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RCC spokesman in tears over Australian abuse revelations

RCC spokesman in tears over Australian abuse revelations

The enormity of child sexual abuse within the Australian Catholic Church has been revealed after years of investigations – and prompted a tearful senior Church official say today (Monday):

These numbers are shocking. They are tragic and they are indefensible.

CEO of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan.

According to this report, between 1950 and 2015, seven percent of Australian priests were accused of abusing children, according to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Over 40 percent of priests in some orders have been accused of abuse.

The commission’s findings provide yet more evidence of a global epidemic of sex abuse and cover-up within the Church. Previous reports have documented widespread abuse in the United States, Ireland, Brazil, the Netherlands and Germany, among other countries.

The Vatican established a commission to investigate claims of sex abuse in 2013, while in 2015 Pope Francis created a church tribunal to judge bishops who failed to protect children from predatory priests.

As she delivered the findings Monday, Senior Counsel Gail Furness said victims’ accounts were:

Harrowing. The accounts were depressingly familiar. Children (who came forward) were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated.

Priests who had been accused of abuse were moved to other communities that “knew nothing of their past,” Furness said.

Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover-ups.

The commission has conducted 50 hearings since it was founded in 2013, and the history of sex abuse within the Australian Catholic Church has been well documented.

However, much of the evidence to date has been anecdotal and didn’t quantify the extent of the problem.

The commission found, between January 1980 and February 2015, there were 4,444 victims of alleged sex abuse.

From three separate data surveys and witness testimonies, the commission found seven percent of priests, belonging to 75 Catholic Church authorities, were alleged perpetrators.

The average age of victims at the time of abuse was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys.

At least 1,880 alleged perpetrators were identified, according to the commission.

Of the alleged perpetrators, 32 percent were religious brothers, 30 percent were priests, 29 percent were lay people and five percent were religious sisters.

Within religious orders, the frequency was higher. Over 40 percent of St John of God Brothers were accused of abuse. The Order set up schools for boys with learning difficulties in the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria, as well as New Zealand.

In a statement, Sullivan – who heads the church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council – said leaders of the church had committed themselves:

To repairing the wrongs of the past. Let us not forget that every person who has come forward carries with them the suffering, damage and loss, which child sexual abuse inevitably causes.

The fact that child sexual abuse has been perpetrated by those holding privileged positions of trust within the Church and the fact that many Church leaders then compounded the damage in various ways including in some cases covering up the truth, is a tragedy in itself.

Over the next three weeks, the hearing will hear testimony from six archbishops. In a letter to parishioners around the country last week, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Denis Hart warned that the hearing:

May be a difficult and even distressing time. Deeply mindful of the hurt and pain caused by abuse, I once again offer my apology on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

17 responses to “RCC spokesman in tears over Australian abuse revelations”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Shut the RCC down. Now.

  2. tonye says:

    The only reason this lot get upset is because they have been exposed, yet again.

  3. Playonwords says:

    Does anyone think that the percentage of abusers will vary much from Church to Church or religion to religion? Abusers seek work where they have unfettered access to their victims.

  4. Broga says:

    We can be sure that however appalling the revelations the BBC will continue to give air time to representatives of the RC Church. The crocodile tears should be recognised for what they are: a PR job.

  5. AgentCormac says:

    @Playonwords

    I doubt that any other religion has done as much as the RCC to cover up abuse and protect those they knew were committing the crimes.

  6. Angela_K says:

    It will be business as usual for this cult: accuse the abused of lying and threaten them into silence, move the abusers to another country, increased secrecy and cover-ups…..

  7. barriejohn says:

    I found this report very confusing. According to Bill Donohue (a bit of an expert on Catholic matters), the proportion of abusing priests is 0.01%. I wonder which figure I believe?

    http://www.catholicleague.org/01-of-clergy-are-abusers-2/

  8. sailor1031 says:

    @barrie: Donohue is of course as always mistaken by mistake of course. Or is he just lying? He has accidentally shifted the decimal point 3 places to the left – the actual percentage in the USA as of a few years ago, when I researched it, was 10%. Four thousand priests out of forty thousand. I expect it’s a few more by now.

  9. Paul says:

    Interesting isn’t it the sheer scale of the abuse. In Spain rcc priests are “given licence” to ‘marry ‘ or have female company. I read that abuse by priests in Spain is probably on par with society levels (more or less ).
    However, according to this report ten priests accused of child abuse had charges dropped.
    The report is interesting for the stupidity of the mob prostrating themselves on the ground in front of an altar – as if that means any thing for abusing a child. And significantly the pope getting involved ordering an investigation – not ordering the involvement of the police or a judicious line of inquiry, but a Catholic self effacing ‘investigation’. That is the problem in its entirety. They don’t take these things seriously, and child abuse is serious and requires serious handling.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31493461

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    Today was not the day that the state and parents stopped trusting clergy to care for children. Today was another day that child sacrifice was grieved over, or ignored, or excused, or celebrated. But not ended. Today was not that day.

  11. Matt says:

    The specious Cardinal Pell, one time top rcc person in Australia, seems to have gotten away and escaped into a safe refuge in the vatican just in time.

  12. L.Long says:

    I’ll believe they think it is terrible when the accused are in court! Til then they are liars!

  13. John the Drunkard says:

    Hard to ever know for certain, but the Church’s bizarre sexual policies, its demand for a celibate clergy, and the shocking degree of unearned authority handed to clergy would suggest that the Catholics have a problem bigger than other religions.

    Still, the investing of authority over children by unqualified religious ‘personnel’ is a license for abuse. Often, but not always, including sexual abuse.

  14. StephenJP says:

    Shocking but,of course, not surprising. I note that neither Mr Sullivan nor Archbishop Hart has given any indication that the RCC is prepared actually to do anything about its plainly inadequate procedures for selecting, training or supervising its clergymen, still less make any effort to root out those still getting away with these crimes and turn them in. They will close ranks and try to settle for the usual formulaic apology. As they always do.

  15. Robster says:

    Those acting school lessons didn’t really pay off, the crying Catholics are just not in any way convincing.

  16. Edwin Salter says:

    An interesting word chain: the St John Order of Hospitallers with branches all over including England – the historic Knights Hospitaller – the dissolved Knights Templar – the Knights Templar International today featured on the BBC news. Ghastly.

  17. When Christianity points to the violence in its Bible to get people to kill and maim and wage crusades liberals say, “Christianity is all good and those atrocities have nothing to do with Christianity.” Christians like them for saying that. But the likes of the Catholic bigot never returns the favour to say, “Though most abusers are homosexuals homosexuality in itself is good and those homosexuals are no reflection on it. What happened has nothing to do with homosexuality.” No he is so vile he would rather blame homosexuality instead of a manmade faith that has no magic or even natural power to improve human nature in any special way. He does not realise that homosexuality can only happen between adults. An adult and a person who is too young for sex is a different matter. The priests will enable his lies and vitriol by giving him communion on Sunday.