Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children

I think it might be time to take a pause and look at the announcement that the PM made yesterday.

The PM has acknowledged that it is not about the Catholic Church but about the abuse of children.

It is about sexual, physical and psychological abuse of children. This abuse has occurred over many decades, even a century or more.

The PM was very careful in her announcement that much consolation must occur before the terms of reference are agreed on. We should all heed the PM’s cautious words when making the announcement. It is not time to crucify the Catholic Church or any other for that matter.

It is about men, and some women, whose evil sexual practices places children at risk. It is about these evil people who prey on innocent and vulnerable children. It is about paedophiles.

We are now, as we should be, focussing on the sexual abuse. It is not carried out by churches or any other institutions where children can be found.

Neither the Catholic Church nor any other is responsible for those who abuse children. These evil people seek out children, in all similar institutions where they have easy and safe access to them.

They are clever at ingratiating themselves within organizations, institutions and families. They are the uncle one relies on, the man that is always taking the boys on outings, the priest that leads the choir. The list is endless. No group that involves children are safe from these animals. Not even the lonely and struggling single mum. They are found everywhere.

They have flourished because society had, like ostriches, hid their heads in the sand denying what the children have been telling them. It flourishes because good people divert their eyes.

While one believes social ills should be kept secret, never mentioned in civil society, paedophilia, sexual abuse, misogyny or domestic violence will thrive.

The Church is not to blame for paedophilia, but it is to blame for not dealing with the offenders, putting the victims aside. Cardinal Pell is now on ABC 24. In my opinion, even today, is not taking responsibility for what has occurred under his watch. In fact he is a disgrace to the church.

His views on sexual abuse of children are about on the same level of his views on man made climate change. Both wrong.

Can he say why no priest or any other church employee has not been reported to the police under his watch?

I went to my newsagent in the local shopping centre. It was amazing seeing the headlines on the papers giving credit to the PM’s action. Spoke to two women at the bus stop, both of who said something has to be done. Comments from not a young woman, “Something has to be done. My nephew might still be alive. He hung himself a few months ago”. These comments from strangers.

It is like a floodgate has been open.

It is a shame that both Pell and O’Farrell had to be dragged screaming to do the right thing.

Would love to have access to that phone call between the PM and Pell yesterday.

This is a matter above politics and I would warn the Opposition leader to be careful with what he has to say.

We must stay focused on the abuse, not the institution.

Yes, the power of the church needs to be broken. After this, the powers of separation between church and state must be observed.

Church and State
What is the difference between the Church and the State? Why can’t we combine the two, or eliminate the one of the other? Recall the statement of our Lord when the Pharisees asked him if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not. He replied: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:17). Clearly there is a difference between Caesar’s state and God’s Church. Who gets what? What is the role of the Church and the role of the State in any society? If a healthy society requires a vibrant Church and an energetic State, what services do these two provide? What are their distinct functions?

Here is a simple way to explain the different roles of the Church and State in society. The Church deals with the eternal order, our eternal salvation, which is to be found ultimately in the Kingdom of God. The State deals with the temporal order, which is concerned with the here and now, the material well-being of citizens. God made us material bodies and immortal spirits. We are incarnate spirits, and spirit-filled bodies. Both dimensions of our being must be attented to. The spiritual well-being is by far the more important, but we cannot neglect the material needs of our bodied existence.
http://www.miraclerosarymission.org/hab180.htm

During the night, listening to the radio, some claims that Mr Whitlam is to blame for bringing in no fault divorce. Other beliefs if priests were allowed to marry would divert the problem.

Sorry, no, it will not. These evil people will marry to access to children. Many do marry; have their own children, whom they go on to abuse.

Please do not take the abuse of these children as an excuse to attack the churches, they are two different problems.

It is sickening listening to Pell attacking the media, claiming there are no problems or that if so, they have been dealt with. Like his mate, he could not get away from the interview quick enough.

To any that have suffered, or your families, I give my condolences. It must be a hard day for you today.

It will probably be one of the most important Royal Commission that we have had in this country.

It will pull together the many other investigations we have had previously into one umbrella. There have been many. This time it is an overview of all abuse.

Let’s hope we get results.

138 comments on “Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children

  1. The Newcastle Herald has bought out a special edition, with many pages dedicated to this matter. I do not usually but papers, but this one I intend to keep. Have not seen such an edition before,

    One cannot have the pride in our present Cardinal, that Cardinal Gilroy had across the whole community. Could not have imagined him making the statements that came out of Pell’s mouth this day. According to Pell, it is exaggerated.

    I wish he was right. I am sure thousands of others out there wo0uld agree.

  2. Pell asked to what attempt the victims are being helped with the furore in the press.

    He does not believe they should be scrape goated. That is the church he is rtalking about, not the victims.

  3. Voyager, this is too important, to too many victims, to be used as a political tool.

    There have been many inquiries into unions. Funny thing, most caught more bosses than unionists.

    Voyager, what is the connection.

  4. Yes, great piece. The clergy notwithstanding, It will be interesting how many serving and x serving police officers, politicians and other public servants get caught up in this sordid affair? This for mine will be where the scape goats will be prosecuted to save this tawdry religion in Australia. The shredders in each parish will be working overtime of that, I have no doubt.

    Still the irony is, the true believers in this nonsense unless a personal victim, will still go on Sundays to the church to listen to what amounts to fairy stories delivered by charlatans dressed in funny clothes.

    For mine, they will never get to the bottom (excuse me)to the extent of the trauma caused to people by this madness. Most of the guilty are already long dead in cemeteries around Australia.

    Anyone listening to Pell’s media conference this morning couldn’t conclude anything else than that, the fix is in.

  5. Voyager, the union that you are inferring to, are now before the courts.

    The other matters, and in spite of nearly two decades and much probing, no charges made.

  6. ” There is a lot of pain in this one on Sexual Abuse.
    Let us have a Royal Commission into Unions within Australia as well.
    Pain there as well.”

    Indeed. Then we can move on to some CEO’S who make the union bosses look like social workers. Banks should be good for a shake up, after all they’re like Ned Kelly just better dressed. The police forces in Australia are always good for a bit of scrutiny, cause hey they not only have corrupt coppers, they have a license to kill people.

    Funny you can always tell when the rancid right are embarrassed. They go straight for their pet hobby horse the union movement. You see folks, fact is, when conservatives are not looking through the keyholes of people’s bedroom doors, they are all in church asking for forgiveness. Pathetic!

  7. The Catholic Church are complicit. The hierarchy have been accomplices and collaborators with their abusive employees. Conducting their own investigations into criminal matters (thereby putting themselves above and beyond the law which they have no right to do) thereby contaminating and corrupting evdence which would be needed in a criminal investigation. Such action is termed “accessories after the fact” and is a criminal offence. They have protected their employees (and themselves and the organisation) by simply moving the employee to another location (where they have gone on to abuse other children), or to their headquarters in Rome and out of reach of the law. They have threatened and silenced the victims of the abuse.
    But I agree that this should not solely be about these abusive employees or their organisations, over 96% of child sexual abuse is committed in the homes of these children by a parent or person known to the child. In 96% of instances when children report sexual abuse they are being truthful (Research studies). Family Courts consistently order children into contact with and even the custody of child sex abusers, because the law says that parents have a right to contact with and custody of children after separation. Family Courts are institutions of the Commonwealth and therefore must also be included. The separation of powers of the government from the judiciary must not be an excuse for not including the Family Court system when so many children are suffering.

  8. This Royal Commission is above politics, but we will have some who will make it political, I know of one site that is blaming this commission as a cover up for the PM’s time at Slater and Gordon, and anyone one who does make it political needs to have a good look at themselves, as they themselves have a big problem.

  9. P.J, I thought that PC was a shocker. Have not heard a good word said about the man in the last few hours, mostly from those who still attend church. Cannot remember a Cardinal or even a Bishop/archbishop, being treated so.

    Not even Mannix.

  10. paulwello. It is a wonder that the site you refer to has not been as yet sued. The hillbilly who runs it, is either 1. Stupid. 2. Cashed up. The former me thinks.

  11. Ragnvald, unless one has lived in a family that experience this abuse, one cannot imagine the damage done. The damage that a lifetime does not fix.

    It is not sex, that causes the problem, it is the power games that are played and the denial of society.

    Listening to our cardinal this morning, made one want to puke.

  12. CU sorry me ol China, I think the edifice of the Catholic church is crumbling, and it is well beyond being polite to these cover up merchants. I hope this is the start of getting rid of this man made lunacy for good.

  13. As has been said, this Royal Commission is covering everything and everybody, but the only one that’s seems to be of focus at the moment is the catholic church and the cover up that has been found behind those walls.

    This will be a long slow process, but hopefully in the end the perpetrators will be found and punished.

  14. We have Tony, as usual out defending his mate in the church. He is sure they care and will do everything to get on top of the problem.

    I sense that Tony is once again trying to catch up, like his mate the cardinal. As I said in the post, Tony needs to think before he opens his mouth on this one. I should have given the same advice to the cardinal.

  15. “but hopefully in the end the perpetrators will be found and punished.”

    Yes, that is important. What I am hoping for, that the culture that exists i across our society, that allows these evils occur, change.

    It is the culture that is the biggest problem Things can only become better by people accepting that evils do exist, that children are abused, and mainly tell the truth. If not, the lies are easily and
    Quickly established.

    That would be good enough for me.

    That is why I fear things will not change, if we allow ourselves to focus on the institution where this abuse occurs in great numbers. We must not forget our education system.

    We need to focus on those who commits the crimes.

    These evil people will invade anywhere children gather. They are at the end of the day, to blame. Sadly they do not appear to have the ability to change their behavior. That is a worry. There is a need to research into this aspect, as well as those who are abused.

    PM being questioned now. The PM is appearing to being staying away from this being a political exercise.

  16. Yes CU a cultural change is needed. A culture where 5 per cent of adults know a child who is being sexually abused. Where over 40% of adults would not report such abuse if they were aware of it. Where offenders are treated so lightly in sentencing.

    But these `evil people’ do not need to invade where children gather – the vast majority are already living within children’s homes and have immediate access to those children to engage in their incestuous activities.

    There is no cure for such people, and until one is found there must be harsh deterrents as the only means of preventing their behaviours.

  17. Great article Migs. Its a dreadful injustice. I agree its not the religion, its their cover up of the issue that is just as disgraceful as the act. This is how Whacky man sees it, What a disgrace.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/child_abuse_a_tool_of_political_abuse/

    Voyager – Sydney
    NOVEMBER 13, 2012 @ 2:04 PM…
    There is a lot of pain in this one on Sexual Abuse.
    Let us have a Royal Commission into Unions within Australia as well.
    Pain there as well.

    The pain is in that potshot comment… Pathetic

    I can say without any fear of contradiction that the rusted on right cannot help themselves, Whackyman and Voyger are living examples of how low politics stoops, Then Brandis blames Labor for Abbots low polling? pathetic.

  18. Ricky, just read that article, truly pathetic piece of journalism, blaming Labor for this happening, as I said earlier, the truly right wing blogger are saying it a cover up for the PM’s problems.

