keywords: Catholic Church Sex Abuse Crisis

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  • RELIGION

    Rogue bishop's rebellious example lives on

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 02 September 2016
    19 Comments

    Many Brazilians remember the 'Red Bishop' as much more than a defender of human rights. For these people, Helder Camara is included reverently in the litany of rogues who drew the ire of church and state authorities by demanding both do a better job of embodying a message of social justice. It was a powerful idea to grow up with: that this imposing and defining institution I had been born and baptised into contained a rebellious truth that often demanded we go against the institution's own grain.

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  • RELIGION

    Purifying language vital to renewing 'polluted' churches

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 01 September 2016
    15 Comments

    Dowling, who was a victim of clerical abuse, offers a program of reflections that bring together scriptural themes and the effects of sexual abuse. Most striking is the extraordinary labour required to purify the language of a tradition that has become polluted. This is vital not simply as a therapeutic exercise but as a condition for renewal and reconciliation. It may also be pertinent to wider society, where Brexit and the Trump phenomenon have been characterised by a coarsening of public language.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 29 July 2016
    80 Comments

    Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.

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  • RELIGION

    Neerkol orphanage findings and the place of compassion

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 April 2016
    16 Comments

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has now published its Case Study 26 on the Neerkol Orphanage in Rockhampton. It finds that the response by the bishop and by the Sisters of Mercy to victims making complaints prior to 1996 was often inadequate and lacking in compassion. The word 'compassion' or 'compassionate' appears 21 times in the report. I have no problem with church people or other individuals adversely judging church leaders for a lack of compassion. There may even be a case for politicians doing it. But I don't think it's the job of a royal commission.

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  • RELIGION

    Life beyond Pope Francis

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 11 April 2016
    19 Comments

    As Francis begins his fourth year in office, questions are raised as to whether the changes he has brought to the church will last beyond his time in office. Some argue that because he has made no significant changes in governance, his changes will not survive him. His successors and the Curia will be free to restore former expressions of church life. This argument highlights the need to embody vision in institutional structures. But good structures alone do not ensure the continuation of vision.

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  • RELIGION

    Companies' bastardry about more than bad apples

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 07 April 2016
    19 Comments

    How do good people sink to this? The answer lies in the mutation of economic ideology from the crude buccaneering spirit of doing whatever it takes to get rich into a more urbane form. People see themselves as competing, not only for their own economic benefit, but for that of the company. This means greed can mask itself as altruism in serving a larger good. And as in the case of churches, identification with the company provides reason for protecting the company's reputation at all costs.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious thought in sacred secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 March 2016
    6 Comments

    I offer no public judgment of Pell, and unlike many other commentators I'll await the findings of the royal commission. I have however been outspoken about his right to a fair hearing and natural justice, not because I am a priest but because I am a human rights lawyer who cares about the universal application of the rule of law. It is when a representative of institutional religion like Pell taps into the generic religious sensibility or moral consciousness that the real work of Australian religious thought is done.

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  • RELIGION

    Cardinal Pell and the culture of silence

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 10 March 2016
    23 Comments

    Even as a young priest George Pell was marked for higher things. He was a protege of B. A. Santamaria who had a significant following among Victorian bishops and priests. He was chosen to go to further study in Rome and then in Oxford. He was quickly given positions of responsibility. Within this trajectory there was no room for a priest who rocked the boat on clerical misconduct. To ask questions about why Ridsdale was being constantly moved was evidently not part of the plan.

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  • RELIGION

    Year of Mercy's opportunity for Aboriginal reconciliation

    • Frank Brennan
    • 07 March 2016

    'On his last two visits to Latin America, Pope Francis has focused on past and present relationships between indigenous peoples and their colonisers. This Jubilee Year of Mercy perhaps it could be a blessed moment for Aboriginal Australians and descendants of their colonisers to walk together through the Door of Mercy at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, calling to mind the sins and endeavours of the past, the achievements and commitments of the present, and the hopes and aspirations of the future.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ, Lenten Talk, Norwood Parish, 3 March 2016

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cardinal Pell, Safe Schools and the personhood of children

    • Moira Rayner
    • 04 March 2016
    40 Comments

    A feeding frenzy is afoot over the review of Safe Schools program. At the same time poor old George Pell is under attack for failing to observe that his Ballarat colleagues were prolifically enabling Ridsdale and other pedophiles to sexually abuse little boys. The prurient desire to control the sexual interests of others on the one hand, and on the other the gross failures by institutions to protect vulnerable children in their care, are sadly linked to an unwillingness to face the truth about human sexuality.

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  • RELIGION

    An unholy mess

    • Frank Brennan
    • 23 February 2016
    46 Comments

    McClellan and his fellow commissioners on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have a daunting task in the next fortnight, according due process and natural justice to a high profile witness on the other side of the world who has been publicly labeled 'scum', 'buffoon' and a 'coward', being the subject of unauthorised leaks about uninvestigated complaints from a police service which itself is under scrutiny for its past cooperation with the witness and his Church.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Men must stand with women to end family violence

    • Donella Johnston
    • 17 February 2016
    18 Comments

    The movement to end violence against women needs men in positions of influence, such as Australian of the Year David Morrison, to add their voices to those of the women spearheading the campaign. Male religious leaders can play an important role, but must first confront an important question: if one of the key causes of family violence is gender inequality, can they speak with authority if they are part of an institution that has no women episcopal decision-makers or leaders?

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