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Nov 13 2012

Shining a light on cockroaches

Australia is doing the right thing and launching a royal commission into child abuse. It is clearly motivated by recent revelations that the Catholic church (of course!) has been covering up instances of child rape, but the commission will rightly look at “all religious organisations, state care providers, not-for-profit bodies as well as the responses of child service agencies and the police”.

But don’t get too excited yet. Governments sometimes use the formation of a committee as an excuse to avoid doing something more substantial. The proof will be in what they accomplish, not whether the committee exists and holds meetings.

Also, George Pell has announced his approval of the commission, which would be suspicious if Pell weren’t so goddamned stupid. He thinks it will vindicate the church. I don’t think so.

  • 400 known victims of child sexual abuse by clergy

  • 11 clergy charged and convicted since 1995

  • 6 Catholic teachers convicted since 1995

  • 3 priests currently on trial

  • First priest charged this year with concealing the crimes of another

  • 12 priests involved in substantial compensation claims

  • Highest known compensation payout to a victim – $3 million

The facts are no friend to the Catholic church. Let’s just hope the commission exposes those facts.

72 comments

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  1. 1
    piglet

    George Pell is already starting the diversionary tactics of “look over there, a monkey”, and comments such as many claims involving the church were exaggerated and historic. The man is an odious toad, and will ensure he has some sway in who will be investigating the Catholic Church. Australians don’t have a lot of time for religion, but we still seem to hold some idea of respect of religion and its representatives. Here’s hoping that the commission has real teeth and can achieve something for the victims.

  2. 2
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    Pell is already complaining that the poor widdle Catholic Church is just a victim of those nasty media people. Apparently reporting these transgressions is a ” smear campaign “

  3. 3
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    11 clergy charged and convicted since 1995

    A shamefully low number of convictions. I don’t believe for a moment that this reflects the actual number of priests rapists.

    Not to mention all those enabling them.

  4. 4
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    In Australia toads are a destructive, poisonous, introduced species.

  5. 5
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    I’m not hopeful that this will achieve anything substantive. After all, this is a government that continued to fund the school chaplaincy program despite the main supplier of those chaplains getting caught crowing about how they were using the program for proselytising. They also failed to make gay marriage legal. They have a track record of trying to appease the religious right and because of such I suspect that this commission will end up being a paper tiger.

  6. 6
    briane

    I only just found out today that his eminence, big (6’5″in the old scale) George Pell escaped conviction for rape because the complaint was 40 years old and because it was a criminal, not civil complaint, the judge ruled that it didn’t meet the stringent requirements of beyond reasonable doubts. The judge said that he believed the complainant, that Pell raped him.
    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/14/1034561097748.html

  7. 7
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    You know what else is a vehicle of institutionalized protection of child abusers (and other criminals)?
    Confessional secrecy.

    Make those fucking priests accountable.

  8. 8
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    @briane
    Wow… Just wow. I was unaware of this direct allegation against Pell.

  9. 9
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    briane,

    No wonder he’s smug. He got away with it, he knows how many of his friends got away with it, I’m not surprised he feels invincible.

  10. 10
    piglet

    Canon law does not over-rule criminal /civil laws. If the Catholic Church wants to abide by Canon law, maybe it should move all its diocese to Vatican City.

  11. 11
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    So far off topic that there’s an ocean, a desert and a small mountain range between them, but did you know that there’s a native Australian frog called the Scarlet-sided Pobblebonk? Doesn’t make up at all for Pell and the Catlick rapists but it does make me smile.

  12. 12
    briane

    Fossil Fishy, it’s up to us to remind the government of their responsibilities. Despite Pell’s insistence that he welcomes this inquiry, it was an unwelcome intrusion demanding justice. Fuck him and the people who protect his ilk. We demand a real inquiry. My boys will not be subject to excreta like Pell if I can do anything about it,

  13. 13
    briane

    Retreading the article I linked to, it wasn’t a criminal trial but a kangaroo court run by a former judge. No wonder Pell agreed to it. Merde terrible.