  19. Sexual abuse is ultimately a crime of power. Reading through the findings of the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, it becomes clear that several factors make children in institutions especially vulnerable to abuse.

    The first and most important is the imbalance in power between a child and a perpetrator, especially within an institution where the victim is reliant on that very institution for food and shelter. The second is secrecy. The Irish Commission pointedly found that “witnesses reported that their sense of shame, the power of the abuser, the culture of secrecy and isolation and the fear of physical punishment inhibited them in disclosing abuse.” The final factor is denial. As the melancholy chronicle of history records, terrible crimes are often swept under the carpet or otherwise excused, ignored or not properly investigated….

    http://newmatilda.com/2012/11/13/royal-commission-long-overdue

    ABC24. Prof. Prasser. This ROyal Commission needs to be based on facts, not emotions. It is not a court of law. It is not there to find right or wrong. What is is hoping for, to find out why it is happening.

    It is about why. I also hope that will lead to finding answers on how to fix the problems.

  20. “Let us have a Royal Commission into Unions within Australia as well.”

    Thinks: AWB, Visy, James Hardy, Securency, etc plus obscene executive remuneration.

    Geese and ganders.

  21. Was the NSW inquiry only set up to get at the senior policeman that blew the whistle. I may be a cynic, but believe so.

    It was said by experts the both the NSW and Victoria inquiries should continue.

    Why not go ahead.

    There are short term matters, as well as long term issues to be dealt with. I suggest, that NSW should continue with the short term, while the Feds set up the mechanism for the long term.

    NSW may halt abuse inquiry
    ….Premier Barry O’Farrell says a state inquiry into child abuse won’t proceed if allegations by NSW policeman Peter Fox are covered by the national royal commission.

    Mr O’Farrell said he had spoken to Prime Minister Julia Gillard about the potential crossover between the two inquiries.

    He also gave Ms Gillard assurances that state agencies would fully co-operate with the federal government as it develops its terms of reference.

    The issue of child abuse was reignited after Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox penned an open letter last week to the premier alleging cover-ups by the clergy and police, after spending decades investigating clergy abuse around Newcastle.

    Mr O’Farrell subsequently announced a state inquiry, but on Tuesday he said it probably wouldn’t go ahead if Mr Fox’s allegations were incorporated in the national royal commission.

    ‘What we don’t want to do is have inquiries falling over each other,’ he told reporters.

    ‘I want to engage with the prime minister for the terms of reference for her royal commission.

    ‘If those terms of reference cover the issues raised by Peter Fox, we will reconsider our commission.’

    Mr O’Farrell added he did not want investigations into the allegations of abuse delayed.

    ‘A matter of weeks is acceptable, but I wouldn’t like to see it pushed back to next year,’ he said…

    http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=815990

  22. MY, wonder if the younger Ms. Bishop, the three times bridesmaid, would come up smelling like roses, it there was an inquiry into Hardie’s.

    Many would not have any reputation left, if there was into AWB They are guilty of one of three things. One, they were not doing their job, as they should have known. They have shocking memories. Could be that they turned away, deliberately not wanting to know.

  23. The statement by Pell at the press conference was a shocker.
    I did note that 2 of the journalists asking questions were Emma Alberici and Leigh Sales.
    also Pell was asked about his victorian “towards healing ” process. Pell said Kennett called him in and said “fix it” . It would be interesting to hear Kennett’s response to that statement. And if true sounds as though Kennett wanted to take a quick political response.

    I have since heard Abbott all he wants to stress is that the process should be about “healing”. Personally I hope there is more to a Royal Commission than healing.

  24. Sue,,they just do not get it.There can be no healing with the truth being acknowledged..

    Mr. Abbott seemed more concerned about protecting the church than the victims.

  25. CU

    did you see Pell holding up his latest, the booklet detailing the Catholic Church’s protocols for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.

    Such a non descript booklet (plain grey), obviously designed so as not to be identified with the Catholic Church.

    SEXUAL ABUSE

    THE RESPONSE OF
    THE ARCHDIOSIS OF SYDNEY

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/defiant-cardinal-george-pell-says-sex-abuse-royal-commission-will-separate-fact-from-fiction/story-fndo2j43-1226515895912

  26. The Catholic Church do not have the statutory powers under State laws, nor the expertise from qualifying training to investigate allegations of child abuse. They are contaminating and corrupting evidence which would be needed for criminal prosecution purposes and to protect children. The Catholic Church are NOT the law and should be prosecuted for interfering in due legal processes.

  27. One thing that I have never trusted about the Catholic Church and this is also somewhat true for some in positions of trust such as teachers and doctors – this is the idea that due to their social status, there is a presumption of guilt against the victim. This must be the most difficult thing of all..a victim who is blamed, such as Pell’s previous statement that one 13yr old victim was “wise beyond her years.”

  28. A difficulty with the Catholic Church is that this church has priests who are “ordained by god” and therefore they perceive themselves as being answerable to priestly law well ahead of being answerable to secular law. When the church imposes a penalty and penances are performed, the sin is negated. Which is where we have a problem, the church sees this as a breaking of priestly vows rather than a criminal offence.

  29. Min, it is important we do not get waylaid by attacks on religion. Focus must remain on the victims and the abuse.

  30. Ricky @3.29pm, I followed the link you provided into the paranoid, warped world of the Tea Party. What a hellish world they inhabit. Surrealism finally makes sense.

    Some frothing at the mouth that the Catholic Church will be singled out, some that it won’t, some loony shrieking about the PM not addressing the evils perpetrated by the BBC-yes you read it here, folks.

    Apparently in the weird conspiracy ridden universe Dingbats inhabit, the British Broadcasting Commission and its goings on are the responsibility of the Australian PM. Who woulda thunk?

    There was even one deranged oaf who, despite claiming he isn’t a sexist, went on to say that raping little girls is OK because the vagina, unlike the anus, is an external organ and so there is little damage to the internal organs when penetration occurs.

    Apparently, there is no psychological damage, either. “Legitimate rape”, it would seem.

    Not only did this f*cken genius not have a clue that the vagina is located inside the body, but is also completely ignorant of the fact that the anus is not an internal organ, or an organ at all.

    I am boldly assuming that this particular example of pond scum actually has an anus, as opposed to being one.

    Let’s not forget that the thrust of Pies’ mendacious monstrosity is that the PM and the government have announced the RC purely as a vehicle to attack Liealot and the Catholic Church. Concern about the abuse of children is apparently just a side issue.

    Quite how he has come to that ludicrous conclusion isn’t clear. That he is a lying toerag is beyond dispute. And that he couldn’t give a toss about child abuse in this country is also patently clear.

  31. The real shame here is there are thousands of workers and volunteers doing extraordinary good work for organisations that will be negatively affected by this enquiry, who will question their efforts and beliefs.

    I’m not saying the enquiry shouldn’t happen – but there will be a lot of angst.

  32. No matter how much ‘angst’ there is, 2353, you are right. The enquiry must be, and the sooner some broad conclusions are drawn the better. It is really important that the law is changed soon to require mandatory reporting to police by any adults and organisations which have information about sexual abuse of children. The confessional has for too long protected hardened criminals masquerading as priests, which is perhaps why the Roman Catholic Church, maybe unfairly, has come to be seen as producing more pedophiles than other religious organisations.

  33. Patricia, that is the problem, when it comes to children, there is already mandatory reporting. At least NSW.

    WE also have laws thaqt everyone who works with children must have police checks.

    I know for sure that the Catholic Education system follows these laws.

    The problem seems to be that many believe they know better than child protection workers, and continue to do their own thing.

    Maybe there needs to be mandatory reporting when one becomes aware that someone might be a perpetrator. I am not too sure how this could work.

  34. As for the confessional, the cardinal’s outrage defending if left me a lil
    ttle cold.

    First of all, it is a church law. They can always be changed.

    The second is, that for forgiveness to work, one has to do more than confess. One has to show they are sorry. Two, they have to give a commitment not to sin again.

    Therefore there is no forgiveness unless this occurs.

    If the priest is turning up regularly, there is no forgiveness, they are wasting their time.

    The priest hearing the confession, hands out penitence, as saying the rosary or three hail Mary’s. The priest could make it a condition that the offender had to make amends to the victim, by handing himself into the law.

    If one is not sorry and walks out with the intention of offending again,, they have not been forgiven. Why would the good cardinal support such a farce. It is the offender that has not respected the sanctity of the confessional. Same would go for murder.

  35. Cu, it was not an attack on religion but rather an explanation of why the situation within the Catholic Church is more complicated. As expressed, it is also (or once was) a common held belief that certain persons/professions were above such behaviours..quite the opposite of course. One must suspect that these persons deliberately enter professions which place them in close and trusted contact with children..also being one of my concerns about the schools chaplaincy program.

  36. Min, I did not mean you. You are not doing that.

    There are others that will use any opening to attack the church, diverting attention away from the real problems.

    Yes, that chaplaincy programme is indeed a worry. Not necessary for sexual abuse, but other influences they can have on the young.

    Then I am always wary of do gooders. Maybe I am unfair and a cynic. I know all know is that I fought against any attempt to bring in volunteers while I worked in disability homes. It scared the daylights out of me.

    Unless the volunteers had disabled children of their own, I just did not trust their motives. Never seen must that said had it wrong. One had to be extra careful with staff.

  37. “One must suspect that these persons deliberately enter professions which place them in close and trusted contact with children..also being one of my concerns about the schools chaplaincy program.”

    Not just suspect. Evidence shows they do.

  38. All I can say is I hope everyone keeps politics and grandstanding out of this, and let the commission do it’s job unfettered. tabot has been remarkably contrite in this, and I hope he keeps it up. The media have already started in on their sly ‘kathlick’ attacks. I hope they pull their collective heads in, and WAIT for whatever happens, before telling us what they reckon in advance.

    I’m no fan of religion, but I’m less a fan of witch hunts, which this could easily dissolve into if they are not careful

  39. Of course Tom R – Only the Catholic Church are allowed to conduct witch-hunts – killing thousands of women and men in the process by extreme tortures, burning at the stake and hanging. Keeping hundreds of young women as slaves in Magdalen laundries; stealing children for adoption; transporting hundreds of children to far-off colonies; ordering women and children back to brutal fathers (to save his soul); as well as the many hundreds of children around the world who have been robbed of their childhood and their lives or a lifetime of torment by being sexually abused by RC Priests.

    No, of course the Roman Catholic Church must not be scapegoated for the atrocities and crimes against humanity it has committed.over centuries and still is, and the collaborators and accomplices within its ranks must have easy consciences as they file through the Church’s doors every Sunday.

  40. All I’m saying Ragnvald is lets get the actual evidence, rather than insinuations, before castigating them. And, sad to say, it is not just the Catholics (although they seem to be predominant in the debate) there are plenty of other institutions that have murky secrets that need exposing. We shouldn’t do ‘witch-hunts’ just because they did. Do it right, it will have a more lasting effect. Plenty of time to castigate whoever when you have the proof in your hands.

