3 Dec 2010

Irish clergy abuse survivors try to block visit by Australia's top Cardinal who ''accompanied paedophiles to court''

Sydney Morning Herald - Australia May 8, 2010

Keep out Pell, say Irish sex victims


IRISH victims of Catholic sex abuse are trying to block any visit by Cardinal George Pell intended to help end paedophilia cover-ups within the clergy there.

A group in Ireland called Child Aware, headed by Hanora Brennan, has written to every member of the Irish lower house, or Dail, to protest against Cardinal Pell having any role in the plan.

Ms Brennan has also requested a meeting with Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, to argue that Cardinal Pell, Sydney's Archbishop and Australia's most senior Catholic clergyman, should not be allowed to visit on behalf of the Vatican.

This week separate rumours have swirled on Catholic blogs and in an Italian newspaper that he has been appointed to a Vatican position as head of the Congregation for Bishops, the committee that appoints bishops. The post would start in August.

A spokeswoman for Cardinal Pell's office would not comment on reports of either position.

Ms Brennan told the Herald: ''We are trying to have this man stopped coming to Ireland to check whether all the dioceses in this country should be investigated.

''Most of the denizens hereabouts would be interested in the whole country being investigated, but not by this man. There are too many questions that need to be answered.''

Ms Brennan believes Cardinal Pell's handling of clerical sexual abuse in Australia has been inadequate. She said he had ''accompanied paedophiles to court''.

In 1993, Cardinal Pell gave ''moral support'' to former priest Gerald Ridsdale at a Melbourne court appearance on paedophile charges. He was convicted of numerous child sex offences and remains in jail. Cardinal Pell has denied all knowledge of Ridsdale's activities before his conviction.

In 1996, when he was archbishop of Melbourne, Cardinal Pell created a protocol to investigate abuse complaints..

The Irish church is reeling from a damning report on clerical cover-ups of sex abuse within the archdiocese of Dublin. The government-commissioned report concluded the main concerns of the archdiocese were ''the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets''.

The Pope then announced he would hold an ''apostolic visitation'' of certain dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations within Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph said: ''Vatican insiders are tipping a tough Australian prelate to head a probe into the Irish church.''

This article was found at:



Australian priests warned by Archbishop not to read letter from alleged victim of convicted serial pedophile priest


  1. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/church-sex-abuse-inquiry-not-needed/story-fn7x8me2-1226106928687 August 3, 2011

    AN inquiry into suicides among victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and brothers in Victoria would achieve little, a Catholic bishop says.

    Police investigating the case of convicted pedophile Brother Robert Best believe at least 26 victims of sexual abuse at schools in which he taught have committed suicide. One of the investigating officers wants a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the deaths.

    "If it helps the victims I'd be more than happy for it to go ahead," Bishop of Ballarat Peter Connors told AAP. "I don't think they'll learn very much more ... I'm convinced we've done the best we can in more recent years."

    Best, who taught at schools throughout Victoria, including Ballarat, will be sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to 27 charges of abusing 11 boys between 1969 and 1988. Best was principal at St Alipius primary school in Ballarat at the same time convicted serial pedophile and priest Gerald Ridsdale was the school chaplain.

    But Bishop Connors on Tuesday said not even revelations from Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson that 26 young men had killed themselves after being abused by priests and brothers in Ballarat convinced him that more would be learnt from an inquiry. "I think we've learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what's not appropriate behaviour," Bishop Connors said.
    "I think people are very well informed nowadays as to what's inappropriate approaches from a male."

    While conceding the abuse of children was wrong, he said that in the past it had not always been clear to everyone what was appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. "In the past a lot of ignorance was there on the part of lots of people. Parents didn't understand, sometimes bishops didn't understand. We have no excuse now."

    As to whether there was an excuse when Ridsdale and Best were abusing boys, Bishop Connors said he did not know. Among the charges laid against Best in Victoria's County Court last month were details of him raping a nine-year-old boy in his office. The court heard that after Best raped him, the boy thought he was going to die and blacked out.