  14. 14
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Fair enough briane. I live in a heavily Catholic rural town in Victoria. My daughter isn’t going to the Catholic school and she’ll likely never even see the priest here without many witnesses around. And despite that, and despite my pessimism, I agree with you. I do think that this commission is Gillard and her handlers bowing to public pressure. We need to keep the pressure up right through the whole process, to counter the inevitable loss of interest while it drags on, as it’s sure to do. Not sure how to put any real pressure here though as our MP is Sophie Mirabella. Ugh.

  15. 15
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Oh, and I suppose I should be clear that I’m not yet an Australian citizen. I’m a Canadian ex-pat waiting patiently until the day they let me answer correctly about cricketers and whatnot in return for a tree and a vote.

  16. 16
    mitchgarside

    Royal Commissions have a very good track record in Australia.

    Look up some past ones.

  17. 17
    grumpyoldfart

    When the terms of reference are published, check out the section which states what the Royal Commission can recommend after the investigation has concluded. My guess is that like the Irish Royal Commission, it will recommend that child abuse be reduced, alleviated, and prevented, but there will be no provision for the prosecution of the abusers.

  18. 18
    steve oberski

    @piglet

    Canon law does not over-rule criminal /civil laws.

    Canon law is the 5 year olds getting together to form a club with no moms allowed.

    The problem is, this group of 5 year olds never grew up, have turned feral and so far have continued to convince the majority that they are responsible adults.

  19. 19
    reynardo

    You missed something with those statistics. That’s not the national figures…

    That’s one diocese.

    Of which there are 32.

    So … oh crap, for once I hate being good at maths. I’m looking at those numbers, and multiplying them by 32, and not liking the results at all.

  20. 20
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    reynardo #19,

    I haven’t even noticed! It looks more realistic, but also more scary that way.

  21. 21
    CX316

    When I was about six I got smacked over the back of the head by a teacher in a catholic school in tasmania….

    …yeah, ok, doesn’t really count…

  22. 22
    Q.E.D

    PZ, please re-think your calumny against cockroaches.

    Like catholic priests, cockroaches evoke a certain revulsion amongst us and they fear the light but in fact cockroaches are noble animals compared to the catholic clergy.

    –Cockroaches don’t rape children

    –Cockroaches don’t cover up for others who rape children

    –Cockroaches don’t lie and obstruct justice when children’s welfare is at issue.

    –Cockroaches don’t move child rapists from one jurisdiction to another

    –Cockroaches don’t intimidate victims into shame and silence

    –Cockroaches don’t terrorize their victims with threats of Hell

    –Cockroaches don’t blame gay people for their child raping

  23. 23
    katkinkate

    The success of the Royal Commission will depend on who they get to head it and how well it is resourced. (We had a very successful Royal Commission here in Queensland a few decades ago on police and government corruption: the Fitzgerald Commission, named after the Queen’s Council Fitzgerald who ran it. It resulted in the imprisonment of some police, including the head honcho and even a politician or two. It also brought down the Queensland Government, breaking the stranglehold Bjelke-Petersen had on the position of Premier (Dictator), although they couldn’t get him into jail, he had a big problem with his memory and his verbal mannerisms drove the questioners mad.)

    I believe they will have to take this one seriously, otherwise the problem will just pop up again somewhere else until they do. Personally I’d love it to be effective enough to shut down the church here in Australia for a while, but that’s probably unrealistic. If it was enough for the government to withdraw our ambassador from the Vatican (if we have one) and remove any favoured status for the forseeable future would be the minimum we could expect. I think a number of top priests, including Pell in jail would be even better. An extradition request for the Pope to appear for questioning would probably be a pipedream.

    Re the pobblebonk, my dad’s got them in his garden. They live underground in soft moist soil until it rains then they come out and call for mates. Their call is a resonant ‘bonk’ sound and when you have lots around it’s a pobble bonk.

    (Oh my goodness, I think this is the biggest comment I’ve ever made!)

  24. 24
    Lofty

    Colour me cynical but the cathole church has too many friends in power, the likeliest scenario is that a token few underlings are taken down and lawyers will rake in millions in fees. This isn’t about justice, its politics. Gillard wants to be seen to do the right thing by the voting public. Federal election coming soon to a nation of cheesed off voters.