  41. The innocent who are within Religious Denominations and Community Service Groups and Government Departments who do wonderful services for humantiy must not be villified and labelled by the bitterness of words and generalisation. I refuse to comment further as mud sticks to the inncoent when we start castigating a particular organisation or religion. There are bad people in all walks of life, but there are also wonderful human beings of unquestionable integrity and generosity in those same walks of life.

  42. “there are also wonderful human beings of unquestionable integrity and generosity in those same walks of life.” – Then why have they stood by and done nothing.?. They are collaborators and accomplices by their silence and disregard and their continuing support of the guilty within their organisation. There can be no Pontius Pilates in this matter.

    “All that is needed for evil to succeed , is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

    Tom R – I was referring to evdience which already exists of the atrocities around the world of the crimes against humanity committed by the Catholic Church – documentary and testimentary evidence. This is merely a new chapter in the history of such atrocities. It will serve to add to the huge catalogue of such evidence.

    This is a New Age of mass communication (no pun intended) mainly by the Internet – in the past such atrocities were only known by word of mouth and the media were silenced by libel laws. The Internet has given the people a voice and readily accessible information and the power to expose immoral and illegal practices in any organisation.

  43. Miglo, are you Catholic? Why are you defending the church? What do you think about celibacy? Don’t you think this has contributed to the problem?

    There are calls for Pell to be sacked. What do you think about this?

  44. The piece in today’s Fairfax press is consistent with what I have been saying, namely that the expectations of the Royal commission are too high:

    A SENIOR commissioner from the 1980s royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody has warned the Gillard government to dampen the expectations of victims in the new wide-ranging inquiry into child sexual abuse.

    Hal Wootten, QC, said given the enormous scale, it is unrealistic to expect that all or even most cases will be investigated.

    Mr Wootten, 89, admitted the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody – which cost $30 million and lasted four years – produced a disappointing result because not enough thought went into its terms of reference.
    “It seems to me that this inquiry into child abuse in institutions has got far greater potential to just become enormous” … Hal Wootten QC.

    “It seems to me that this inquiry into child abuse in institutions has got far greater potential to just become enormous” … Hal Wootten QC.

    ”The deaths in custody commission was set up very hastily as a knee-jerk reaction to a peak of deaths in custody,” Mr Wootten said. ”The government set it up to investigate all deaths over a 10-year period and had no idea how many deaths it would be.

    ”There turned out to be 100 deaths that were within the terms of the royal commission. Immediately every family that had lost a person had an expectation of investigating suspicions. You couldn’t deal with any one death quickly.”

    For its child sexual abuse inquiry, the government must take time to establish the right terms and scope and ensure its goals are realistic, he said.

    ”It seems to me that this inquiry into child abuse in institutions has got far greater potential to just become enormous. There must be thousands of cases. To think it would be possible to give a royal commission-type investigation into every case where there was an allegation of abuse would be fanciful.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/wootten-warns-of-unrealistic-hopes-for-finding-closure-20121113-29aj2.html#ixzz2C99SBtiA

  45. No, Calls should not be made for Pell to be sacked – that again leaves it up to the hierarchy in the Catholic Church who have already proved inadequate to such tasks. Pell should be charged with being an accessory before and after the fact and brought for criminal trial.
    It has nothing to do with celibacy – thats a complete red herring. These people enter the priesthood to obtain access to and power, control over children.

  46. Far be it from me to dump on religion, taring this of blind faith with the same brush. I respect their right to religion as they should mine to be 99% atheist 1% agnostic. Science is my choice and as I can’t prove otherwise, I will leave that dirty window slightly ajar. What I could never get after reading the bible, the Koran and countless texts on Hinduism and budism (the one that made most sence) is how the power base or most religion is built upon the blind faith of falable men. (Yes if you want a real anti woman dickfest look at Christianity) There are great people in religion but they are just people none the less. When I hear Christian and democracy in the same sentence It’s an oxymoron. We see this by how long it has taken to get this RC up. The power religion has over democracy. this took guts, its an essential ballsy decision and I congradulate Prime Minister Gillard for her decision. When I hear people who spout being Christian trying to score political points from the RC…it discussts me and reafirms my atheism. Hypocrisy is the central theme of most religious people, avoiding it and perpetuating it. My moral compass is fine, it does not need to be magnatised to religious guilt to prove my morality. You can get people to believe almost anything if they are lazy and desperate, even that the Prime Minister is doing this for self serving political convenience. Oh Ye of little faith.

  47. My sincere apologies to “catching up” for my ignorance in crediting Migs with this fine contribution. Great work mate, sorry for the significant oversight. Sincerely Ricky

  48. Rather than express a personal view in Parliament, Barry O’Farrell could introduce an amendment to the mandatory reporting laws of NSW. No need for Barry to wait for a royal commission. And as to the Attorney General of NSW, consenting to prosecuting a priest, well Barry O’Farrel could not rely on Smith putting victims before priests, judging by a current case in NSW. (link below)

    “Premier Barry O’Farrell has called for priests to be subject to mandatory reporting laws when it comes to child sexual abuse, after stating on Tuesday he could not understand how priests could keep admissions of abuse made in the confessional a secret.

    “I just can’t fathom that a member of the clergy who’s engaged in abuse of children and who confesses that abuse … will not have it reported to police,” he told the ABC’s AM program on Wednesday.

    The Premier said he was expressing his personal views on the matter, not those of his government, and had not yet considered law reform in this area. But he added he was mindful that in some countries where mandatory reporting had been implemented, churches had flouted those laws.

    Under the NSW Crimes Act, a person must disclose knowledge of a sexual assault or risk being charged with concealing a serious indictable offence, but priests are one of a small class of occupations that cannot be prosecuted unless the Attorney-General consents.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/abuse-confessions-should-not-be-secret-ofarrell-20121113-29aii.html#ixzz2C9JmSitL

    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/smith-under-fire-over-accused-priest/story-e6frfku9-1226420540274

  49. We must not become focused on the confessional of celibacy of the priest. Neither of these cause paedophilia.

    The confess one’s sins, the following has to occur. Repent – Retribution – Abolsution.. All have to happen.

    This is a church sacrament. The question I raised, is why if the church created it, why the church cannot change it. It is not in the same camp as the Ten Commandments, handed down by God to Moses. It is not from the bible stories of Jesus.

    Listening to the Attorney General, Ms Roxon, this morning, when she warned that what we should be looking at, is not what is occurring in the confessional but the documented numbers of instances where others in the church, outside the

    This, our good cardinal will find hard to explain. Yes, the good cardinal is in the spotlight, whether he likes it or not.

    Being celibate does not cause none to commit sexual abuse of children. In fact, some conceal themselves within the sacrament of marriage, to commit such crimes, even against their own children.

    Saying that, if marriage priest and their families was encouraged within the ranks of the church, it could create an environment and culture that made it harder for paedophilia to occur.

    As for the church, I was surprised to learn this week, that for the first three hundred years of Christianity, women and men were equally within the church. It appears St Augustine and other males have much to answer for.

    I would recommend that one catches up on the last Compass series of Divine Women. Very interesting, if one is interested in learning how women became second class citizens. I might be wrong, but we might just find, the same occurrence in the Muslim faith. Began on equal footing, but pushed out of the way.

    It is not as Mr. Abbott claims just a matter of healing. It is a matter of getting rid of the evil practice for ever. It is a matter of changing our culture on every level. It is a matter of all taking responsibility.

    These people, seek out the weak and vulnerable, bypass any that are capable of looking after themselves.

    This could be the reason, as the Victorian investigations are showing, the number of incidences is showing up among the disabled, instead of among children. There have been progress in the last few years to protect children. One only has to look at the site of Broken Rites, to realize the police are having some success.

    http://brokenrites.alphalink.com.au/

    This is not a post to protect any church. The opposite is true. If one wants to do that, it is their right, but I just wish they would go elsewhere to do it.

    This is a serious problem, that many will have to work hard to keep it above politics and prejudice of many.

  50. Red letter day. Pyne seems to be agreeing with Roxon. Believes that the priest have a responsibility to report crimes, regardless of the confessional.

    All the paedophile has to be told, do not bother coming to confession unless you are willing to make retribution by putting yourself in. To do otherwise, is to abuse the sanctity of the confessional. Not hard.

  51. I have clearly stated that I was reared a Catholic. I have also stated I am a lapse one. I would say I am an unbeliever. I lost faith in the church, with their treatment of women and children. I did not come to this situation easily.

    I have experience both as a worker and personally, more sexual abuse of children than I would like.

    I have observed on a personal level, sexual abuse by a priest I had faith in. I put my son under his care. I took must satisfaction in seeing him jailed. I did not take the same satisfaction in one of his victim’s ending up in Boggo jail for double murder. A kid who used to dt6ay at my home.

    I have a history of a adopted brother, who went through the system in the 1970’s. Attending a school where there was found down the track of paedophile priests. He went off the rails and denies he was involved. I do not believe him in hindsight. The terrible thing is that others want him to attend Westmead Boy’s Home, after being at Kincumber after the death of my mother when he was seven. He would have been in more danger. My father, a non Catholic, did everything in his power to protect my brother and us. Sadly the church he had little time for, let him down.

    Yes, two schools within five miles of one another. Unbelievable. I know.

    To top it off, as a young mother, I was it appears, one of those young vulnerable mothers, who married to give her beautiful daughter family. A daughter that became more fodder for his, what in retrospect, his evil desires, which I believe he had little control over. I have learnt since, behavior that it was throughout his family.

    It is only now, that I am cannot blame the church alone.

    It was my experience, one I had much trouble believing or understanding that took me to Uni. Took me into child protection, where surprisingly I was a good and effective worker. Did not see a sexual abuser in every case, some do.

    What is sadder, I am sure that many, too many can come up with history worse than mine.

    As a child and young adult, I did not even know such evil behaviour occurred.

    If this Royal Commission goes as it should, the like of offenders in the church and everywhere else will be rooted out.

    We need to remember, there are also good people to be found working with children everywhere. We will have to rely on these to lance the boil.

    I will make it clear, I do not see myself or family as victims. Yes, we have survived, still pay the cost but we are not to blame for what occurred.

    I will make it clear, I am not seeking sympathy, and do not want it. Sympathy will only lessen the message I am attempting to get across.

    I just want the problem to be eradicated.

    I see very few people in my daily life. I Interact with fewer. Yet within the last week, I have been told of two incidences, from the past.

    I am sure many of our readers are experiencing the same, form people they least expect it.

    Sadly the cardinal is wrong. The matter is not being exaggerated. I wish it was.

    I have also heard stories from institutions of other churches. I have also worked in institutional care, where paedophiles showed up, but quickly got rid of.

    No, I am not defending the church, an institution I have no faith in. I am blaming the culture that exists in our society.

  52. The press appear to be misrepresenting Tony Abbott

    “Mr Abbott says everyone has to obey the law.

    “If they become aware of sexual offences against children, those legal requirements must be adhered to,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday.

    “The law is no respecter of persons, everyone has to obey the law, regardless of what job they are doing, what position they hold.”