    Bishop Connors said in the past 14 years he had spoken to more than 30 victims of Ridsdale and other priests in the Ballarat diocese. But he said none had told him they were also abused by Best. "I can't remember them saying they were victims of Brother Best as well," he said.

    The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best's victims "because he being a Christian Brother, I'm not responsible for him." Yet he conceded that some of Ridsdale's victims he had met could also have been abused by Best, because they were both there at the same time.

    Bishop Connors says the church has paid some victims far more than the $70,000 the Archdiocese of Melbourne says should be paid for the worst cases of child assault. Others have been paid less but overall victims had received "a considerable amount". He is now waiting to see if any of those victims will come forward in two civil compensation cases set to be mounted against Best and whether the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat will be named in the actions.

  2. Victoria launches child abuse inquiry

    by Samantha Donovan, ABC News Australia April 17, 2012

    MARK COLVIN: The Victorian Government has announced a Parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the criminal abuse of children by religious and other organisations.

    Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have been calling for an inquiry for years.

    But recent revelations that the church's handling of complaints could be linked to as many as 40 suicides, put more pressure on the Baillieu Government.

    Even now, victims and their families are concerned that the inquiry may not go far enough.

    Samantha Donovan reports.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Melbourne man Stephen Woods says that between the ages of 11 and 14 he was repeatedly raped and bashed by three Catholic clergy in the Victorian town of Ballarat.

    He says he's overjoyed by news of the inquiry.

    STEPHEN WOODS: It's wonderful. We've, many of us have argued and many of us have been knocking our heads against the walls of bureaucratic walls to try and get some sort of satisfaction, some sort of hearing on the truth.

    So I'm quite joyous.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Stephen Woods estimates that in one of his classes 15 other schoolboys were also being molested.

    He says when he went to the presbytery for help he was raped by the now notorious priest Gerald Ridsdale who was later jailed for dozens of offences against young boys.

    Stephen Woods says at least three of his schoolmates later committed suicide.

    He's looking forward to giving evidence to the inquiry.

    STEPHEN WOODS: Well the inquiry will be hearing quite graphic details of what happened to me. They'll hear quite graphic details of what happened to two of my brothers also, because I'm the youngest of seven kids. And the three youngest in my family were all assaulted and/or raped.

    And one of them has subsequently died because his life went into an absolute spiral and went out of control and he finally died.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The Parliamentary inquiry will look at how organisations have handled allegations of criminal abuse of children and whether they have practices in place to discourage the reporting of suspected abuse to state authorities.

    It will also consider whether change is needed in those organisations to help prevent the abuse of children and deal with allegations when they arise.

    The inquiry will have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and to summons documents.

    The Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark says the government considered all the options but decided against a Royal Commission.

    ROBERT CLARK: We concluded in the end that a Parliamentary inquiry would be less intrusive, less formal, less legalistic and would provide greater flexibility for the way in which victims might want to present their stories and their experiences to the committee.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Anthony Foster's two daughters were raped by their parish priest when they were in primary school.

    Emma Foster later committed suicide and her sister Katie is now severely disabled after a traffic accident.

    Mr Foster has been calling for a Royal Commission. He's pleased by news of the inquiry but is worried it may not go far enough.

    continued in next comment...

  3. continued from previous comment:

    ANTHONY FOSTER: We have some concern about the ability of this Parliamentary inquiry to garner the evidence that's really required to ensure that all the matters are investigated that need to be investigated and there are a lot of historical issues to be investigated and I'm sure that the inquiry's going to need to see information from the church and other organisations going back many decades.

    A Royal Commission would have been able to force the church to hand over evidence with the threat of very severe sanctions if that wasn't done.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Lawyer Judy Courtin has been lobbying for an inquiry into the Catholic Church's handling of abuse complaints. She says this inquiry is an Australian first and good news.

    But she says victims of abuse tell her the Catholic Church has a legalistic and adversarial approach to complaints.

    JUDY COURTIN: That the church is very powerful and extremely wealthy. It to date has not been, has not volunteered to partake in any form of inquiry and it's been pushed into a corner.