  25. 25
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    CX316:
    Yeah, I’m gonna go with not counting in the slightest. Taken as an isolated incident, that’s one case of corporal punishment (which I’m against), which doesn’t compare to systematic abuse and molestation by priests and other church officials.

  26. 26
    jamescarlton

    This is a pretty big deal, the proof will be in the results but royal commissions aren’t trivial things and it’s about time. It’s also the first time in a while I’ve been pleasantly surprised by our opposition leader, the very catholic Tony Abbott who supported a Royal Commission even before our PM.

    Pell on the other hand was wedged into a corner and I personally will relish the amount of squirming he’s going to be doing over the next few years – despite the cold comfort it will be to the victims. (there a times I wish he was twitching on the end of a rope after some of his comments but that usually cools down after a while).

    Lastly all the credit in the world to Peter Fox, the detective who stood up and basically threw his career away to call the church (and significant sections of the police force) on their obstruction of justice. Just listening to him talk about some of the cases makes me think we’ve only just scratched the surface of some of the horrors perpetrated by these bastards.

  27. 27
    ravenred

    They’re talking about multiple commissioners and a long timeframe (one time period I’ve heard thrown around is that it might be comparable to the Irish equivalent, which ran for nine years). It’s probable that the RC into the RC was broadened to “institutions” under pressure from the Catholic wing of the Labor party (a powerful segment), but I don’t think a scratch-the-surface, let’s-make-this-a-broad-and-shallow, many-organisations-have-issues response would really satisfy anyone. My only concern is that the probable (though not inevitable) elevation of Captain Catholic Tony Abbott into the Prime Ministership would downgrade or sideline the work of the RC. His acceptance of the commission was great, but he is a personal friend to Pell, and he’d come under significant pressure, I feel.

  28. 28
    bargearse

    Briane @6

    Holy shit, how did I not know about that? I would’ve been willing to bet a lifetime’s salary and vital body parts that Pell had covered up abuse but I had no idea he’d been accused of it. Cardinal Pell is just about the most perfect example of a Cahtolic priest there is, that’s not a compliment.

  29. 29
    chrislawson

    1. A Royal Commission is not a committee. It’s an extremely powerful investigation helmed by a judge, usually recently retired, with broad terms to examine a problem. Past Royal Commissions have been instrumental in breaking down entrenched police corruption in Queensland, changing the way Aboriginal prisoners are treated to reduce the deaths in custody, gerrymandering (again in Queensland), and so on. There have only been 130 Royal Commissions in Australian history.

    2. Although it is possible to hobble a Royal Commission in its terms of reference, the track record shows that Commissions are usually given wide powers, often to the point of being able to embarrass the sitting government. It is also my understanding that to entice a respected judge to helm a commission, the terms of reference have to be pretty good.

    3. George Pell was complaining only a day or two ago that there was no need for a Royal Commission as there was no reason to think that anything useful would come out of it (yes, he actually said that!), and that the Catholic Church was being unfairly singled out. That’s why I think it was a masterstroke to make the commission look into all organisations with child care responsibilities, including secular ones. Pell can’t really claim that it’s anti-Catholic any more (although I’m quite sure that he will starting squawking the same old song once the commission gets going). And besides, Pell is correct that the Catholic Church isn’t the only agency with dirty hands. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Peter Hollingsworth resigned the Governor-Generalship when it was revealed that he had bungled the handling of sexual abuse reports within the Anglican Church.

    In short, this is a very good thing.

  30. 30
    astrofiend

    It’s going to be all about the terms of reference that the government gives the commissioner. Royal commissions are incredibly powerful in Australia – even the Australian government cannot shut a commission down once it has been launched, and commissioners have greater powers than judges in the highest Australian courts, but ONLY to investigate issues falling under the terms of reference. The government is already framing it as a commission to investigate ‘institutional responses’ to allegations of rape, so it could be so specific and de-scoped so as to be useless.

    Having said that, Royal commissions have had an incredible track record here. It’s the bureaucratic equivalent of ‘shit just got real, fuckers.’

  31. 31
    Colin J

    I loved Pell’s press conference. Odious toad he may be, but once the questions started he did a damn good impression of a rabbit in the headlights. Particularly when he was asked about whether the church would release people from any confidentiality agreements they may have signed as part of a settlement.

