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As long as Pell is protected by the Pope no one can trust the Catholic Church

The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, yesterday morning expressed his horror and outrage at the latest report from the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse on the extent of that abuse within his church.

The Archbishop was at pains to reassure listeners that after years of intense and ongoing scrutiny (thanks to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordering the Royal Commission which catholic MP Tony Abbott and his catholic henchman did everything possible to sabotage) catholic schools are by now among the safest possible places for your child to be.

While he might have a point he is missing the point: the former head of the church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, is himself under investigation both for alleged child sexual abuse, and for his role in covering up the offences of other priests.

Cardinal Pell is currently in Rome, in a position that keeps him very close to Pope Francis. Victorian Police yesterday submitted a second brief of evidence against the Cardinal to the DPP. The Vatican is a sovereign state from which Pell cannot be extradited. When last required to appear before the Royal Commission, Pell pleaded a heart condition that left him unfit to fly long distances. He gave evidence via video link.

I would like to ask Archbishop Coleridge how anyone can trust the catholic church in Australia when its former head is under the protection of the Pope. I’m struggling to imagine this situation in a secular organisation in which 7% of employees were guilty of sexually abusing children, and 4,400 alleged cases of child sexual abuse had been brought against it.

Both these figures are conservative: how many victims have not made complaints? How many have suicided? How many made complaints that were mishandled by the church, or dismissed?

As a fish rots from the head, so has the catholic church. I’m neither heartened nor impressed by various catholic clergy and lay commentators wringing their hands at the awfulness of it all. Had it not been for an atheist ordering an investigation, this would still be hidden, and the perpetrators still protected.

I’m willing to bet a great deal that no one, but no one inside the church would have taken action to prevent the sexual abuse of children, or to instigate useful investigations that resulted in prosecutions, and demands for moral accountability.

This will not be over until those at the highest level are held accountable, including the Pope. Until churchmen and catholic commentators are willing to acknowledge that accountability starts at the head, nobody is safe in the catholic system, and the fish continues to stink.

This article was originally published at No Place For Sheep 

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25 comments

  1. Kaye Lee

    Thanks should go to ex-copper Peter Fox, the Newcastle Herald, and the Four Corners program “Unholy Silence” for their persistence in shining the light on this tragedy and prompting the RC.

  2. Miriam English

    Well said, Jennifer.

    I recently watched the movie, “Spotlight”, about how a newspaper in Boston, USA, broke the story of how rotten with child sexual abuse the Catholic church is. It is a fascinating story, based upon actual events and advised by the people who did the original investigation. The gradually mounting level of incredulity at how far this thing stretches made for a surprisingly engrossing film. One scene I found spellbinding was when a simple-minded priest is interviewed and he readily admits to sexually interfering with children, but insists that it wasn’t rape because he didn’t get pleasure from it. The level of coverup and reluctance to speak and resistance through disbelief showed how difficult it is to make any genuine headway against these people, so entrenched are they in society.

    I have to admit I almost feel sorry for the priests. They are stuck in this stupid system where they are supposed to be celibate during the years when their hormones are raging for release and are presented with a convenient array of vulnerable children. That is no excuse of course, but it is the perfect recipe for disaster. It would be virtually impossible for this NOT to result from those conditions. If nothing changes in the initial conditions then this will continue to happen. It is unavoidable.

  3. Jaq

    When I was listening to Coleridge yesterday on tv, I was struck with the thought, that in the whole time he spoke, he only mentions “victims”once at the end of his speech. He didn’t come out with any kind of understanding for what harm had been done- or asking for forgiveness. It was undoubtedly a plea on behalf of the Catholic church towards parishioners not to leave the church- to state that things are” alright now”- that “we will do better in the future”. It was a plea for people not to leave their business. Just as if some people had found dead rats in their chocolate bars.

    If this doesn’t prove to people what an insidious nasty boys club that Catholic Church actually is, then words fail me. You don’t need an organisation with wealth and power to praise God. An organisation that has repeated failed to protect the most vulnerable among us from terrible harm- and then shown no empathy or compassion what so ever.And on top of that, protected those, at all cost who have caused some people to kill themselves. I cannot see that they actually believe there is a GOD. So, WHY SHOULD WE?

  4. Peter F

    “no one, but no one inside the church would have taken action” . . . . no one did.

  5. helvityni

    Jaq, for those eager church goers it was not about God, empathy or compassion, it was about showing the rest of us what GOOD upright citizens they were.
    Look at our present government, believers most of them, but try to find ONE with empathy… it’s easier to find a needle in the haystack.

  6. Vikingduk

    It was not only the vile priests responsible for this abuse, some of those nuns were equally as cruel, vicious and heartless, perhaps not sexual abuse, but most certainly did as much long term damage with their cruelty.

    I speak as a secondary victim of this most evil corporation. F*ck you all to hell.