    So I think a judicial inquiry or a Royal Commission would be much more suited to this type of inquiry.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Judy Courtin is also concerned that the inquiry hasn't been specifically asked to look at the connection between childhood sexual abuse and suicide.

    JUDY COURTIN: Everybody knows now that there are far, far too many deaths associated with clergy abuse. This inquiry cannot deal with those suicides.

    We need a full coronial inquiry. The coroner needs to re-open these cases and to re-investigate and to look at these problems in a systemic way.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Anthony Foster says his family knows what happened in their case. But he says many more stories will emerge in the inquiry.

    ANTHONY FOSTER: We know that our perpetrator was known about for decades before he assaulted our children. Now that's just abhorrent. It's disgusting and abhorrent that the Catholic Church and its hierarchy knew about the perpetrator of our children well, well before it happened and did nothing about it.

    And we are just one case. I also understand why the Government's chosen to target all religious organisations, rather than just the Catholic Church. But I think that we will find that this inquiry in the main is an inquiry about the Catholic Church in Victoria.

    SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The Parliamentary committee has been asked to report to the Victorian Parliament no later than the end of April next year.


  4. Why the Victorian State Government Parliamentary inquiry must and will fail

    by John Brown Toowoomba, Queensland May 18, 2012

    Note: This letter is in reference to the Victorian government’s inquiry into the abuse of children by religious and other organizations. -MD

    A parliamentary inquiry cannot be deemed independent due to:
    a) government complicity in the crimes
    b) investigating politicians are not and can not ever be secular due to a belief in
    the god of the religions under review.

    Independence for this inquiry would mean that those investigating these crimes
    should not be a part of the government due to its involvement in the crimes or
    religious (Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other religion) due to involvement in the

    Therefore a parliamentary inquiry will never find on behalf of the victims as it can
    never consider the possibility that there is no god and that therefore the catholic
    church is therefore a fraud. It can and will never be able to consider the church as
    a deluded psychological abusive criminal cult with dominionist and sexual obsessions
    that is capable of stealing and selling children, blackmailing and abusing women and
    children, bullying and intimidating itself into a position of power and authority in
    all aspects of the state and society nor can it ever recommend the suspension of any
    activity of a religious belief regardless of the extent of the atrocities through
    the use of religion and belief that is presented to an inquiry made up of those with
    an unstinting, unswerving belief in the religion or its practices.

    A believing parliamentarian cannot even consider the possibility that religion can
    be wrong let alone give consideration from the perspective of there being no god
    while any of its members believe in the in-errancy, infallibility, eternal
    punishment, biblical judgment or other beliefs of their own religion. Such a body
    should never be called to investigate crimes carried out by religion and by

    A true independent can only come from those who have no belief in the god of the
    religions under review and preferably from those who were not indoctrinated into the
    religion before they were able to freely choose for themselves.

    This parliamentary inquiry can not be considered to be secular in any manner
    what-so-ever. The parliamentary inquiry will never be capable of finding against the
    beliefs of a religion of members of the inquiry therefore the inquiry can never
    determine the truth nor can it find in favor of those survivors and victims who have
    no belief in the god or the religion that was used to abuse them and the religion of
    those inquiring into those abuses.

    Religious believers are simply not capable of conducting this investigation in an
    independent manner, nor are thy capable of providing justice for victims and
    survivors who are now atheists and non-blievers; will their assessment of what is a
    fair and just response towards atheist and non-believer survivors be measured by the
    religious beliefs of those making up the inquiry that specifically exclude and
    condemn non-believers?

    The testimony of atheist survivors simply cannot be accepted nor considered equally
    for validation and investigation by believers in the religions under question as the
    veracity of the witness due to their non-belief is already cast through the
    teachings and beliefs of the religions of the inquirers.

    Under such a circumstance the findings of the inquiry can be determined before it
    concludes that it must find against atheist survivors and therefore in favor of
    their abusers on the basis of religious belief.

    The inquiry is already a sham and a fraud as the inquiry begins its life with a
    polluted and toxic environment due to a predetermined religious bias against atheist
    survivors and their testimonies.