    It all looks very promising. But the Catholic Church still has a lot of clout on both sides of politics. What’s needed is for the ordinary churchgoers to tell their priests that it’s just not good enough and that they have to clean things up. They’re the people Pell is talking to with all his crap about media witch hunts and how the few victims (and there are so very, very few according to Pell) will just be hurt by raking this stuff up again.

  32. 32
    John Morales

    Shorter Pell: “We didn’t do it, we stopped doing it some time ago, and in any case others do it too”.

  33. 33
    rorschach

    ““We didn’t do it, we stopped doing it some time ago, and in any case others do it too””.

    Yes, the argument at his bizarre press conference yesterday seemed to consist entirely of “Hey, but we’re not the only ones buggering kids”.

    I think this RC is a very good thing, it should have happened much earlier, and its findings will be absolutely shocking. What we know so far I’m convinced is only the tip of a huge iceberg of sexual molestation.

  34. 34
    piglet

    rorchach… absolutely.

    Pell stated “that because there is a press campaign focused largely on us, it does not mean that we are largely the principal culprits; & we object to being described as the only cab on the rank”

    Looks as though Pell’s insistence that the seal of confession is “inviolable” is being looked at too….

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/roxon-begins-consultations-on-royal-commission/4370498

    This corrupt organisation/ crime ring needs to be investigated and the full force of the law applied to anyone found guilty of raping children or assisting child rapists.

  35. 35
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    About. Fucking. Time.

    YOU GO GILLARD. Show those privileged anal warts exactly what happens when you lose your grip on the strings of the bloated bag you’ve been covering up the truth with all these… uh, centuries.

    Now all we need are some results. I only hope, if they’re as terrifying as we all expect, that the international community takes notice and conducts their own investigations.

  36. 36
    piglet

    oh, and we had a friend who happens to be strict Catholic try the “We didn’t do it, we stopped doing it some time ago, and in any case others do it too”.

    truly, my jaw dropped, and it has put a real strain on an otherwise good friendship.

  37. 37
    piglet

    block quote fail last sentence :)

  38. 38
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    Good time to revisit this animation from the ABC show Hungry Beast.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ1_aQz6IuU

    I don’t get it… If I were Catholic my first response to all this would be: let’s get my church cleaned up!

    I have spoken to otherwise compassionate Catholics who immediately go into excuse mode and essentially parrot what Pell said in his press conference.

    If they truly believe that their church is a force of good in the world where is their outrage that it has been subverted from within?

  39. 39
    jamescarlton

    I’m kind of at a loss of what to do with more than a few of my Catholic friends. They’re wonderful people in every respect except the fact that they’re still part of this fucked up, hypocritical down right evil fucking cult.

    It’s only the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy that keeps them part of the church. They just can’t see how the rose-tinted ideal of Catholicism that is an important part of their lives and the hideous child abusing group of criminals is exactly the same thing.

    Ostracizing them or continually calling them on their hypocrisy seems like a nuclear option when they never bring up anything to do with their religion to me.

    Anyone had any positive outcomes with something like this?

  40. 40
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    @jamescarlton

    I have had no luck trying to engage in civil discussion. It is like an A/B switch is thrown in their head and you are suddenly talking to a different person. If you push they just get aggressive or dismissive.

    I can only guess that if they openly admit the church has a serious problem the whole edifice will come crashing down around them.

  41. 41
    jamescarlton

    My last attempt at calling a Catholic friend on their bullshit was when one of my friends attempted to argue that the church wasn’t prejudiced against gay people and that its stance on gay marriage was only because such a union couldn’t provide natural children and so therefore couldn’t be a valid marriage or some such.

    It ended up a big internet shouting match where I basically linked the to the Vatican’s own website that calls gay sex a degenerate immoral activity and that she didn’t know what her own religions actual position was.

    Her response was along the lines of:

    “How would you know what church policy is? I’ve studied theology, you haven’t. You’re wrong.”

    So pretty much a /facepalm dead end there. In the end I got her saying that if science allowed gay couples to produce natural children (which it sort of almost does…) that the Catholic church would be fully behind gay marriage. At that point I had to walk away, there was just too much fail.

    How do you get past that kind of ignorance?

