Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, October 07, 2013

Patrick Parkinson and Geoffrey Robinson

News from Australia, Catholic church attempted to conceal sexual abuse evidence.

The church's response to clergy sex abuse has always been to say it will change the way sex abuse allegations are responded to, but one thing that is never mentioned is *why* there is so much Catholic clergy sex abuse world-wide (and why it keeps getting covered up). The church continuously avows that there is no more sex abuse in the Catholic church than in any other institution but here's the beginning of a 2012 article at ABC Religion & Ethics by Patrick Parkinson AM, Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, which refutes that belief ...

Restoring faith: Child sexual abuse and the Catholic Church

There are comparatively few allegations of child sexual abuse by ministers of religion in other churches. There are some, as there are in all other organizations involved in work with children and young people. With colleagues I have done a study of the prevalence of abuse in the Anglican Church across Australia. I have some knowledge also of what has happened in other churches. Reliable statistics are not available, but in my opinion, and based on the available data, there has been around six times as much child sexual abuse by clergy and religious in the Catholic Church as there is by ministers of religion in all the other churches in Australia combined - and I would regard that as a conservative figure.

Admittedly, the Catholic Church is the largest denomination in Australia, and it is also one in which priests and religious have been involved in schools and orphanages, unlike ministers of other churches. Even still, the reality is that the levels of abuse in the Catholic Church are strikingly out of proportion with any other church - and, from what I have seen, this is an international pattern. That makes it inevitable that a great deal of the focus of the national royal commission, so far as it concerns churches and faith-based organisations, is bound to be on the Catholic Church. This is also so because of the very serious allegations raised first by the Victorian Police and then echoed from the experience of a long-serving senior detective in NSW.

The allegations that some people in leadership within the Catholic Church have in comparatively recent times dissuaded victims from going to the police, failed to report known criminal misconduct where it had been admitted, or otherwise made more difficult the work of the police and the criminal justice system in bringing offenders to justice, are matters of immense seriousness ....


You can also listen to an audio talk with him here - Patrick Parkinson on the Catholic sex abuse crisis

The one Australian Catholic clergyman I've seen bring up this subject is retired bishop Geoffrey Robinson. Here's a recent interview with him at NCR ... Australian bishop launches petition for council on sex abuse. Here's just a bit of it ...

What was your reaction to Cardinal Pell's testimony before the Royal Commission?

One thing I'm trying to avoid is allowing the media to set up a confrontation between Cardinal Pell and me. That being said, the cardinal did testify that there is nothing wrong with the structures or the setup of the Catholic church. The fundamental difference between us is that I believe we must search out the causes and the contributing factors to abuse, and we must eradicate them. And in doing that, we must follow the argument, wherever it leads. Whereas for Cardinal Pell, all the church's teachings are set in stone, and you may not even question them.

[...]

Your petition sounds hopeful about the new pope.

He's made a lot of good noises and done a lot of nice things so far. He has said that when we consider the poor and injured, we must give a particular place to victims of abuse in the church. He also promised that victims of abuse will be present in a particular way in his prayers for those who suffer.

But Pope Francis still has to face the big questions. The biggest of them all, it seems to me, is sexual abuse. All he seems to have done so far is endorse what Pope Benedict did, and that doesn't go far enough.

What are you calling on Pope Francis to do?

In this petition, I'm asking him to set up a council. Big changes in the church can only come from two sources: the pope or the bishops in council. So if the pope wants serious change, he needs to set up a council if he is truly to confront everything involved in sexual abuse. That was the lesson from John XXIII and Vatican II: John alone could not have achieved everything the council did ...

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