  7. stephengb2014

    Miriam English you wrote
    ” I have to admit I almost feel sorry for the priests. They are stuck in this stupid system…”

    I am sorry but they are not stuck in the system ( stupid or otherwise – criminal comes to mind.
    They could have a concience about this organisation, and give evidence against the, but no they have ot even the bits to leave this organisation which displays all the signs of an organisation full of high level criminal conspiritors.

    I do not feel sorry for men or women who know that their peers abuse children (who can then avoid legal sanction, with the assistance of the organisations hierarchy). Its simple leave the organisation. Tell the world what their peers and their leaders are doing, but no they hide behind this fact that the organisation tells them to keep quiet.

    “A Fist Full of Dollars”

  8. R Hornibrook

    What concerns me most now is the politicians and police. (‘…an atheist ordering an investigation’) These people, especially at the top, knew very well what was going on as did the ordinary man in the pub. This points to a serious problem of values and power in Australian authorities.

  9. Alistair

    For a bit more on the history of extradition (or rather, non-extradition) from the Vatican State, check out http://www.concordatwatch.eu/topic-47307.834 . The scandal in the Australian church (mirroring the situation elsewhere), the accusations being made in regard to Pell, and his call the Rome for a senior job in the Vatican State all make for a very bad look irrespective of the truth or otherwise of those accusations.

  10. Kate Ahearne

    Whenever I find myself thinking about religion, I end up thinking about this wonderful little scene by Lewis Carroll from Alice Through the Looking-glass.
    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    But we are all deluded in one way or another. It’s an aspect of the human condition.
    So let’s not forget that there are many good people who are Catholics, and many good people who are Muslims. I think we need to be very careful not to tar all Catholics with the Peadophile Priest brush, and not to tar all Muslims with the ISIS brush.

  11. bobrafto

    Miriam

    I don’t think men’s hormones stop raging whatever the age.

    From experience I can tell you the dick does all the talking.

  12. Jaq

    helvityni

    I totally agree . About perception. Even within the Catholic Church its about the perception of GOOD- not actually about being a GOOD person.

    What does that mean being a GOOD Catholic- or being a GOOD Muslim? Kate? And I noticed you have followed all these thread recently to do with this issue.

    All It means is that you follow the rules. You do as you are asked by the men who have constructed the rules. If the POPE suddenly came out and said having sex with a minor was permissible in the faith – would that make you a GOOD Catholic if you followed that edict ? Would it make you a BAD Catholic if you didn’t? The fact is that they have never changed the rules. That you do as they say, pay your tithe on a Sunday and if you are a women- you do as you are told because hey- YOU are the evil that took man into sin.How can they talk about love and kindness and do what they are doing- which by the way, acts that are not limited to a few. It is systemic. Where are the good Catholic priests who are asking for forgiveness from the community every bloody Sunday, as they should be. They aren’t.

    My mother was a devout Catholic. When she died it gave her comfort. But she was kind. She was a caring women whose thoughtfulness did not stop at the end of the blessing on a Sunday. She was a KIND HUMAN BEING- and I’d rather she was known for that- than being a GOOD CATHOLIC, any day of the week.

  13. Miriam English

    stephengb2014, to clarify, I did say that I almost feel sorry for them.

    They could avoid it, yes. Hindsight is such a luxury. But they are men with hundreds of millions of years of breeding-instincts pushing, pushing, pushing at them while being bound up in the insane, impossible vows of celibacy. Often they may be hopeless individuals with neither the intellect nor skills for work in the outside world, so are lost for what to do about it.

    I do blame them for not having the decency to apologise and try to do something to set things right. However remember, they believe with the desperation of a drowning person clinging to flotsam that confessing to their imaginary god is sufficient to cleanse them. I imagine the terror they must feel at the possibility of losing the only thing they can do because of forces they have no control over.

    More than that, I blame the other priests for covering up for them and enabling more children to be exploited. However even here I can empathise with them feeling that their pathetic brethren were too weak for an insane system, but that their imaginary god would give them the strength to be better and safeguard them from an imaginary Satan. They should be blaming the system, not imaginary creatures. But they are poor deluded fools working to maintain a system that guarantees a continuous stream of children for self-hating predators.

    I almost don’t care about the priests. It is the system that is broken. Children should never be forced to be around deluded fools who are trying to deny their sexual urges in the service of imaginary gods. Such a situation guarantees the problem will never end. Some religious people are smart and empathetic. Some are not. Those that shut themselves away attempting celibacy while exposing themselves to constant temptation are mostly fools. Worse, they are dangerous fools. By all means let them try to be celibate, in their life of religious delusion, I applaud their intention not to breed, but keep children far the f*ck away from them.

  14. Harquebus

    Alistair
    Thank you for that link. The article justifies every bad word said here about the perpetrators of child abuse and institutions that protect them.
    Do you have any idea of the date of publication?
    Cheers.

