Search Results: clergy sexual abuse

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  • RELIGION

    Looking for light amid Royal Commission's Catholic wrap-up

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 February 2017
    17 Comments

    Listening to the media and our church leaders in recent days, we know that there is plenty of darkness ahead for our Church in the weeks ahead with the Royal Commission's so-called 'Catholic wrap-up'. We're told that the statistics will be terrible and we expect that some of our church leaders will appear, looking stunned and helpless. This morning, I think we need to reflect on these stark realities in the light of the scriptures. And this can be done only by holding the victims clearly in focus.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Horror year of state care abuse justifies intervention

    • Oliver Jacques
    • 26 January 2017
    10 Comments

    Allowing the Catholic Church to investigate itself was once described by an abuse victim as akin to 'putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank'. The Church now largely accepts the value of outside scrutiny, and has even endorsed a national redress scheme that would subject it to independent examination of its complaint handling and treatment of victims. But there is another institution - plagued by rampant child abuse in 2016 - where the vampires in charge are still trusted to mop up the blood.

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  • RELIGION

    Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2016
    18 Comments

    One distinctively Catholic practice is personal confession in which an individual confesses to God their sins and seeks forgiveness in the presence of and at the hands of a priest. Some groups and individuals are proposing to the royal commission that the seal of the confessional no longer be inviolable. I was quoted in The Australian saying, 'If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I'm one of those priests who will disobey the law.' Being also a lawyer, let me explain.

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  • RELIGION

    Redress scheme for abuse victims is a good start

    • Francis Sullivan
    • 07 November 2016
    14 Comments

    With all institutions taking part, this scheme will succeed and it will deliver fair, consistent and generous redress for survivors. If some institutions don't take part it will be yet another blow to abuse survivors, with some reaping the scheme's benefits while others are left to suffer further defeats and humiliations. A case in point is the South Australian government. Before the ink was dry on the announcement, SA had already indicated it would not take part. This is appalling, whatever the justification.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Responsibility for royal commissions' effectiveness lies with us

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 10 October 2016
    2 Comments

    'Finally!' we might think, regarding the commencement of the royal commission after the mainstream revelation of the abuses at Don Dale and other juvenile detention centres. But is this just another deferral to a disinterested power? What can we hope will come of moves like this from leaders whose own legitimacy feels so craven and thin? I suspect not much. There are already claims the royal commission into the protection and detention of children in the NT is on shaky ground.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious freedom in an age of equality

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 September 2016
    18 Comments

    'No good will be served by a royal commission auspiced by the state telling a Church how it judges or complies with its theological doctrines and distinctive moral teachings. By all means, set universal standards of practice expected of all institutions dealing with children, but do not trespass on the holy ground of religious belief and practice.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ addresses the Freedom for Faith Conference in Melbourne, 23 September 2016.

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  • RELIGION

    Purifying language vital to renewing 'polluted' churches

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 31 August 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dickensian England lives on in Australia

    • Kate Galloway
    • 25 August 2016
    15 Comments

    Oliver Twist is still used to aid understanding of the trauma arising from poverty, and the suffering of children at the hands of individuals and within institutional settings. In broader Australian society we assume Dickensian attitudes to children have evolved. Aligned with the sentiments behind child protection, society's image of children and childhood is idyllic. Yet beneath this veneer lies a substratum of deeply ambivalent, even malevolent, attitudes towards children with a distinctly Dickensian flavour.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 28 July 2016
    79 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kicking corruption in church and police 'closed systems'

    • Paul Coghlan
    • 04 May 2016
    10 Comments

    Having worked in closed organisational systems like Victoria Police and various government departments, I have often reflected on how and at what point organisations and their employees become comfortable with the belief that their ideas and attitudes are better informed than those of the general populous - and that their survival is more important. A very stark example of this are the recent court decisions relating to the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in 1989, where 96 people were killed.

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  • RELIGION

    Neerkol orphanage findings and the place of compassion

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 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
    • 10 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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