    Asked if that applied to priests, Mr Abbott replied: “Indeed.”

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/abbott-wants-child-abuse-to-be-reported/story-e6frfku9-1226516569226#ixzz2CA24Yxaj

    Fancy news ltd exagerrating the facts. As the NSW laws actually have loophooles in mandatory reporting, it is easy for the “laws” to be upheld. So Abbott is not saying anything that is controversail to his church, it is only news ltd that implies it.

  53. “The innocent who are within Religious Denominations and Community Service Groups and Government Departments who do wonderful services for humantiy must not be villified and labelled by the bitterness of words and generalisation. I refuse to comment ”

    You have summed up what I am trying to say.

    What one should not forget, the parents did not believe w these kids. Many must have raised the matter as adults. Did not the parents believe them then.

    The legal system did not believe. No, the churches have much to answer for, To blame them, will not solve the problem..

    Listening to the Attorney General, gives me much hope that this time, things will be different.

  54. SUE – Thank you for that information i.e. “Under the NSW Crimes Act, a person must disclose knowledge of a sexual assault or risk being charged with concealing a serious indictable offence,”

    That must also apply to lawyers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are informed of such sexual assaults on children during Family Court proceedings, but fail to report such matters to the statutory authorities. In my view, concealing an offence such as sexual assault of a child is “aiding and abetting the offender” and its long overdue that those who are concealing such offences from the police and child protection authorities were held to account for their wrongdoing.

    Mandatory reporting requirements are impotent unless they are strictly enforced and failure to do so is punished as aiding and abetting the offence.

  55. silkworm, sacking Pell will solve nothing but divert from main problem.

    I do not believe that many have less respect than I have for this man. He is of more use in his present position.

    Yesterday’s PC showed that.

    He will get his chance to provide answers at the RC. That is the way it should be done.

    There is no place for any witch hunts at this time.

  56. It is the defenders of the church that are resisting calls for Pell to be sacked, and contrary to what some here are saying, if Pell is forced to resign, he would not have his religion to hide behind, and it would make it easier for him to be held to account for his past coverups in Victoria.

    If he does not resign, then it adds to the appearance of the church being a corrupt institution.

    Resigning or not, he will be held to account. I’m happy either way.

    And if people are afraid that donations to charities will dry up, they can always give to Protestant or secular charities.

  57. All charitable monies go to Rome. Even every cent of the millions raised by Mother Theresa for the starving, poor, orphaned, and homeless children in India went to Rome. The children benefited little from the donations.

  58. This is what one is up against. A world that many would find hard to believe exists, even when its happens to you.

    “I remember waking up and feeling groggy.”

    The court heard Rapson then went around the room and sexually abused the boys in their beds.

    The alleged victim said at one point that another priest, Father Frank Klepp, entered the room.

    The alleged victim told the court he heard Father Klepp ask “what are you doing?”.

    Rapson allegedly replied: “You know what we do here.”

    Rapson blamed God when he was told to resist the temptation.

    “God made us this way and it’s his fault,” he said.

    “You’re one to talk, you’re the same as me.”

    Rapson is facing 11 charges of abuse, including one count of rape.

    The offences are said to have taken place between 1973 and 1990….
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/court-told-accused-priest-blamed-god-for-sexual-assaults/4371714.

  59. More people alleging child sex abuse have come forward since the arrest of a Sydney Catholic Brother on the New South Wales Central Coast.

    The 59-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was recently arrested in relation to the abuse of two boys at a Sydney school in 1987.

    He faces six charges, including five counts of indecent assault of a child under 16.

    The man showed little emotion during his first court appearance at Wyong via videolink on Wednesday afternoon.

    The Crown told the court more alleged victims have come forward since his arrest…..

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/catholic-court/4371862

  60. A man has faced court accused of raping children at an after-school care centre in Sydney’s north-west.

    The 27-year-old staff member was arrested on Tuesday and charged with nine offences, including sexual intercourse with a child and persistent sexual abuse.

    The offences were allegedly committed against two girls, aged eight and nine.

    The matter has been heard in a closed session at Parramatta Local Court and adjourned until January.

    Neither the man nor the childcare centre can be named for legal reasons.

    Topics: child-abuse, sexual-offences, castle-hill-2154

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/childcare-worker-charged-with-raping-children/4370866

  61. Pell already has his lawyers at work. Pity he did not take as much time to speak to the victims.

    No wonder he looks his age and uncomfortable. He came back from the Vatican, saying he could do nothing about that Uni college, only to do so within hours.

    It looks like we do not have to wait long to see what he has to say under oath. One would have thought his lawyers would have been following this trial closely.

    That annoys me more, that the man has not seen fit to take an interest in what has been occurring over the years.

    May be he would have been better placed, being obsessed with the denialist stance when it comes to man made climate change, and divert his attention to what is occurring in his church.

    What is the use of being a cardinal, if one cannot use your influence to bring the authority to bring about change.

    Cardinal George Pell has made a court application to find out sensitive information about a sex abuse victim, before Australia’s most senior Catholic gives evidence at Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into church abuse.

    The ABC was the only media present in the hearing before Judge Roy Punshon in the Victorian County Court this morning.

    Barrister Marcus Hoyne, acting for Cardinal Pell, said the matter was somewhat urgent, as his client might have to give evidence at the inquiry before the end of this month.

    Mr Hoyne told the court Cardinal Pell was seeking evidence from the trial of convicted paedophile and former Christian brother Robert Best.

    Judge Punshon told the court he was troubled by the application and it would have to be released on the basis it was being used for a particular purpose.

    The ABC understands the evidence sought relates to a victim of Best’s, whose lawyer has made a submission to the parliamentary inquiry that Cardinal Pell was present when the victim reported the abuse to a Catholic priest.

    In a statement to the ABC, a spokeswoman for Cardinal Pell says he disputes the victim’s claims and he was out of the country at the time.

    The statement says “the purpose of the application is to seek access to the facts” relating to the evidence heard at the parliamentary inquiry.

    “Cardinal Pell does not propose to take any steps in the prosecution of Mr Best, nor in relation to any applications in those proceedings,” the statement said.

    “For the avoidance of doubt, Cardinal Pell does not seek any involvement in the proceedings, does not plan to take any action regarding the victim and does not wish to take any steps that might exacerbate the victim’s suffering.

    “The only purpose of the application is to obtain information for the purposes of responding to issues raised about this matter in the Victorian inquiry.”

    The case has been adjourned until November 23.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/pell-requests-evidence-on-abuse-case/4371600

  62. People can decide on child abuse inquiry: Bishop
    By Anthea Kissell
    Updated 1 hour 37 minutes ago

    PHOTO: Bishop Eugene Hurley says he would welcome a commission investigating an old case of alleged child abuse if the Tiwi people supported that. (Rchard)
    MAP: Nguiu 0822
    The Catholic Bishop of the Northern Territory says the people of the Tiwi Islands should decide if a Royal Commission is to revisit an alleged child sexual abuse case.

    Brother John Hallett was accused of systematically abusing boys at the Francis Xavier Boys School at Nguiu from the mid-1980s to 2003.

    He was found guilty of a number of offences by a Darwin jury but his convictions were later quashed on appeal.

    At least forty children had claimed they were sexually abused by Brother Hallett.

    Territory police in 1997 said that language problems had made gathering evidence difficult during their initial investigation……

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/bishop-hurley-on-child-abuse-and-confession/4371588

  63. Rag, I have some sympathy for your view, but what has that got to do with systemic sexual abuse of children and now the disabled.

    Believe me, we do need to keep focus, if we want results.

    There is one regret in my life, that I took the easy way out and insist the police take action on what happened to my daughter. As the years go on, this guilt grows, as I watch her still struggling, dealing with something that was not her fault.

    I was tired and weak. That is no excuse.

    There are many more to blame than the institutions and churches. We all have to pick up some of the blame. That is hard to do.

    We should realize that now, And have no excuse to walk away, putting our heads in the sand, saying it has nothing to do with us.

  64. Fran, Drum raised the prospect that not many priests committing these offenses would be going to confession. Suspect that is true.

    Of course it could be an offenders way of shutting one’s local priest up.

  65. CU, your mention of the Tiwi Islands CU triggered old memories.

    Around 1950, a very devout friend of my parents, a true pioneering woman of the Northern Territory, went to the Tiwi Islands to help the Mission develop skills in growing a cash crop (tobacco…things were different then!)

    Within 3 months she was back in Darwin, in the psychiatric ward of the Darwin Hospital with a “nervous breakdown”, no mean feat for a “bush” woman who was a crack shot and who could live off the land as well as the aboriginal friends who taught her.

    She saw something on Melville Islands that shook her faith to the core. She just referred to it as “abuse” (of the children) I don’t think she entered a Catholic church again for the rest of her long life.

    I remember my parents discussing with her husband how the church had made threats to have her “scheduled” if she pursued the matter.

    It’s only in recent years that I’ve formed an opinion as to what kind of abuse she had seen.

    I wonder how far back the RC terms of reference will extend ?

  66. MU, I am glad you reminded me. During the week, overnight on ABC radio, I heard a conversation, which I repeated a couple of days ago, blaming Whitlam for everything. This idiot also blames Labor for removal of the missionaries for the Abotiginals area. He claimed that after the abuse began.

    He inferred that the missionaries were all above reproach. This person has to ignore all the history of the abuse these people suffered since the days of the white man invading their territory..

    Having worked in institutions, mostly in NSW and among Caucasian kids, there is much one sees that would lead to a breakdown.

    It is a shame that your rellies did not say what she saw. Do you have any idea. Who do you believe were the abusers.

  67. I believe the terms will go back as far as needs be.

    Once a boil is lanced, it can be very dirty. This one will take on a life of its own.

  68. The senior lawyer who reviewed the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing protocol says he can point to alleged contemporary cover-ups.

    Professor Patrick Parkinson was cited by Cardinal George Pell as the man who had reviewed the church’s protocols on two occasions and had given it his tick of approval.

    But Professor Parkinson has told the ABC’s Lateline program he has withdrawn his support for the protocol because the church failed to take action over clergy who do not comply.

    He alleged a cover-up in the church, as late as 2005, put children at risk.

    The Professor of Law at Sydney University also says allegations made by New South Wales Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox and Victorian police amount to “organised criminality”.

    Responding to the announcement of a royal commission into institutionalised child sexual abuse, Cardinal Pell yesterday drew on the authority of Professor Parkinson.

    “We follow the Towards Healing procedures here in Sydney. They were set in place in early 1997. They have been twice reviewed by Professor Parkinson, one of the leading authorities in the area,” Cardinal Pell said.

    “Since 1997 one of the significant protocols that’s in place is, [it’s] completely prohibited to shift priests who have been charged, to shift them around.

    “If and where that has been done, that is against the protocols.”

    Professor Parkinson was involved in regularly reviewing the Towards Healing protocol up until 2009.

    He says he no longer supports the document or the church body that it established to investigate any failures.

    “My disagreement with the Catholic Church has been that I have challenged them over failures to comply with the letter and spirit of the protocols,” he said.