  42. 42
    John Morales

    jamescarlton, it’s not ignorance, it’s a coping mechanism.

  43. 43
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Heh, poll on one of the articles on The Age:

    “Is Cardinal George Pell in denial over sex abuse by clergy?”
    15,853 votes
    92% YES
    8% NO

    No Pharyngulation required…
    THIS…IS…AUSTRALIA!!!*kicks someone down a well*

  44. 44
    mildlymagnificent

    A Royal Commission is not a committee. It’s an extremely powerful investigation helmed by a judge, usually recently retired, with broad terms to examine a problem.

    Recently retired is not a good idea for this one.
    http://media.theage.com.au/national/selections/former-royal-commissioners-warning-3793740.html

    Hal Wootten (Aboriginal Deaths in Custody) says that you can’t have “broad terms” that might let it turn into several hundred enquiries into individual cases as his commission eventually became. It’s going to go a lot longer than others regardless.

    Someone younger and physically fit would be preferable – you don’t want people dying before it’s finished. (And it’ll be bluddy expensive. They’ll need a continuing contract for counselling services for lawyers and investigators.)

    In other news, the cop who finally blew the whistle on Newcastle-Maitland diocese is resigning. Career no good, wife has received death threats. http://www.theage.com.au/national/satisfied-whistleblower-weighs-future-in-the-force-20121113-2994l.html

  45. 45
    edgy

    piglet is right. Before the royal commission was announced Pell was claiming that these things were ‘historic’ and that the church has excellent processes in place and that it doesn’t happen any more.
    Then when it was announced, he did indeed commence the pre-emptive strikes and attempts to set the ‘tone’ and attempt to influence the terms of reference.
    And you can bet that every time you hear the word ‘catholic’ during the course of the commission this arseclown will repeat his cries of bias, smear and witch-hunt.
    I also heard Frank Brennan mutter something about this being an attack on state liberal(conservative) governments by the federal labor(democratic) government.

    Sorry you’re stuck with Sophie Mirrorball FossilFishy.

    Off track – I live in Cairns. What a morning, two dawns with some thrills in between!

  46. 46
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I hope someone’s keeping an eye on things like where any suspect priests are currently located, and whether any of them suddenly get called off for ‘special duty’ at the Vatican.

  47. 47
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    Religion or foreign state – pick one. Is the age of consent still 12 in Vatican City?

  48. 48
    mildlymagnificent

    I hope someone’s keeping an eye on things like where any suspect priests are currently located, and whether any of them suddenly get called off for ‘special duty’ at the Vatican.

    Won’t do them any good. The commission will look at institutional ‘responses’ to the problems. If the senior counsel assisting a financial/criminal Royal Commission that I once heard speak is anything like the investigators working this one, there will be nowhere, no way, to hide such shenanigans. Relentless is the only word.

    And I wouldn’t bet any money against retired cops coming forward with the details of cases they were blocked from pursuing. Peter Fox is no orphan. There are many still on the force and just as many now retired who harbour grudges against the church(es), the force and local or state level political players about being stopped, one way or another, from pursuing cases they tried to investigate.

  49. 49
    mildlymagnificent

    Oh, fossilfishy. Sophie Mirabella! Poor you.

    Still, we in Adelaide carry our heads high most of the time. And then our esteemed senator, Corey Bernardi, opens his witless mouth and we have to hide/fume for a while.

  50. 50
    Lofty

    Update
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/roxon-begins-consultations-on-royal-commission/4370498

    The royal commission into child sex abuse is likely to consider whether Catholic priests should be forced to tell police about crimes against children told to them in the confessional.

    There are growing calls for priests to be subject to the same mandatory reporting rules that other professions are, despite church rules that the confessional should remain secret.

  51. 51
    mildlymagnificent

    Oh joy, oh bliss. Wondrous wonders await those who go to the link at Ophelia’s.

    The ultra-Orthodox community has had a few problems with the press before. Perhaps they also are being ‘targeted’ as Pell says the catlicks are.

    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/11/australian-media-confirms-chabad-leaders-intimidating-victims-in-child-sex-abuse-scandal-345.html#more

    But it’s really OK. The 5 year old boys in question agreed to these activities. No need to worry, then. The Royal Commission can tick those guys off their list. Job done.

