|Wilcox's brilliant cartoon |
from today's Sydney Morning Herald
- I was raised as a Catholic. I no longer practice that religion, but it is something which is part of my culture, training and family background. It is not something which I can ignore, nor deny.
- I was never subject to sexual abuse at school - unless you widen the definition slightly, to include Bullying and aggressive and painful Nipple Tweaking by a sadistic Christian Brother. At the time I only thought of this as sadistic behaviour - in retrospect I am no longer sure it was as innocent as that.
- I went through a few years in a NSW Catholic seminary (St Columba's at Springwood, NSW), between March 1966 and June 1968, and then went to Rome for a further 18 months. One of my seminary colleagues is mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald article. John Usher (now Monsignor John Usher), was a "senior student" at the time, not a close colleague. He is now a highly trusted colleague of Cardinal Pell, and is now Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Sydney (one of many other functions he fulfills).
- One of my classmates in Springwood subsequently (years later) came to public attention: "John Sidney Denham pleaded guilty to 29 child sex charges involving 27 boys under his care while a Roman Catholic priest in Newcastle in the 1970s." At the time I knew him, I saw no signs of his propensity for abusing children. But isn't that usually the case?
it states, in part:
- "When Patrick Parkinson calls for a royal commission into sexual abuse
and its cover-up in the Catholic Church, he deserves a good
hearing. As a Sydney University law professor, he knows a thing or two
about the machinery of inquiry and the suitability of extreme powers
possessed by royal commissions.
As an adviser to the Catholic Church on sexual abuse
cases, he is well acquainted with the church's obstructionist culture of
concealment. ''We need a royal commission with subpoena powers,''
Parkinson said this week. ''The files of the Catholic Church must be
"This is the running sore that won't leave the church alone."
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/shedding-light-on-church-concealment-20120704-21hih.html#ixzz1zil8M4Td
- On 3 September 1991 (according to an official document in the possession of Broken Rites) Father XYZ was called to a meeting at the Sydney Cathedral presbytery, attended by three church officials:
- Reverend Brian Lucas (then based at the Sydney Cathedral), who was involved in the administration of the Sydney archdiocese.
- Reverend John Usher, of the Sydney archdiocese, chairperson of the Australian Catholic Welfare Commission.
- Reverend Wayne Peters, a senior priest of the
Armidale diocese, whose responsibilities then included the Armidale
diocese Tribunal (Peters later became Armidale's vicar-general).
As I indicated in line 2 of my Disclaimer, above, I was never subjected to sexual abuse, but a number of my friends and colleagues were (but I only learned that much later in life). It is a painful issue, for sexual abuse is one of those things, where the pain continues for years after the incident. Psychologically, it resurfaces when one's vulnerability is greatest, and when one least expects it. A casual comment, a headline in a paper, or a familiar face on the street, can bring issues flooding back into one's head.
- "(The film's director, Berg) lucidly details how the Catholic Church knew about O'Grady, yet in an elaborate shell game designed to avoid liability, lied to parishioners and the police while shuffling him from parish to parish. The church's obfuscation is almost as repulsive as O'Grady's crimes."
To read the open letters on the ABC comments page is an eye-opener.
And it goes without saying it is not just the Catholics, though as Wikipedia records, they are extremely frequent offenders. That is an appalling litany of offences - and they are only the proven cases.
Anglicans, Salvation Army, Jehovah's Witnesses (whose victims are still so scared, they talk on Facebook and the Internet in coded terms, for fear of retribution), and there is a big question mark over the Boy Scout movement in Australia, or specifically the history of sexual offences by Scout leaders. And State-run orphanages have been involved as well. And locally, we cannot forget the highly placed persons who were involved as collaborators in the Frank Arkell and Tony Bevan circle of child abusers in Wollongong.
- "... long running campaign to expose paedophilia in the Wollongong community and in the local Catholic Church. In 1993 the Mercury first revealed the problem of widespread sexual abuse of young boys by exposing two paedophiles, Father Peter Comensoli and Brother Michael Evans. The Page 1 exposé was preceded by four months of investigation during which Mercury staff obtained statutory declarations from seven young men.
- Involved in the paedophile network, as revealed by the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW police, was a former Wollongong Lord Mayor and Independent NSW MP, Frank Arkell.
When Arkell was the victim of a gruesome murder on June 27, 1998, about 10 weeks before he was to have appeared in court on sex charges involving young males, the Mercury published with its next issue an eight-page wrap-around, labelled “Arkell Murder Edition”. The
Page 1 story, written by Cullen, described the appearance of Arkell's body in detail: “His skull had been caved in, and a Rotary Club pin driven into one of his eyes. Tie pins were jammed into his cheeks.”
Educational Institutions, especially Boarding Schools, seem to be the greatest "targets" for paedophiles.
Christian Brothers schools, Marist Colleges, and in particular St Stanislaus College at Bathurst all seem to be magnets for these people.
Leading clerics, even the present Cardinal Pell, (then Bishop of Ballarat) supported known sex offenders such as Fr Gerald Ridsdale.
|Why did Bishop George Pell|
accompany Fr Gerald Francis Ridsdale
to court on 27 May 1993
when Ridsdale was jailed for child-sex crimes?
- CONFIDENTIAL police reports have detailed the suicides of at least 40
people sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Victoria, and have urged a
new inquiry into these and many other deaths suspected to be linked to
abuse in the church.
In a damning assessment of the church’s handling of abuse issues, the reports say it appears the church has known about a shockingly high rate of suicides and premature deaths but has "chosen to remain silent."
IT DOES. AND THE PEOPLE WHO DO THESE THINGS LIVE AMONG US.
Let us all open our eyes and ears.
After writing this I feel obliged to issue a general warning:
please be careful with your children.
- Barry O'Farrell is Catholic educated, with an Irish family background, but I see little evidence of his religious views. But it is one thing to not be an active supporter of the Church, and a totally different thing to preside over a Royal Commission into the Church. That's unlikely to happen.
- Chris Hartcher is a Riverview boy, educated by the Jesuits, and I would describe him as aggressively Catholic in his attitudes.
- Andrew Stoner, while seemingly not a Catholic, describes himself as a "committed Christian"
- the "back-room boy" who controls the hard right grouping is David Clarke, a member of the Opus Dei, a right-wing religious organisation which has managed to infiltrate itself deeply within the power-structure of the Catholic Church.
- Greg Smith is the NSW Attorney General, and another active Catholic.
- And there are many more.
You might assume that many of the Catholic politicians are decent people:
- unless you are a woman, who wishes to control her fertility
- or unless you are gay or lesbian.
But after writing this
I feel I need a good shower.
But more importantly I feel
obliged to issue a general warning:
please be careful with your children.
If you can stand it, there is a vast amount of references available about sexual abuse in Australia. Here are just a few of the readily available sources: