keywords: Clergy Sex Abuse

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  • RELIGION

    It's time to put past victims and present and future children first

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 March 2017
    11 Comments

    Make no mistake, our church leaders are not yet out of the blaze of the headlights. They don't have all the answers, not even in relation to matters peculiarly within their jurisdiction. Despite being put on notice, our most senior bishops could not even agree on the limits of the seal of the confessional and on what a priest should do if abuse were reported in the confessional by a child. It's not just our past leaders who needed help. Our present leaders also do.

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  • RELIGION

    Clarity beyond clericalism: Bishop Long at the Royal Commission

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 February 2017
    70 Comments

    The most thought provoking testimony given during the Royal Commission's Catholic 'wrap up' was that by Vincent Long, Bishop of Parramatta. It was notable for its directness, honesty and the awareness it displayed of the importance of church culture. Bishop Long grew up in the Vietnamese Catholic Church and was afterwards chosen to lead the Australian Church. In his responses he focused particularly on clericalism and its role in giving license and cover to clerical abuse.

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  • RELIGION

    Ensuring justice for all after the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 February 2017
    3 Comments

    The commission's forensic scrutiny of past actions of church officials in no way constitutes an interference with the freedom of religion. Its spotlight is to be welcomed, provided only that it is shone on a truly representative sample of all institutions which have been found wanting and provided the same light filter is applied to all institutions. I do however have a problem with the commission making findings on issues like the want of compassion when those findings are made only against a Church.

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  • RELIGION

    The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 February 2017
    74 Comments

    Last Monday, the Royal Commission commenced its three-week forensic examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were horrifying. Every case represented a person who claims as a child to have been abused by a person of authority in a Catholic institution. Whichever way the statistics are interpreted in comparison with other institutions, they are appalling. We need to hold the victims clearly in focus.

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  • RELIGION

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

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 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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  • RELIGION

    Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Responsibility for royal commissions' effectiveness lies with us

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 11 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
    • 23 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

    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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dickensian England lives on in Australia

    • Kate Galloway
    • 26 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kicking corruption in church and police 'closed systems'

    • Paul Coghlan
    • 05 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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