    “As a matter of integrity I could no longer support the National Committee of Professional Standards while there was a gap between their rhetoric and their actions.”

    Priests ‘moved overseas’
    Professor Parkinson is very disturbed by the fact there were three separate allegations of serious child sexual assault made against three different priests in an order known as the Salesians.

    He is concerned the church allowed the accused to travel overseas when they were under investigation by police and he says they were not brought back to Australia to face their accusers.

    “They are one of the largest ministries in the world,” he told Lateline.

    “There were three cases in which priests had been moved overseas or kept overseas.

    My disagreement with the Catholic Church has been that I have challenged them over failures to comply with the letter and spirit of the protocols.

    As a matter of integrity I could no longer support the National Committee of Professional Standards while there was a gap between their rhetoric and their actions.

    Professor Patrick Parkinson
    “It concerned me very deeply and I told them they needed to have a public inquiry into this, but eventually the national committee suppressed the report that I eventually [gave] on those cases.”…

    My disagreement with the Catholic Church has been that I have challenged them over failures to comply with the letter and spirit of the protocols.

    As a matter of integrity I could no longer support the National Committee of Professional Standards while there was a gap between their rhetoric and their actions.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/lawyer-claims-church-fails-to-comply-with-abuse-protocols/4372512

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/catholic-church-braces-for-new-abuse-inquiry/4372356

    Catholic Church braces for new abuse inquiry
    Posted 9 hours 58 minutes ago

    Days after the Government announced a Royal Commission in to child sex abuse, a separate inquiry is being prepared, raising questions about the Catholic Church’s future.

    Chris Uhlmann….

    This from the author of that procedure that the cardinal waved around at his PC. Would; say he is in trouble, big trouble.

  69. I was just a child when I overheard these conversations CU. But I was aware that it was something “very bad”.

    And the “baddies” were the priests (or maybe they were brothers). Of that there was no doubt.

    I actually attended a convent school (though not being a Catholic) so I had no contact with male clergy, just nuns, who were wonderful, compassionate people. Things could easily have been different…I’ve just read Charles Waterstreet’s “Repeating the Leaving”.

    In the frontispiece of that book Waterstreet writes “the Brothers’ hearts were in the right place, it was their hands you had to watch”

  70. MJ, I think you would have some idea of my experiences, which I can only say, I thought extreme.

    After reading what is happening the last few days, even I am surprised at what is coming out.

    It is shocking.

    MJ, I do sadly suspect the nuns were aware of what was going on.

    I have reflected back on a conversation I had with a wonderful nun when I was about twenty about my adopted brother. I was puzzled at what she meant at the time.

    The last few day’s revelations make sense of what she meant.,

    I now believe she knew what was going on at the school I sent my brother too, and was trying to tell me to get him out of it, that she knew why he was going off the rails. At the time I took it to mean, she was keeping track of him, after leaving Kincumber, where he had been for three years. Kincumber was wonderful, the way care for kids should be. There was also some good.

    MJ, it is sad indeed, that one cannot trust important institutions that are responsible for the care of children.

    .

  71. A retired bishop has slammed Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, as an embarrassment, saying priests must be prepared to break the confessional seal if it is for the “greater good”.

    Bishop Geoffrey Robinson says Cardinal Pell is out of step with the majority of Australia’s bishops and should no longer speak for the Catholic Church in Australia on the issue of sexual abuse by the clergy.

    He was speaking to The World Today after Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the issue of whether priests should be forced to reveal information given to them in the confessional would be considered by the upcoming royal commission into institutionalised sexual abuse.

    Bishop Robinson, who won international attention for his published work on the need for the church to confront the abuse problem, told Tim Palmer that he believed Cardinal Pell was “not a team player”………

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/retired-bishop-says-pell-an-embarassment/4371794

  72. I agree. We need to move our focus from the confessional. As Fran ABC24 said, she found it hard to believe many would bother confessing. We need to turn our focus back to those who must be seeing what is going on, and turn their eyes away. Those who do not have the guts, to question and challenge the culture.

    ……….It is easy to understand the outrage at the thought that the confessional might stand above the secular law, but I don’t think the state should tackle this, for at least two reasons. First, these are personal beliefs that go to the core of the priests’ faith and self-understanding, and to drive a wedge between public and private conscience is seldom wise or effective. What is the point of making martyrs of such priests?

    The second is pragmatic: I don’t believe that the first inkling of paedophile predation often emerges in the confessional (unless the paedophile knows he is confessing to another paedophile). I think such behaviour emerges because the victim has finally found a voice, or perhaps because rumours are swirling around the church. With all the issues a royal commission must face, this is rather a red herring.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/blogs/the-religious-write/what-george-doesnt-understand-20121114-29c1d.html#ixzz2CEQagFl3

  73. I’ve just watched Uhlmann’s report on 7.30 about the Royal Commission. His story appeared to be about restoring faith in the church. Such an important issue for you, is it Chris?

  74. CU thanks for an excellent engaging thread. Unfortunately, the Fiberals of political advantage would rather score a point than consider unequivocally bipartisan support for the Prime Ministers brave decision to tackle this issue. Especially by catholics within both parties influenced by the church (Abbott takes council from Pell, and their has been some distance of late)..

    Some time ago one of my ex girlfriends’s brothers was the subject to sexual abuse at the hands of priests at a Sydney catholic boys school. He spent his life as an alcoholic substance abuser and eventually topped himself. Pell oversaw the investigation which was settled out of court with a non disclosure and no admittance clause. Pell has been coving these criminal acts for years.including his cover up of Dolly Dunn till it was too hot to handle. I’m sure if all the deals made to settle and the conditions come to light it would reaffirm the type of slime Pell is, reiterating the disgraceful behaviour of the catholic church bureaucracy in dealing with this matter.

    yesterday Pell was defiant waving a 90’s reform paper around and claiming its working… He epitomises the delusional denial of someone drunk on power. He needs to go. .

  75. ragnvald @3.14pm 13/11, spot on. However, the Catholic Church was not the only religious institution obsessed with witches. Matthew Hopkins the self-styled Witchfinder General in England during the civil war was a protestant.

    Witch hunting was all the rage in 17th century England and Europe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Hopkins

    Certainly the Church has covered up abuse for many years, but it’s not the only church or institution to do so. There was a similar scandal wrt to the Anglican Church a few years ago as well as other churches. And state run orphanages were a happy hunting ground for pedophiles.

    Unfortunately, most of the time the action taken by these institutions has been to try to put a lid on it, only to have the scandal exposed time after time.

    Large institutions with rigid dogmas like the Catholic Church seem to have great difficulty in dealing with issues like child abuse. But society as a whole finds it very difficult to deal with.

    Certainly Pell and I suspect many others in his position are regrettably more concerned with the reputation of the institution than dealing with the problem openly and honestly. That just makes them human, although not particularly worthy of the positions they hold.

    We should also examine ourselves and ask whether we would do any better or have feet of clay. We always hope and assume we would, but most of us haven’t been put to the test. Judge not etc…

    When you think about the position of trust priests, nuns, scout leaders, doctors, teachers, police, and a myriad of other professions hold, to believe that they abuse the trust that we have in them is difficult to comprehend. Let alone to believe that parents and other relatives and family friends would also be responsible. And for many, many years, children were not believed.

    Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since reports of child abuse were first revealed. Now, children are believed and more people are aware of the indicators and prepared to deal with them.

    Health professionals, teachers and others are now required to report cases of suspected abuse, but even this is a thorny road. There have been a number of cases where suspected abuse has been reported, where none has happened.

    And unfortunately false reports of abuse in the case of acrimonious divorce and child custody battles

    The PM is absolutely right not to use the RC as a tool to persecute the Catholic Church, or any other institution.

    Hopefully, it will lead to there being a more open attitude by such organisations and better screening of recruits who wish to hold positions where they will deal with children.

    Pedophiles will always seek employment where they will have contact with children. Better screening and identification of likely and existing offenders should be key in helping to minimise the likelihood of abuse occurring.

  76. There are many more to blame than the institutions and churches. We all have to pick up some of the blame. That is hard to do.

    Are you trying to pass some of the blame onto the parents?

  77. No, silkworm, not blame. We all attributed to the abuse, when we choose not to believe what the children are telling us. That is the culture I am talking about. Yes, some parents, even today, take some convincing. Sadly, it is not only parents, but all those around the child.

    It is hard to believe such of someone you may love and trust.

    It is true that none of the abuse of the past would have remained not dealt with, if those responsible for the child had acted.

    It flourished when people closed their eyes, or simply do not realize the extent of the crime.

    Yes, we are all to blame, if that used the words one chooses to use.

    I would rather use the word responsibility. We all have a responsibility to protect children, who ever’s they belong to..

  78. I don’t think it’s so much a passing on of blame,Silkworm. Rather I think there’s an awareness that parents have to take more responsibility for what happens to their children. If we are going to leave them in the care of others, then it’s up to us to know just who they are, and how trustworthy. I shudder to think of how little I knew about the adults with whom I left my children in years gone by for tennis coaching or piano lessons.

    I had noticed that my own daughter doesn’t just drop off her boys, even for full length games. She or their Dad stay around to do some useful chore. Their piano teacher comes to the house. Without commenting I had started to wonder about how they’d ever have a chance to develop the freedom of movement which leads to sturdy self reliance. But it seems that they’re more likely to grow up stronger if they’re not put at risk in their earliest years.

  79. Have just found this disturbing article on the Sydney Morning Herald site. Make’s you want to throw up.

    Church pays legal costs of paedophile priests – repeatedly

    THE Catholic Church has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees to defend priests and brothers who have already been tried and convicted of serious sexual assaults against children in their care.
    A Fairfax Media investigation has revealed that at least two Catholic orders have continued to fund the legal defences of some of their religious members as they went to trial for the second, third and even fourth time for the sexual abuse of children.
    This includes the funding of multiple appeals, hiring barristers who charge thousands of dollars a day, and hiring private investigators.
    In some cases the result has been that criminal prosecutions and the victims are dragged through the courts for years.

    ”It is extremely offensive and hurtful to victims that Catholic Church orders are continuing to fund the defences of priests and brothers after they have been convicted,” said Nicky Davis of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. ”We can see what’s going on and we can see that it’s obscene,” she said.
    The head of professional standards at one of Australia’s largest Catholic orders, Christian Brothers, confirmed that the order had continued to fund the defence of two of its members – Brother Robert Charles Best and Brother Edward Vernon Dowlan – after they had been convicted of sexually abusing children at Catholic schools in Victoria.
    Best has had at least five court battles funded by the Christian Brothers dating back to 1996, including three trials on multiple counts of indecent assault and buggery, and at least one appeal in the Victorian Supreme Court.
    In August last year Best was jailed for a maximum of 14 years and nine months but is appealing his conviction in the Victorian Supreme Court.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/church-pays-legal-costs-of-paedophile-priests–repeatedly-20121115-29evw.html#ixzz2CIcFyjqw

  80. Yes, we are all to blame, if that used the words one chooses to use.

    I don’t accept that at all. It now sounds as if you’re blaming society. You may as well try to blame the culture of the 60s as some in the church have done.