  15. Kate Ahearne

    Jaq, I didn’t talk about ‘good Catholics’. I talked about good people who are Catholics (and good people who are Muslims). You mention your mother who was a good person, ‘a kind human being’ and a Catholic. Your mother was precisely the sort of person I had in mind.

  16. Shevill Mathers

    If their religion requires them to be celibate, (which after all is all about control) perhaps castration before one enters the priesthood would solve the issue of raging male hormones. I note that is some religions in the past it was the priests who got to deflower virgins. There are some very weird practices attached to many faiths, the majority of which fly in the face of what nature intended and or the physiological make up of human beings.

  17. bobrafto

    Shevil

    ‘I note that is some religions in the past it was the priests who got to deflower virgins’

    I bet that was a sought after vocation.

  18. Miriam English

    I don’t know if castration would necessarily help a lot. In humans much of the sex urge is in the mind. There are stories of the eunuchs having a lovely time screwing the women in the harem while the master was away. Years ago I had a few friends who were male to female transexuals. They may have had a reduced sex drive, but it’s difficult to say by how much as they certainly still were eager for sexual relationships. I’ve known female to male transexuals and they definitely do get a boost to their sex drive. Perhaps castration would help, but I wouldn’t trust it. And it wouldn’t stop the other damage from cruelty and brainwashing. Much better simply to keep kids far, far away from such seriously deluded individuals.

  19. Jennifer Wilson

    I was astounded to hear this morning that Archbishop Coleridge told the RC that for him or any bishop to ask a priest if he’s keeping his vows of celibacy would be intrusive and unacceptable. Yet they have no compunction about asking prospective employees the nature of their sexuality, and refusing employment if they are LGBTQI
    I find this mind blowingly hypocritical.

  20. David Bruce

    Judge Anna von Reitz – It’s the Banks, Or, Stop Being Stupid Part 22

    For the victims of these horrendous crimes, the RC is facing a crisis of mammoth proportions, and may cease to exist.

    We must remember that the Roman Curia created the entire concept of corporations. It is their responsibility to control them and to redefine them as necessary to ensure their proper functioning. When a dream turns into a nightmare and the pet becomes rabid, it’s time for the owners to wake up and either find the cure or put the creature down.

    The banks and their government storefronts and the other commercial corporations pillaging the people and raping the planet must be fundamentally and permanently reformed. The Curia is the international body responsible for doing this and the Roman Pontiff is the official responsible for implementing it.

    I have waited nine long years for the Curia to address the obvious and pungent problem. I have marked the days since the order was given by Benedict XVI to open the Lord’s storehouses and provide relief to the people of this planet. And now I have presented the Payment Bond to the Vatican Chancery Court and made it effective for one thousand years beginning January 6, 2017 through January 6, 3017. This ax fell on the Vatican Chancery Court on the Day of the Three Kings, the traditional day when the kings of the Earth bring their gifts to the King of Heaven.

    So now the die is cast, and Pope Francis and his entire organization is held to account for allowing the imposition of debt where none exists, for failure to release the Historic Trusts for the relief of Mankind, for the creation of commercial corporations by the Roman Curia and for allowing these diabolical inventions of the mind to run rampant upon the Earth.

    The Indemnity Bond posted for the people of Earth is without limit. The first Set-Off Bond is for $100 billion dollars in silver, renewable as needed. And the Payment Bond, AMRI00003, is good for a thousand years—

    In all these ways and for all these reasons, Pope Francis and the Roman Curia and the Vatican Chancery Court stand at the epicenter of this essential conflict between the commercial corporations and the beneficiaries of the Divine Trust. As with any trust, the Will of the Donor and the good of the Beneficiaries must be honored by the Trustees.

    Otherwise, they must be recognized as False Trustees and ousted for cause. In the nine years since Benedict gave the order to open the Lord’s storehouses, the people of this planet have continued to suffer in every corner. The Historic Trusts remain in lock-down imposed by the banks, which also refuse to release credit on the interest owed. The Curia shimmy-shuffles back and forth and takes no action to rein
    in, much less redefine, the limits and objectives of the banks and other commercial corporations. The Vatican Chancery Court likewise hovers in interminable call-waiting status long after the facts have been established and the issues ripened for decision.

    This is Cardinal Pell’s new job!

  21. paulwalter

    Re Jennifer
    Wilson’s comment, I have to keep reminding myself that Pell and RC are real world/ real time, not satire.

  22. Deanna Jones

    I think the c church has always known about the pedophilia. I think that’s probably why a lot of guys join.

  23. Ian

    The Catholic Church can be made to pay. Start by Taxing them.

  24. Lance

    Dea ‘Maddigan -Suggested the Church’s tax-free status be suspended -the money accumulated and with-held and divvied up amongst the agrieved survivors of past horrors
    Could —and will work -if politicians had the guts to act .

  25. silkworm

    Christianity must be destroyed. No ifs, ands or buts.

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