    (Does this rabbi have any idea at all about what is going to fall on his head in the next 12 months?)

    Something occurred to me. For USAnians unfamiliar with rules governing Royal Commissions, they have a lot more power, a lot more, than our police do to get evidence and to compel testimony.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    mildlymagnificent

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

    Well. Blow me down. Whoodathunkit.

    A sexual predator uses the same warped thinking as any other serial rapist. Apparently many of these people seriously believe that everyone else thinks and feels the same way they do. People who say they are repulsed by the idea, or criticise and challenge the behaviour, are just denying their own sexual impulses.

    The idea that they might just be wrong about most of the world’s views on such matters is apparently beyond comprehension.

  54. 54
    piglet

    Pell is scum….

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

    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.

  55. 55
    Colin J

    Charlie Foxtrot @43:

    “Is Cardinal George Pell in denial over sex abuse by clergy?”
    15,853 votes
    92% YES
    8% NO

    That can’t be right. My pal George told me last night that this is all a media beatup and that the public knows that the catholic church is blameless. Well, mostly blameless. Relatively blameless. Blameless-ish.

  56. 56
    AmandaS

    As others have noted Royal Commissions are not government committees or even judicial enquiries. They have powers so wide-ranging that there are genuine questions about whether they infringe civil liberties to an unacceptable extent (eg they can compel self-incriminatory evidence among other things). Fortunately, Australia seems to have always selected amazing Commissioners to run them – people of shining integrity and courage and the tenacity of a bulldog. The Fitzgerald Commission being the shiniest of all examples.

    As a side-note, one of the things that PM Gillard noted in her press conference about this was that it was important to run it as an RC because it gave victims a chance to speak and be heard, believed and their evidence accepted in a way that simply is not available under a judicial/criminal/civil process. There is every indication the PM understands the importance of this in a way so many others don’t. There were a number of people prior to the RC being announced who were all “oh, victims won’t want to have to go through having to testify”. Quite a number of victims have come out since and said “Finally! A chance to sing our story from rooftops and be believed!”. Rather a different viewpoint there.

  57. 57
    John Morales

    [meta]

    To be fair, Gillard has kowtowed to the religious in many cases*, but she at least is not under their spell.

    (I admit political pragmatism grates with me, too)

    * And what’s with her stance on gay marriage? :|

  58. 58
    mildlymagnificent

    “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.”

    I find this all a bit mysterious. The only question at issue as far as anyone knows is that the accusation is about an event on a specific date, and Pell claims that he was overseas then.

    So why can’t they just confirm the date? Oh well. Someone will sort it out.

    As for that poll. I saw something earlier about discussions between Kennett (premier at the time) and Pell when he took over there. Kennett reckons that the previous archbishop was “destroyed” by the allegations of abuse. He just couldn’t cope with the idea that priests could do something so awful.

    I loathe Pell with a passion, but I’m inclined to the view that he really doesn’t “get it” in relation to sexual abuse. He is in a form of denial. He suffers from the general catlick and anglican issues that all sexual matters are morally unacceptable unless they’re within the strict guidelines.

    Conceptually, I think he and many others have real trouble understanding that rape is not just fornication, rape in marriage is immoral as well as illegal, sex between vulnerable people and those with power, authority or responsibility in relation to them is not just adultery or fornication or a violation of vows before a god, it’s illegal and it’s also fundamentally immoral.

    The notion of ‘mortal sin’ really clogs up their thinking. Adultery between freely consenting adults may or may not be a betrayal of their partners. Even if it is, it is nothing like as serious as incest or rape. (Rape within marriage would be worse than freely consenting adultery in most people’s minds.) And if the target of incest or rape is a child, most people see that as worse again. But Pell and his ilk just don’t see it. All of it just goes in the don’t do it box and no-one picks over the contents to see if these really are equally reprehensible.

  59. 59
    leonardspencer

    Dang. I was expecting to read about actual cockroaches

  60. 60
    mildlymagnificent

    The Fitzgerald Commission being the shiniest of all examples.

    Costigan’s my favourite. The conservative govt of the time set it up as a union bashing exercise and it finished up investigating their own mates in tax evasion and asset stripping schemes.