  81. As a child of the sixties, I witnessed first hand, the perversion of our local parish priest (in England) when I would go to religious instruction on a Saturday morning with my sister. I would sit under his dining room table while he would get the girls to do handstands against the wall and take photos of their knickers.
    Needless to say we told our parents and stopped going to religious instruction.
    The same priest took a group of children from our Catholic school to a camp at the lake district and walked in on a young girl in the bath and refused to leave.
    After the camp the girl complained to her parents, and her strict Irish Catholic father beat the living daylights out of her for blaspheming against a priest.

    After numerous complaints about the priest ha was sent into “Retreat” and we never heard anymore about him.

    Sadly the man made doctrines of the church have led to this slippery slope and celibacy is one of the main culprits along with the priests being, not servants of the congregation, as intended, but rather placed on a pedestal above the congregation.

    Paul in his writings said “I would rather that you all be like me (Celibate),” which was justification for the decision to introduce celibacy, but they ignored the last half of his sentence which went on to say “But it is better to marry than to burn with lust!”

    Says it all really.

    Cheers

  82. Truth Seeker / Skeptical

    Paul in his writings said “I would rather that you all be like me (Celibate),” which was justification for the decision to introduce celibacy, but they ignored the last half of his sentence which went on to say “But it is better to marry than to burn with lust!”

    Long ago I read a long tome call “The history of sacerdotal celibacy in the Catholic church” which made the argument that celibacy was not so much about wanting to suppress sexuality but rather is was about making sure that the members of the church would not make their offices in any way hereditary, therefore the first loyalty of the clergy would be to the hierarchy of the church rather than to the needs of their wives and children, in other words celibacy is all about centralising power over many generations.

  83. The justification or reason for celibacy was about not being distracted by worldly pursuits or distractions, being able to concentrate fully on the job at hand, but there are very strict guidelines within scripture for the hierarchy of the church to be married and “have their own house in order, so that they can order the Lords house”..
    the Disciple Peter, who was attributed with being the founder of the Catholic church,( the first Pope, if you will) was married, and his mother in-law was mentioned in the scriptures.

    Man made doctrine is the problem along with the politicisation of the church centuries ago.

    Cheers

  84. Yes, silkworm, I believe I am blaming, as you say society. Of course society did not commit the crimes. They just allowed them to prosper.

    The only way we can protect the children in the society we reside is eternal vigilance by all. That is everyone.

    The natives on our near islands have it right when they say children belong to the tribe, and the tribe has the duty to raise them. I would also add, protect them.

    Silkworm,. Why do you find that unrealistic.

  85. Silkworm, you being uncomfortable with my comments, makes me wonder if that culture of the 60’s still exists. It is a shame that the culture has existed across time, a lot longer than the 60’s. Silk-worm, it is still happening.

  86. :about wanting to suppress sexuality but rather i:

    I read once, that it came about because the church did not want the expense of caring for the families of priests.

    That one rings true. Another is one of mine, they just wanted to isolate women more from having a say in the church.

    Please, let stay focus on child abuse, the victims in this matter.

    The abuse occurs outside the church, even in the institution of marriage. It occurs wherever one find children.

    The nature churches, along with sporting and other bodies that work with children, attack these people, they do not create them.

    Perpetrators are to blame. The community has a duty of care to protect children from these evil people.

    I cannot repeat it enough. Yes, Silkworm, we all have that duty.

    Yes, silkworm, I do blame it on culture.

    Yes, silkworm, the culture has to change. This cannot occur, until all realize they are a part of the problem.

  87. Yes, Iain, for once we agree. The church has served women and children badly. Yes, it is all about power.

  88. I’ve always understood that celibacy was imposed in the Middle Ages as a financial measure.

    It would’ve (and still would) cost a a lot more to pay a priest an allowance that enabled him to keep a small family, let alone a large Catholic one if the contraception strictures were maintained as well.

    It seems to be that the celibacy requirement was just reframed in terms of the “higher moral ground”, just adding to and reinforcing notions of guilt within the laity.

  89. Iain, and celibacy has always been about the Christian belief that purity equates with virginity and in fact has it’s source in paganism ie. the vestal virgins. The idea that Jesus mother Mary was a virgin stems from this same paganism, myths evolved as this Judaic religion sought to appeal for converts from Roman and Greek communities. Many of the original Apostles were married men, therefore in the early days of the church celibacy was not a requirement.

    If one goes back through the history of the RC church, many a pope’s son was made a cardinal.

  90. Silkworm, you being uncomfortable with my comments, makes me wonder if that culture of the 60′s still exists.

    WTF?

  91. Cu, I didn’t have a sense that silkworm was taking your comments personally. I think we all have a blind spot on this issue and we get touchy without realising it.

    The more I think about child abuse in our time, let’s confine it to this past century, though it does extend way back, the more I see it as so widespread as to include someone close to nearly all of us in one way or another. Children placed in institutions may have been particularly at risk without parental care, though possibly their placement there may well have saved them from abuse within the family.

    For every story of abuse which may emerge from this Royal Commission I sense there will be another which will never be told of abuse by an uncle, cousin, brother or even a parent. I think it is all somehow related to our western Christian culture and our repressive sexual morality. The propensity of Roman Catholic priests to offend is compounded by their crazy celibacy rules and the opportunity for offence so easily at hand with their positions of authority over their parishioners and their responsibility for minors in their care in institutions intended for their welfare.

    Seemingly sacrosanct rules relating to the Confessional may be invoked by the Church to defend itself or its priests, but I suspect the real concern here is the bottomless pit of funds that will be required for compensation should the many claims be proved which seem likely to emerge in the coming years.

    Oddly, although I am an unbeliever who has little sympathy with the hypocrisy of any religious institutions which fail to face up to and take responsbility for their many crimes and sins, I do appreciate their resistance to the likely financial drain on their financial resources from this Royal Commission, not from sympathy with them so much as a sense of its futility. No amount of money as lump sum settlements to victims or paid to lawyers (the likely recipients of the most part!) is going to reverse what has happened to these children, or to these unhappy adults in their early years.

    I would like to see emerging from this enquiry not ‘justice’ or ‘compensation’ for victims and punishment for perpetrators so much as a real shift of awareness about how this crime came to be so commonplace in our culture. I would like to see Roman Catholic and Anglican clergy as well as others from all denominations working together with responsible community organisations on how to change our sexual behaviour and attitudes within families and society at large so that children are safe everywhere. If money as penalty is to go anywhere I would prefer it to go that end.

  92. Mangrove Jack
    NOVEMBER 16, 2012 @ 8:17 AM
    I’ve always understood that celibacy was imposed in the Middle Ages as a financial measure.

    Spot on…

  93. THE Australian Catholic Church holds thousands of pages of documents containing the psychosexual profiles of dozens of clergy accused of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults.

    The profiles, often sent to bishops, were created as part of the church’s little-known 1997-2008 rehabilitation program for those it described as ”sexual boundary violators”.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/catholic-churchs-secret-sex-files-20121116-29hkb.html#ixzz2CQEj3hl8

  94. some abuse information from the church, no record of any referral from the Encompass program could be found.

    Victoria Police deputy commissioner Graeme Ashton last month told a Victorian parliamentary inquiry that church leaders in Melbourne had not reported any abuse cases to police.

    Sources familiar with the Encompass Australasia program told Fairfax Media that offending clergy were quietly ”transitioned” out of the church, receiving generous payouts, accommodation and university education.

    ”There were some outrageous situations that would have been very embarrassing for the church had they become public,” a source said. “Deals were cut. The whole operation was extremely confidential.”

    NSW District Court documents show that a former Marist Brother, Ross Murrin, who in 2002 admitted to church leaders that in the 1970s he had sexually abused eight primary schoolboys was sent to Encompass Australasia for six months’ treatment. The court heard that many of the victims turned to drugs and alcohol. One died of a drug overdose. After admitting the abuse Murrin was removed from teaching and sent to Rome to work for the church as a translator.

    Police did not learn of his crimes until mid-2007. The brother was charged soon after and returned to Australia where he pleaded guilty and received an 18-month jail term.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/catholic-churchs-secret-sex-files-20121116-29hkb.html#ixzz2CQFgOff2

  95. The more one reads, the worse it gets. Even this morning, there are reports of parents of victims being lied too.

    “……….In another case, a Sydney priest treated by Encompass after he allegedly made a young woman from an ethnic community pregnant was paid to leave the church quietly. His accommodation and tertiary study were fully funded.

    The woman and her child were sent back to her home country.

    The revelation of the church’s wealth of knowledge of the psychosexual make-up of many clergy and its failure to report abuse allegations comes after Australia’s most senior Catholic, the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, this week said the church had been the victim of an exaggerated media campaign.

    Cardinal Pell was responding to the announcement by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, of a royal commission into the abuse of children – a move he supports.

    The Encompass Australasia program was established in 1997 and funded by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes to assess and treat male clergy for psychosexual disorders.

    It was linked to Catholic Church Insurances Ltd, which provided secretarial support and was represented on the

    Encompass Australasia board. The program treated about 1100 people, including hundreds of clergy from Australia and nearby countries, not all of whom were there for sexual disorders.

    Church officials from other denominations were also treated, but they were far fewer in number. Clergy were also treated for depression and substance abuse.

    Detailed psychological reports of patients were prepared and assessments made on the likelihood of reoffending. These reports were often made available to church leaders and lawyers…………

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/catholic-churchs-secret-sex-files-20121116-29hkb.html#ixzz2CQGGLI00

  96. Yes, the confessional debate is a diversion and a red herring. Have not been close to the church for a long time, but was under the impression one no longer goes to confession.

    Other changes seem to be that the fast no longer applies for communion. One now sips wine, and is allowed to touch the host.

    Gee, one foes not even have to wear a scarf or hat, covering one’s hair, if unlucky enough to be a woman.

    I have seen little girls, for their first communion in dresses, that have straps and show all. Not as was demanded in the past, covering the arms to the wrists. There was hardly a veil to be seen.

    Yes, I believe there have been many changes. It is not the church that the likes of me were brought up in.

    MANDATORY reporting for priests in the confessional is irrelevant in fighting clergy sex abuse, because not only do paedophile priests not go to confession, no one else does either, according to senior priests.

    “That’s a big red herring – we don’t do it any more,” said respected retired Melbourne priest Eric Hodgens. “These fellows [child sex abusers] are never going to go to confession. Priests don’t even go. But back in the days when it did happen, it was a very tedious job.”

    None of the priests canvassed by Fairfax Media this week had ever heard anything startling in the confessional, and certainly not admissions of paedophile behaviour.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-debate-about-nothing-confession-booth-emptied-long-ago-20121116-29gk3.html#ixzz2CQJBBNno

  97. Sandringham priest Frank O’Loughlin, author of The Future of the Sacrament of Penance, said the earliest church had a communal form of penance. The modern form of whispering into the priest’s ear began in the 12th century, and became common in the 13th century, he said.

