Any one institution

Late yesterday afternoon my time people in Australia were calling for a royal commission to look into the Catholic church’s coverup of child rape by priests. This morning my time I learn that Gillard has already announced such a commission – though not confined to the Catholic church.

Hmm. Why not confined to the Catholic church? Well because the Catholic church doesn’t want it to be confined to the Catholic church.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said earlier today he’d support a “wide-ranging” commission that didn’t focus solely on the Catholic Church.

“Any investigation should not be limited to the examination of any one institution,” Mr Abbott, a high-profile Catholic, said in a statement.

“It must include all organisations, government and non-government, where there is evidence of sexual abuse.”

Cardinal Pell had said he believed his church was being unfairly targeted due to “anti-Catholic prejudice”.

Yeah no. The Catholic church is highly organized, and hierarchical. It’s also highly secretive. It has extra special super-duper magic rules about the confessional and about the priesthood that just happen to make it a whole lot easier for it to hide everything and a whole lot more difficult for outsiders to unhide everything. The Catholic church is special. It makes special excuses for itself, and makes special rules that protect its special people against everyone else.




  1. says

    Victims and their advocates of abuse in non Church institutions, usually run by state governments, have also over a long time been calling for an inquiry or Royal Commission into their treatment and cover ups etc. So I recognise it is also politically easier to not just target it at the Catholics, but it’s also the right thing I think with regards to justice. Note before just last week there was approximately a zero percent chance of a Royal Commission into any aspect of it so I don’t think we should quibble that *too many* people will get their stories heard/investigated.

  2. acolyteofsagan says

    To be honest, Ophelia, a multi-organisational investigation wouldn’t be a bad thing. It would need seperate investigating eams for each organisation under scrutiny, with a core team to assess and cross-reference the information. This way, possible links between organisations, and therefore multiple sources of evidence – could be found where they could easily go unnoticed if only the church were investigated. They would also be more likely to find leads in areas that were not previously under suspicion and would in all likelihood have slipped under the radar of a church-only investigation. Just think how many more parallels with the Welsh childrens homes or Jimmy Savile a thourough investigation might uncover.

  3. says

    Agreed. I’m just quibbling with the argument, not with the action.

    I do think the Catholic church should get special attention but it could still get that within a broad inquiry.

  4. Beatrice says

    I’m totally fine with all suspicious organizations being investigated. Following naturally, those* that show to be hiding the most should soon be put under more intense scrutiny.

    *which will turn out to be the Catholic Church, no doubt

  5. acolyteofsagan says

    Of course, each organisation under investigation should have a proportionate number of investigators. Plus, of course, with the warped logic that is the default setting for religion, a church-only probe could be seen to justify Pell’s prejudice claim.
    If you want to flush out rats, you flush the whole sewer, not just the parts where the rats have been seen.

  6. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    No doubt the people who live near the offices where the Catholic Church keeps its records will be wondering just why the building’s incinerator is getting so much use today…

  7. says

    At the moment the Catholics seem to be going for the “everybody else does it too, so why are you picking on us?” rationale. So this is a politically useful choice.

    And besides, the Salvation Army also needs some serious attention.

  8. says

    I didn’t watch it but Cardinal Pell just did a press conference and according to the Australian political twittersphere it was a lead balloon of excuses and whining – smearing the Church is the real crime here obviously.

  9. John Morales says

    Still in the news: Abuse victims sceptical of Pell’s royal commission response

    Some of the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy do not believe the Archbishop of Sydney’s statement that the Catholic Church has learnt the error of its ways.


    Ms Foster was particularly struck by Cardinal Pell’s insistence that the seal of confession is “inviolable”.

    She believes it is one of the big issues for the royal commission to consider.

    “I know he was insistent on it not being looked at, but I think there needs to be mandatory reporting within the confessional about child sexual assault,” she said.

    “This canon law is the law of a foreign state, the Vatican. How can a foreign state law overrule our civil laws in Australia to protect our Australian children?

    “My daughter suicided. My other daughter binge drunk and then got hit by a car.

    “She received 24 hours care. And all the care Emma had up until she died; the church didn’t pay for that.”

  10. says

    “everybody else does it too, so why are you picking on us?”

    Catholic clergy abuse SIX times more than all the others combined

    Brisbane Times: “Patrick Parkinson, a Sydney University law professor, told the state inquiry into how the churches handle sex abuse yesterday that the figures for the Catholic Church were strikingly out of proportion…”

    clergymen are red
    policemen are blue
    the church not ousting its rapists
    is the anti-christ too

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