    (The union needed a thorough legal bashing, but the bottom of the harbour tax schemes really damaged the government.)

  61. 61
    rorschach

    I loathe Pell with a passion, but I’m inclined to the view that he really doesn’t “get it” in relation to sexual abuse.

    There is a chance that the man is a rapist himself(see link at #6 above). And he is trying his best to stall and obfuscate with regards to any closer examination of the goings-on in his church because he knows exactly that what’s coming is threatening to bancrupt his evil organisation in Australia.

    I’d say he gets it.

  62. 62
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    Wow… Another story:

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

    They are coming thick and fast now.

    Methinks floodgates are opening…

  63. 63
    John Morales

    [meta]

    gobi’s meatpuppet, topical and therefore newsworthy and therefore published.

    (There’s no evidence of sudden glut of anything but reportage)

  64. 64
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    Then there is a sudden glut of reporting.

    Is this not a good thing?

  65. 65
    John Morales

    Gobi’s, it’s belated, but it sure is good.

    <nod nod>

    (Maybe it will even make a difference!)

  66. 66
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Just to add another data point to this thread…
    Church funding paedophiles legal defence

    “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.”

    Fuuc-kers.

  67. 67
    Charlie Foxtrot

    and then…

    Church’s clinic shielded paedophiles

    “THE Catholic Church’s little-known treatment clinic for clergy with psychosexual problems harboured known paedophiles and shielded them from police scrutiny.

    Whistleblowers closely involved with the now-defunct Encompass Australasia program allege paedophile clergy were diagnosed with a ”mood disorder” so they could be treated at Sydney’s Wesley Private Hospital and meet private health insurance criteria.”

  68. 68
    Charlie Foxtrot

    followed by…

    ‘Sociopathic’ Pell compelled rape victims into silence, inquiry told

    “Cardinal George Pell showed a ‘‘sociopathic lack of empathy, typifying the attitude and response of the Catholic hierarchy’’ to parents whose daughters were repeatedly raped by a priest, the Victorian inquiry into child abuse has been told.

    Anthony Foster told how they met the cardinal – now Archbishop of Sydney – when he was Melbourne Archbishop, in a furniture storage room at a Melbourne presbytery. They were squeezed on to a narrow wooden bench, while he sat in a ‘‘grandiose’’ padded leather chair.

    He expressed no emotion when shown a picture of the Fosters’ daughter Emma harming herself – she later killed herself – and told them: ‘‘If you don’t like what we are doing, take us to court.’’”

  69. 69
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article about a petition to change a Melbourne street named in honour of a pedo-priest.

    The bit that caught my eye was:

    “Mr Hersbach said he first reported Rubeo to the archdiocese on August 10, 1994.
    “He actually offered to resign and the church refused to accept his resignation. They left him in his parish at Boronia for a further two-and-a-half years.”
    It was only when a Doveton woman filed a police complaint about Rubeo that he admitted to offences against Mr Hersbach and his twin brother Will.
    In October 1996, Rubeo pleaded guilty in Ringwood Magistrates Court to two counts of indecent assault against the Hersbach twins.
    He was given a two-year good behaviour bond.”

    The priest died last year (aged 78) before he could face a committal hearing for 30 alleged child sex abuse charges committed against the twin boys.

  70. 70
    Charlie Foxtrot

    another tragic story comes to light

    “BALLARAT Catholic bishop Ronald Mulkearns repeatedly and knowingly moved a paedophile priest around his diocese and overseas, where he constantly found new targets, the mother of one victim said yesterday.”

  71. 71
    Charlie Foxtrot

    two days later, also from Ballarat another family’s story in the paper (The Age, Melbourne)

    “RUTH Lane’s nightmare began towards the end of 1977 when her six children nervously gathered in front of her, and pushed the youngest forward. ”You tell mum,” they said.

    That was Tim, then aged five. ”Brother Ross has been rude to us,” he said. ”Don’t tell dad.””

  72. 72
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Of course, its not just Catholics.

    “TWO paedophiles – one reportedly the youngest person ever put on the Victorian Sex Offenders Register – were ”roaming the Jewish community” with most members utterly unaware, the state inquiry into how religious groups handled child sex abuse was told on Monday.”

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