Posts Tagged Australia

Cardinal Pell of Australia takes leave to fight sexual abuse charges / The New York Times

“The pope has achieved global popularity for his emphasis on inclusiveness and mercy, but he has come under increased criticism for the slow pace and reported internal resistance to efforts to safeguard victims of sexual abuse by priests and protect children in the church.” (The New York Times)

In an extraordinary statement, the Holy See announced on Thursday (Jun. 29) morning that Pope Francis had granted a leave of absence to Cardinal George Pell of Australia, a top Vatican official, adviser to the pontiff and as of this week the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual assault, so that he could return to Australia to defend himself.

“Speaking at the Vatican press office, Cardinal Pell, wearing simple black clerical cloths and a dangling cross, read a statement declaring his innocence against the charges and what he called leaks by the news media and ‘relentless character assassination.’

“‘I am looking forward finally to having my day in court,’ Cardinal Pell said as he sat next to a Vatican spokesman. ‘I am innocent of the charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.’

“The Australian police served the cardinal’s legal representatives hours earlier in Melbourne and have yet to reveal the details of the charges or the ages of the complainants.”

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …

 

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‘Criminally negligent’: Catholic archbishops criticize church’s handling of abuse scandal / The Guardian

Catholic BishopAustralia’s most senior Catholic leaders have conceded that the church’s handling of the child sexual abuse crisis was ‘hopelessly inadequate,’ had catastrophic consequences, and amounted to ‘criminal negligence.’

“Five of Australia’s metropolitan archbishops appeared before the child abuse royal commission on Thursday (Feb. 23), asked to explain how the church had allowed the abuse of at least 4,444 children between between 1980 and 2015.

“Perth archbishop, Timothy Costelloe, said a major cause of the abuse complaints and the abysmal response to complaints was the leadership’s belief in the ‘untouchability of the church,’ which filtered down to bishops and priests.

“‘The church in a sense saw itself as a law unto itself; that it was somehow or other so special and so unique, and in a sense so important, that it stood aside from the normal things that would be a part of any other body,’ Costelloe said.”

By Christopher Knaus, the Guardian — Read more …

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An opportunity for deep reform in the church / La Croix International

‘Sad to admit, the evidence is clear that the church in Australia is sick to its institutional core. It has a nasty, though treatable cancer that is being fed by a pervasive clericalism.’

Australia is often used as a controlled market to test new technology products. With an educated, tech-savvy, multicultural society, it has representative features that appeal as a laboratory for commercial researchers.

“But now Australia might also become a test bed for what needs repair and how it can be done in the Catholic Church. The facts are friendly. Those reported in La Croix International by Frank Brennan on Feb 14 are staggering statistics. Some of them are new and some are have been in the public domain for some years.

“Widely and well known or not, the statistics shine a light on a deeper and systemic illness that needs root and branch reform. Without such reform, the church will continue to be fertile ground for the abuse of power – of which sexual abuse is a catastrophic symptom.”

By Peter Day, La Croix International — Read more …

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New Catholic standards body to crack down on clergy / The Age

A newly established national oversight body for the Catholic church will have the power to publicly name dioceses or religious orders which fail to meet its robust standards, a royal commission has heard.

“The inquiry was told the new body, Catholic Professional Standards (CPS) Ltd, will also give bishops the authority to penalise priests who do not to comply with the new benchmarks.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that the body, formed late last year, would set, enforce and audit new standards on the protection of children and vulnerable people.”

By Rachel Browne, The Age — Read more …

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Catholic Church paid A$276 million to abuse victims in Australia / BBC News

The Australian Catholic Church has paid A$276m (£171m; $213m) to victims of sexual abuse since 1980, an inquiry has heard.

The money was divided between thousands of victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was told.

“The data, released on Thursday (Feb. 16), showed the average payment was A$91,000.

“The landmark royal commission was set up in 2013 and is also investigating abuse at non-religious organisations.

“The Catholic Church made the payments in response to 3,066 of 4,445 child sexual abuse claims between 1980 and 2015, the inquiry heard. More than 40% of claims were received by a handful of male orders.

“They included compensation, treatment, legal and other costs, said Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission in Sydney.”

By BBC News — Read more …

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Father Thomas Doyle tells royal commission Vatican failed sex abuse victims / Sydney Morning Herald

The Vatican has failed to support survivors of sexual abuse in the church for decades, with prominent Catholics demanding action at a royal commission.

“A whistleblower priest who was one of the first to report allegations of sexual abuse to the Vatican in the 1980s told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he was punished for speaking out.

“Father Thomas Doyle, an American canon lawyer, told the second day of the inquiry into Catholic Church authorities, secrecy, cover-ups and betrayal of victims were hallmarks of the institution’s response to abuse.

“‘One of the massive holes in the Roman Catholic Church’s approach to this issue today is a failure to completely comprehend the spiritual damage that is done to victims, to their families . . . and the community itself,’ he said.”

By Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Sex abuse inquiry to hold final hearing into Australian Catholic Church / The Courier

The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse will examine the current policies and procedures of Catholic Church authorities in Australia in its final public hearing into the church.

“The public hearing will be held on Monday (Feb. 6) inside the royal commission’s hearing rooms at the Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney.

“The hearing will probe existing child protection and child-safe standards within the Catholic Church, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.

“It will also examine factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Catholic Church institutions across Australia.”

By Melissa Cunningham, The Courier — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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