    “It was dealing with sin. The ancient form only dealt with idolatry, murder and adultery and as time went on that got extended. There was an awakening in the 12th century of the individual conscience.”

    Father O’Loughlin said it would be very rare for paedophiles to go to confession because their lives were so secretive

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-debate-about-nothing-confession-booth-emptied-long-ago-20121116-29gk3.html#ixzz2CQMXKQwI

  98. “I think it might be time to take a pause and look at the announcement that the PM made yesterday.”

    True! That what Paul Kelly has done today…http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/commission-on-child-sex-abuse-a-depressing-example-of-populist-politics/story-e6frg74x-1226518423478

    “THE dismal, populist and doomed quality of Australian governance has been on display this week with Julia Gillard announcing an in-principle royal commission into child sexual abuse, a panicked Tony Abbott falling into line and an ignorant media offering cheer upon cheer.

    Rarely has an Australian goverment embarked on such a sensitive and vast project in profound ignorance of what it was doing, with virtually no serious policy consideration and driven entirely by politics. This is the way Australia now works. The quest is for popular approval, moral legitimacy and gesture politics. Labor took this decision flying completely blind. Gillard’s media conference last Monday was a serial exercise in populist politics and policy ignorance. She knew next to nothing about the royal commission she was announcing. What counted was framing herself as the arch opponent of this “incredibly evil thing” determined to expose those who have “averted their eyes” and allow victims to “tell their story”. Now let’s consider some facts. First, child abuse, child welfare and childcare is almost totally a state government responsibility. Indeed, the problems inherent in child sexual abuse have been a major political and administrative problem in state jurisdictions for many years.

    Second, policing is a state responsibility and police inquiries and operations in relation to child sexual abuse are a state responsibility. There has been a turf war inside the NSW police over the issue. Gillard’s response is almost entirely about state government responsibilities.

    It is unknown how a commonwealth royal commission on to such state terrain will work and deliver effective results. Nobody knows because it has not been assessed. Was a royal commission the best option? Who knows? Certainly not the Gillard cabinet. Even on a generous judgment, it seems doubtful.

    This decision was pure politics. The message from Gillard’s office last Friday was no royal commission. On Monday Gillard unilaterally obtained cabinet backing for the reversed position.

    Both the NSW and Victorian governments have been pursuing the issue. In Victoria there has been a parliamentary inquiry assisted by Frank Vincent QC. In NSW, Premier Barry O’Farrell had announced an inquiry in the Hunter region headed by senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cuneen.

    It is no surprise that Roxon, at week’s end, was talking about a joint commonwealth-state royal commission because, as she said, law enforcement and child protection are state issues. In short, Gillard’s initial design doesn’t work.

    At her media conference Gillard said the ambit would go to secular as well as religious institutions. Will Labor exclude its own institutions? Is rape and cover-up of a child in a detention centre to be excluded but rape and cover-up of a child at a church school to be included? This would be untenable.

    On what moral basis could Labor make such distinctions? Yet putting all national government institutions into the terms of reference – surely a moral obligation – is virtually an inquiry in its own right.

    Unfortunately, the worse examples of child sex abuse and cover-up occur in indigenous communities. The 2007 Little Children are Sacred report to the Northern Territory government leading to the Howard government’s territory intervention documented abuse on a scale that was horrific.

    If Gillard is serious about institutional problems involving child sex abuse then she cannot, in moral terms, ignore the plight of indigenous children in institutional care across the nation. How could she explain this to indigenous people? Yet how can this issue be incorporated into the terms of reference and adequately dealt with?

    Most child abuse occurs in families, not in institutional care. Roxon, understandably, says this is not the focus since the remedies are different. But some victims groups will want family abuse and cover-up included in the terms of reference. Since this is the main arena of abuse why wouldn’t they want it included?

    What, therefore, is the purpose of the royal commission? Is it to give victims, regardless of circumstance, therapy and closure by telling their stories? Or is it to identify institutional failings and provide new statutory and policy remedies to prevent repetition?

    These are different functions. Or is it to do both? We don’t know. That’s because Labor doesn’t know and that, of course, is no surprise.”

  99. Tree, on this one, you are wrong, wrong wrong. The announcement of the PM was spot on.

    A Royal Commission into sexual and I hope other abuse of children. Children to be the centre of this commission.

    If the PM does not know what she is doing, those around her do.

    It is not about the church, it is not about other organizations, it is not about the family, it is about children.

    Sexual abuse of children occurs everywhere. Everyone has a part to play.

    This action needs to be above politics, religion hatred, or people’s prejudices.

    I assume you are a expert on this subject, as you are on all others.

  100. The victim will get the satisfaction of having their stories heard, not because they are victims, but what they have to say, needs to be heard. They will want to see a day, that the practices were in the past, not present day.

    Yes, it hurts but it also lets one move on.

    This is something that no victim, or their family gets over it. This is true whether kept in the dark, or bought into the open

    It is sad that you are attempting to make this into a political bun fight.

    I have no heard one victim, or family raises objections.

  101. “Second, policing is a state responsibility and police inquiries and operations in relation to child sexual abuse are a state responsibility. There has been a turf war inside the NSW police over the issue. Gillard’s response is almost entirely about state government responsibilities.”

    In this one, all is responsible. The police, child protection cannot do a thing, unless all play a role.

    It is occurring across state boundaries, at all levels of society.

  102. It surprises me that it has taken the media and Opposition so long, to turn this into a political bun fight. Maybe that is why our trolls hac\ve been so quiet lately. May be their time taken up in mounting an attack, which seems to be beginning today.

    Suspect this will not work, as this one is too personal for many.

    ..PAUL KELLY, EDITOR-AT-LARGE From: The Australian November 17, 2012 12:00AM

    THE dismal, populist and doomed quality of Australian governance has been on display this week with Julia Gillard announcing an in-principle royal commission into child sexual abuse, a panicked Tony Abbott falling into line and an ignorant media offering cheer upon cheer.

    Rarely has an Australian goverment embarked on such a sensitive and vast project in profound ignorance of what it was doing, with virtually no serious policy consideration and driven entirely by politics.

    This is the way Australia now works. The quest is for popular approval, moral legitimacy and gesture politics. Labor took this decision flying completely blind. Gillard’s media conference last Monday was a serial exercise in populist politics and policy ignorance. She knew next to nothing about the royal commission she was announcing. What counted was framing herself as the arch opponent of this “incredibly evil thing” determined to expose those who have “averted their eyes” and allow victims to “tell their story”.

    RECOMMENDED COVERAGE
    Royal Commission

    Gillard’s decision is classic shoot now and pass the mess to others to sort out, in this case, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon. This decision has plunged Australia into a multi-jurisdictional, multi-institutional, state-church, high-cost shambles where nobody knows how the massive expectations of victims can be satisfied.

    It is, however, a perfect fit into Gillard’s political strategy. For Labor, that’s what counts. The media loved it – the combination of a moral crusade, a cast of victims and coming systemic dismantling of the Catholic Church.

    Church leader George Pell played his role to perfection. Leading a deeply divided institution Pell is unable to project a convincing sense of compassion, reform and healing. His media conference this week was a catastrophe, sure to deepen hostility to the church. Pell looms as a huge liability in the institutional crisis now facing the Catholic Church in Australia.

    Indeed, former bishop of Sydney Geoffrey Robinson called Pell’s response a “disaster for the church” and urged the bishops to decide on a meaningful strategy of “full co-operation” with the commission. This is an imperative.

    Led by Abbott, the Catholic wing of the Liberal Party en masse deserted Pell, who opposed any royal commission. It was a humiliation for the Catholic leader. With media outlets this week including descriptions of Abbott as a Catholic in their news reports, the Opposition Leader knew he could leave no room for doubt – he called for the royal commission before Gillard, offered her bipartisan support and finally, on the bogus issue of confessional secrecy, Abbott backed a mandatory “full disclosure, no cover-ups rule”.

    Having being branded a misogynist by Gillard and facing the sure prospect of being branded as a Catholic apologist for sexual abuse cover-ups, Abbott declared: “My duty is to the public, not to the church.” In political terms, he had no choice.

    The crazy elevation of the confessional seal as the frontline political issue for a couple of days reveals the anti-religious hostility now released off the back of the documented sexual abuse cover-ups by churches.

    The central issue is the best way for the state to address religious and secular institutional failures. The core principle, as priest and lawyer Frank Brennan says, is that the church cannot be left alone to get its house in order. It has failed that task and the state must intervene.

    Now let’s consider some facts. First, child abuse, child welfare and childcare is almost totally a state government responsibility. Indeed, the problems inherent in child sexual abuse have been a major political and administrative problem in state jurisdictions for many years.

    Second, policing is a state responsibility and police inquiries and operations in relation to child sexual abuse are a state responsibility. There has been a turf war inside the NSW police over the issue. Gillard’s response is almost entirely about state government responsibilities.

    It is unknown how a commonwealth royal commission on to such state terrain will work and deliver effective results. Nobody knows because it has not been assessed. Was a royal commission the best option? Who knows? Certainly not the Gillard cabinet. Even on a generous judgment, it seems doubtful.

    This decision was pure politics. The message from Gillard’s office last Friday was no royal commission. On Monday Gillard unilaterally obtained cabinet backing for the reversed position.

    Both the NSW and Victorian governments have been pursuing the issue. In Victoria there has been a parliamentary inquiry assisted by Frank Vincent QC. In NSW, Premier Barry O’Farrell had announced an inquiry in the Hunter region headed by senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cuneen.

    It is no surprise that Roxon, at week’s end, was talking about a joint commonwealth-state royal commission because, as she said, law enforcement and child protection are state issues. In short, Gillard’s initial design doesn’t work.

    At her media conference Gillard said the ambit would go to secular as well as religious institutions. Will Labor exclude its own institutions? Is rape and cover-up of a child in a detention centre to be excluded but rape and cover-up of a child at a church school to be included? This would be untenable.

    On what moral basis could Labor make such distinctions? Yet putting all national government institutions into the terms of reference – surely a moral obligation – is virtually an inquiry in its own right.

    Unfortunately, the worse examples of child sex abuse and cover-up occur in indigenous communities. The 2007 Little Children are Sacred report to the Northern Territory government leading to the Howard government’s territory intervention documented abuse on a scale that was horrific.

    If Gillard is serious about institutional problems involving child sex abuse then she cannot, in moral terms, ignore the plight of indigenous children in institutional care across the nation. How could she explain this to indigenous people? Yet how can this issue be incorporated into the terms of reference and adequately dealt with?

    Most child abuse occurs in families, not in institutional care. Roxon, understandably, says this is not the focus since the remedies are different. But some victims groups will want family abuse and cover-up included in the terms of reference. Since this is the main arena of abuse why wouldn’t they want it included?

    What, therefore, is the purpose of the royal commission? Is it to give victims, regardless of circumstance, therapy and closure by telling their stories? Or is it to identify institutional failings and provide new statutory and policy remedies to prevent repetition?

