posts Tagged Newcastle Herald

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 …

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Our Faithful Revolution

churchfacadewebshadowIn this first week of a new year, Voice of the Faithful reflects.

Voice of the Faithful, a community of Roman Catholics committed to service and reform, has always sought to “Keep the Faith, Change the Church.” We are faithful Catholics seeking to change those Church structures and processes that impede lay voices and change Church cultures that exhibit a clericalism that separates the clerical from the lay rather than binding them pastorally and collegially.

Such clericalism often stifles the people of God. Pope Francis has said as much and condemned clericalism repeatedly, recently saying that “the spirit of clericalism is an evil that is present in the Church today, and the victim of this spirit is the people, who feel discarded and abused.”

The story of Voice of the Faithful’s founding is well documented. The movement exploded onto the scene in 2002 along with the burgeoning visibility of Church scandal, specifically clergy sexual abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Boston, chronicled most effectively by The Boston Globe in 2002 and 2003.

The movement spawned a frenzy of activity at the beginning, fueled by anger at and frustration with a Church that had, euphemistically, let us down. If you were to review the Globe stories, other media coverage of the crisis from that era, and books about Voice of the Faithful written since, you would discover that Voice of the Faithful could be credited with much of the rhetoric calling the Church to task.

By 2017 Voice of the Faithful, with commitment and tenacity, has settled into a long struggle in which we use our voices to help change Church structure and culture so that scandal has no fertile ground in which to grow. Progress has been slow, but steady.

We offer Catholics a community within the community of the Church where, as the people of God, we find a way to remain faithfully Catholic without giving up our baptismal right and responsibility to offer opinions and foster dialogue on issues important to the Church.

This is a post-Vatican II point of view well expressed recently by Fr. Louis Cameli, author of more than a dozen books and the Chicago archbishop’s Delegate for Formation and Mission. In an interview about post-Vatican II pontiffs in National Catholic Reporter Cameli said he “sees underlying, foundational points of continuity in the post-conciliar era.” Two of the points he made are especially pertinent to Voice of the Faithful:

  • “Communion: The Church is a set of interlocking and dynamic relationships among people and with the Triune God (in contrast to a primarily organizational-institutional-structural model of the Church).
  • “Dialogue: The Church is the place where believers speak and listen to each other, and it is the community of faith that speaks with and listens to the world. (This is the ecclesia discens et docens (Church teaching and learning) and, therefore, is a dynamic community instead of a static “container of truth.”)”

Communion and dialogue could be Voice of the Faithful watchwords. We are a community concerned with providing a voice for the voiceless and have introduced the language of clericalism, accountability, and transparency into the language of Church reform, language that is being reiterated by no less than the present occupant of St. Peter’s chair. While we have always supported victims/survivors and promoted programs that better protect children, we have focused most directly on finding, naming, and publicizing the underlying causes of scandal which must be addressed to stop and prevent scandal.

Kathleen McPhillips, a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, has succinctly framed the challenge Voice of the Faithful seeks to meet. In an article in the Newcastle Herald called “The royal commission has exposed a Catholic Church in desperate need of change,” she said:

“It is imperative [that] current religious groups undertake research into why this happened, as well as resourcing for the healing of survivors … Understanding how this happened is essential to the health of our community, and to the creation of new Church structures which are transparent, inclusive, accountable and respectful of women and children. The Church needs to show it is serious about cultural change – this is yet to be effectively demonstrated.”


More information about Voice of the Faithful is at www.votf.org.

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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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Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson charged with concealing child sex abuse / Newcastle Herald

Hunter-born Archbishop Philip Wilson has become the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex abuse allegation against another priest on what a pedophile priest victim has described as ‘a St Patrick’s Day we’ll never forget.’

“The Adelaide archbishop was charged on Tuesday with one count of concealing a child sex allegation made against  Hunter priest the late Jim Fletcher in the 1970s, nearly nine months after the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry recommended the charge.

“He is one of only a handful of Catholic clergymen in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex allegation against another priest, and only the third in Australia after former school principal and fellow Maitland-Newcastle vicar-general the late Tom Brennan became the first to face such a charge in 2012.”

By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, Australia — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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The Catholic Church’s dirty secrets: abuse, injustice and a damning letter / Newcastle Herald

He’s the man whose statement to Hunter police about being sexually abused by a Catholic priest launched Strike Force Georgiana in 2007, and ultimately led to a royal commission.

“His name is John Parmeter, and he wants people to know who he is as Strike Force Georgiana enters its eighth year investigating historic child sexual abuse cases.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold its 17th public hearing (the week of Sept. 22), with more than 16,000 calls about child sexual abuse so far, and another three years to go.

“The priest, Peter Brock, died last week. Today, Mr Parmeter reveals the ugly truth – what he calls the ‘dirty secrets’ – about the Catholic Church’s elevation of Father Brock to a national role in 2010, despite knowing of his ‘sexual misconduct’ with Mr Parmeter and his twin brother from when they were nine years old.”

By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Cases of Sexual Abuse Will Shock the Nation / Australian Regional Media

More than 4000 people have reported allegations of child sexual abuse to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse since it began in January. In the first day of public hearings in Sydney on Monday (Sept. 16), Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan warned the stories the commission had already heard would shock the nation. The commission has already heard the cases of nearly 400 victims, with a further 449 waiting to tell their stories and another 1178 people yet to be assessed for private hearings.” By MyDailyNews.com of Australian Regional Media

Read the rest of this story by clicking here, and you may be interested in this editorial point of view from Australia’s Newcastle Herald, “Child Sex Abuse Inquiry.”

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