    These are different functions. Or is it to do both? We don’t know. That’s because Labor doesn’t know and that, of course, is no surprise….
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/commission-on-child-sex-abuse-a-depressing-example-of-populist-politics/story-e6frg74x-1226518423478

    Of course it is the Australian that is leading the charge.

  103. Let’s be clear, the PM has announced a Royal Commission with the terms of reference to be announced after consultation with all stakeholders. There is already a site available for interested people to make comments.

    The PM, unlike those criticizing her, is well aware of how complicate and wide ranging this is going to be. That cannot be avoided, because of the nature of the crimes being committed against our children.

    It is time for all to pull together. It has happened in the past, and can happen now.

    ……..As with the sexual abuse crisis, this kind of scandal is what can happen when any institution suffers from poor and neglectful leadership.
    THE PRIME MINISTER IS to be congratulated for announcing the national royal commission. It is what abuse victims and their families have been campaigning for over many years. This inquiry has the potential to be a major international milestone in the response to the sexual abuse of children, just as the Ferns Report (2005), and the Ryan and Murphy reports (2009) were in Ireland. The Government has a responsibility not only to victims and their families, but indeed to Catholics and members of other religious denominations here in Australia. The whole world will be watching, and it will be important to get it right.
    This week I spoke at length to two very different advocates on behalf of the victims of clerical abuse. Angela Sdrinis is a solicitor with Ryan Carlisle Thomas Lawyers in Melbourne, and Dr Michelle Mulvihill is a consultant psychologist and a former member of the St John of God Brothers’s professional standards committee, turned whistleblower (more on that Catholic religious order in a moment).
    Not surprisingly, their response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the royal commission is very positive. “It’s fantastic and it’s essential,” says Sdrinis.
    Mulvihill says the Prime Minister is “listening to the Australian people, and she’s listening to the urgency of what this means to thousands of victims across Australia.”

    SUPPLIED
    Dr Michelle Mulvihill, consultant psychologist who dealt with more than 120 abuse cases relating to the St John of God Brothers.
    Mulvihill says the royal commission will be a good opportunity to “draw a line in the sand, and for every organisation to have their cases taken out of their hands so they’re no longer sitting on their own matters”. But she is sceptical of claims by the Catholic hierarchy that it has cleaned up its act and improved its complaints-handling processes. “The bishops say that in the past they were not very efficient and now they’re okay. I’d like to know when the ‘now’ began.”
    Sdrinis and Mulvihill also have a number of concerns that Ms Gillard would do well to heed. In fact Sdrinis has written to the Prime Minister.
    In particular, they are concerned that the PM probably does not yet fully comprehend the true scale of misery and horror that the inquiry is likely to unleash on victims and on the Australian public.
    “A whole group of people in Canberra who made this decision to hold a royal commission are new to this area. I don’t think they understand yet just how vast an undertaking it is going to be,” says Mulvihill…………

    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/restoring-the-faith/477/

  104. .

    ..”Sdrinis and Mulvihill also have a number of concerns that Ms Gillard would do well to heed. In fact Sdrinis has written to the Prime Minister.
    In particular, they are concerned that the PM probably does not yet fully comprehend the true scale of misery and horror that the inquiry is likely to unleash on victims and on the Australian public.
    “A whole group of people in Canberra who made this decision to hold a royal commission are new to this area. I don’t think they understand yet just how vast an undertaking it is going to be,” says Mulvihill.
    She expects that there will be “literally thousands of people turning up to the commission to tell their stories”, and she says there is a danger that the commission will ..”
    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/restoring-the-faith/477/

    Yes, the PM has admitted she is not sure of everything, or probably everything. Knowing this, she has said that consultation must occur, so that we get it right. The PM is taking time out to listen. This sis not a brain fart, as we get from the other side. It is a well thought out decision.

  105. Pingback: Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children | Café Whispers – What Is Abuse

  106. Insiders worth a visit on sexual abuse of children.

    Gerard Henderson, is not successful in his criticism, in my view.

    It is hard to defend the indefensible.

    Remember, this is not aimed at the church. The terms of reference have not been developed.

    It is a fact that six times more of the abuse, historically is found within the church.

    Henderson admitted that terms of reference have not been develop. Sees something wrong, that one should not consult, in framing the terms of reference.

    Agree that there is no reason why the present inquiries should not go ahead.

    The NSW one is aiming more at the whistle blower and the police, than in the church, or for that matter, sexual abuse of chilf\dren.

    I believe there is a fight back being developed from the right politics and media. Good to see Henderson challenged so strongly.

  107. I don’t think that we’ve had this link as yet..but basically this is the problem concerning the way that the Catholic church has previously addressed the issue..

    THE Australian Catholic Church holds thousands of pages of documents containing the psycho-sexual profiles of dozens of clergy accused of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults.

    The profiles, often sent to bishops, were created as part of the church’s little-known 1997-2008 rehabilitation program for those it described as ”sexual boundary violators”.

    It is understood none of the clergy treated under the multimillion-dollar Encompass Australasia program run from Sydney’s Wesley Private Hospital was referred to police.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/church-holds-sex-dossiers-20121116-29hst.html#ixzz2CdzqSF6l

  108. I wonder what the political differences are? Coorey has not elaborated unless he means the Colin Barnett stance
    “The discussion paper came as the first political differences over the Royal Commission began to appear.

    Opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne said the government ”jumped the gun” on the Royal Commission because it announced it before settling the details

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/abuse-commission-to-alert-police-20121119-29lz8.html#ixzz2CjeYmCjQ

  109. Commissioners with powers to investigate matters within their jurisdictions”.

    It confirms the Commission will take years and more than one commissioner will be needed.

    The discussion paper came as the first political differences over the Royal Commission began to appear.

    Opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne said the government ”jumped the gun” on the Royal Commission because it announced it before settling the details.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/abuse-commission-to-alert-police-20121119-29lz8.html#ixzz2CkHZAdD1

    If the PM had come out with the terms of reference, she would have been accused of acting rashly. Now, how can one consult with the state holders in secret. Impossible to do. If the PM waited, she would have been accused of being forced into taking action. Which some have already tried to pull.

    No the PM has come back to the country, looked at what was in the public arena, as well that coming out of MSW and Victoria.

    Decided action had to be taken. Realized that this is no simple problem, that consultation would be needed in form the terms of reference. The PM wants the matter settled before the end of the years.

    Therefore her actions are prudent indeed.

    Pyne, go sit in a corner, stop whining and do some thinking before you open your mouth again.

    Unlike Mr. O’Farrel, who rushed in with a narrow inquiry, that appears to be more about shutting up a whistler blower, that dealing with the abuse.

  110. by: Jill Rowbotham and Milanda Rout
    From: The Australian
    November 21, 2012 12:00AM

    THE Catholic Church will review its national sexual abuse complaints policy, with the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, believing it ultimately will be revised during the course of the royal commission.

    Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Denis Hart confirmed both Towards Healing and the church’s other complaints process, the Melbourne Response, would be on the agenda at next week’s Sydney meeting of the church’s peak body.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/catholic-church-to-review-sexual-abuse-policy/story-fngburq5-1226520775987

  111. Forget the small print. Just look at the headlines

    by: Janet Albrechtsen
    From: The Australian
    November 21, 2012 12:00AM

    THE Gillard government’s announcement of a royal commission into child abuse rates as political perfection. Immediately, the decision received bipartisan support federally, all states support the establishment of a royal commission and, most importantly, a Nielsen poll conducted a few days later revealed a record 95 per cent approval rating.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/forget-the-small-print-just-look-at-the-headlines/story-e6frg7bo-1226520691650

  112. I bet the Bishop’s conference will have a few other issues just below the headline
    “will review its national sexual abuse complaints policy,”.
    Namely the fact that 2 of its panel are Bishops of interest to the current police investigations, unless ‘complaints policy’ includes ‘cover up’.

  113. Sue, it would not surprise me if some of the bishops did not deliver on behalf of the kids. There is very professional Catholic Education department, which I believe carries weight.

    The system no longer relies on brothers and priests. it is run by lay people.

    I believe that the likes of Pell belong back in a distant past, along with his mate, Mr. Abbott.

    Could be wrong, but I suspect George Pell’s solution will be sent to the dust bin, where it belongs.

    The answer for the bishop’s is clear and simple. They will do as all others do, report any sexual abuse directly and quickly to the police and law authorities. They will let the law take it path, while caring for victims.

  114. CU
    There have been reports on 4 corners, and now being investigated by Whitlam in Armidale, that 2 of the bishops, named as being aware of child sexual abuse, are on the panel. But that will all hopefully come out in a Royal Commission.
    My comment mainly was that there would be more to the meeting of the panel than just a “review” of policy. The story seemed more like a “media release” to the friendly newspaper, the Australian.

  115. Agree Sue, but the PM’s action has created a whole new playing field. One of the first to realize this was Abbott. He is even willing to dump his own beliefs on confession, and is separating himself from the church at a high rate of knots. He obviously does not intend to go down with the sinking ship.

    As for the sanctity of the confessional, there has obviously been great changes there, since I was a practicing Catholic. One would never consider, or be allowed to receive communion without confessing first. That no longer seems to be necessary.

    Both are from Cannon or church law, therefore proof that they can be changed.

    Saying that, the confessional has nothing to do with sexual abuse. The church does not cause it. What has happened, is perpetrators have found refuge within the church and other similar bodies where children are to be found.

    it is not hard for bishops to turn that about.

    The community culture needs to change to the belief that these people do exist, and their actions will not be tolerated, anywhere.

  116. Sue, if we keep the pressure on, maybe the bishops will be force to act, to save the churches reputation.

    They have much to lose, and the solution is in their hands. It will occur sooner or later. Maybe the sooner is the best way to go.

    I say this to all other institutions as well. Deal with the problem, before being forced to.

  117. CARDINAL George Pell has moved to release abuse victims from any confidentiality agreements signed with the Catholic Church in exchange for compensation but is resolute that priests who have heard pedophiles’ confessions should not answer questions at the proposed royal commission.

    Therefore according to Pell the church is still above the law…

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/confessions-still-sacrosanct-says-cardinal-george-pell/story-fngburq5-1226516219054

  118. The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has been accused of trying to do the job of the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse, as he seeks access to court material.

    Cardinal George Pell has applied to the court for material about the case of a boy raped by Christian Brother Robert Best.

    The victim says Cardinal Pell was in the room when he told another priest he had been raped by Best.

    Cardinal Pell says he is seeking information to help him prepare, in case he is called to give evidence at the Victorian inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse.

    But he must wait longer to find out if he will be granted access.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-23/pell-accused-of-trying-to-do-the-job-of-the-inquiry/4389660

  119. The church wonders why it is being picked on.

    ……………..Meanwhile, in Rome, the Vatican has sent a flying squad of male bishops to bring its American nuns under control.

    The nuns – organised as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious – stand accused by Rome of spending too much time on poverty alleviation and not enough time advocating against abortion and homosexuality.

    They are further suspected of subscribing to ”radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith”. The nuns are now in formal mediation discussions to see if they can sort it out……………

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/lord-do-we-have-a-problem-20121124-29zyx.html#ixzz2DAsAAevF

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