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Australia - Royal Commission to Investigate Child Abuse by Clergy and Others

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On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a Royal Commission into how churches, government bodies and other organizations have dealt with possibly thousands of child sex abuse claims.

As the Catholic Church was quick to point out that it believes the extent of its involvement has been greatly exaggerated according to Cardinal George Pell the Archbishop of Sidney:

"We are not interested in denying the extent of misdoing in the Catholic church. We object to it being exaggerated, we object to it being described as 'the only cab on the rank'."

Just more persecution of the embattled Catholic Church, eh? And by an atheist Australian PM living in sin no less. (Note sarcasm alert).

As George Carlin once remarked about the Catholic Church’s foundation for its “moral” stance on such issues as abortion, contraception, etc.

Go look for consistency in religion. And speaking of my friends the Catholics, when John Cardinal O'Connor of New York and some of these other Cardinals and Bishops have experienced their first pregnancies and their first labor pains and they've raised a couple of children on minimum wage, then I'll be glad to hear what they have to say about abortion. I'm sure it'll be interesting. Enlightening, too.
But, in the meantime what they ought to be doing is telling these priests who took a vow of chastity to keep their hands off the altar boys! Keep your hands to yourself, Father! You know? When Jesus said "
Suffer the little children come unto me
", that's not what he was talking about!

As reported:

Australia is to hold a wide-ranging judicial inquiry into child sex abuse in the country, including investigations into religious organisations, state care facilities, schools, not-for-profit groups and the responses of child services agencies and the police.

The royal commission follows growing pressure for a national inquiry after a senior police officer last week alleged that the Catholic church had covered up evidence involving paedophile priests. However, the inquiry's scope is expected to cover a wide range of institutions involved in the care of children.

"Child abuse, child sex abuse is a vile thing – it's an evil thing done by evil people," said prime minister, Julia Gillard, announcing the royal commission on Monday.

"It's not just the evil of the people who do it. There has been a systemic failure to respond to it. The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking. These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject. There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil."

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference released a statement saying it supported the royal commission and that child abuse was an issue for the entire community, not just the Catholic church. While the statement acknowledged there were significant problems in some Catholic dioceses and religious orders, it rejected suggestions there were systemic problems of sexual abuse in the church.

"It is unacceptable, because it is untrue, to claim that the Catholic church does not have the proper procedures, and to claim that Catholic authorities refuse to co-operate with the police," the statement said.

The most senior figure within the Catholic church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, also welcomed the royal commission. "Public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse. Ongoing and at times one-sided media coverage has deepened this uncertainty," he said.

The conservative opposition leader, Tony Abbott, who once trained to be a Catholic priest, said earlier on Monday he would support a "wide-ranging" commission that did not focus solely on the Catholic church. "Any investigation should not be limited to the examination of any one institution," he said in a statement.

The prime minister's announcement of a judicial inquiry follows allegations last week by a police officer of a cover-up by the Catholic church into child sexual abuse in the Hunter region, north of Sydney.

"I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church," he wrote in an open letter to the New South Wales state premier, Barry O'Farrell.

Fox, a veteran of decades of investigations into child sexual abuse, said he had "irrefutable" evidence of a cover-up involving a number of diocese bishops. "It potentially goes even higher than that," he told ABC television.

The following day, the New South Wales state government launched a special commission of inquiry to examine the police investigations of priests in the Hunter region of the Newcastle-Maitland diocese.

In that area, about two hours drive north of Sydney, there are 400 known victims of child sexual abuse. Eleven priests have been charged and convicted since 1995 and six Catholic teachers have been convicted. Three priests are currently on trial.

Last month, police in the state of Victoria accused the Catholic church of intimidation, secrecy, destroying evidence, and failing to report accusations against the clergy in a state-based parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse.

Deputy Police Commissioner Graham Ashton told the inquiry that the church had also hindered justice by failing to report a single case of child sex abuse in more than 50 years.

"The process is designed to put the reputation of the church first and victims second," he said.

The government aims to consult widely before establishing the exact parameters of the judicial inquiry, which is expected to start in 2013 and take several years to complete.

http://www.guardian....iry-child-abuse

The Catholic Church a history of shielding pedophile priests, denying wrongdoing in the face of overwhelming evidence and not cooperating with civil law enforcement authorities. It reaches to the highest levels of the Vatican.

It has occurred in different countries including:

Australia:

The Catholic Church denied a pedophile priest sexually abused two young sisters more than a decade after the man was jailed for attacking children over a period of 50 years.

The denial came despite an earlier letter written to the girls' parents by Cardinal George Pell, apologising for the priest's crimes and acknowledging the findings by the church's investigator that the cleric had raped both the children.

...

In 1995, O'Donnell became, at 78, the oldest man to be jailed in Victorian history after he admitted abusing 10 boys and two girls over a 31-year period. He is believed to have abused hundreds of children all over Victoria between 1942 and 1992.

...

(I)n the year O'Donnell was jailed,
lawyers for the Catholic Church accused a man - attacked by the cleric in 1972 when he was in grade 6 - of being guilty of contributory negligence because he:

Failed "to take care of his safety";

Did not make any complaint at the time of the abuse
; and,

Llater, failed to report O'Donnell's conduct to the authorities. The church's denial that Ms Foster's daughters had been abused by O'Donnell was made in 2004 in response to the Foster family's lawsuit against the church.

In a letter from lawyers acting for the Archdiocese of Melbourne, the Fosters were told that the defendants "do not admit that the plaintiffs were subjected to physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse while an infant by Kevin O'Donnell".

The denial came despite earlier findings by Peter O'Callaghan, QC, the church-appointed commissioner who investigates complaints against clerics, that both girls had been abused by O'Donnell.

It also came despite a letter to Emma Foster in 1988 from then Melbourne Archbishop Pell, in which he sought "to apologise to you and those around you for the wrongs you have suffered at the hands of Father Kevin O'Donnell".

O'Donnell was released from jail in late 1996 and died in March the following year.

http://www.rickross....clergy1185.html

In Ireland the widespread abuse by priests that was not properly investigated by civil authorities led to the fall of an Irish government in 1994. The interference by the Vatican continues in Ireland as this NY Times article of December 17, 2010 reports:

The Vatican tried to stop church leaders here from defrocking a particularly dangerous pedophile priest and relented only after he raped a boy in a restroom at a pub, according to an investigation released Friday.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he fully accepted the findings of the latest chapter in Ireland's investigation into child abuse by priests in Dublin who were shielded from the law by Catholic leaders.

Archbishop Martin called the priest, Tony Walsh, an "extremely devious man" who should never have been ordained.

A state-ordered investigation into cover-ups by the Dublin Archdiocese reported last year that church officials had shielded scores of priests from criminal investigation over several decades and did not report any crimes to the police until the mid-1990s.

http://www.nytimes.c... priests&st=cse

Following the revelations and fall of the Irish government, the Catholic Church in Ireland moved to make it mandatory to report priests to police or civil authorities for sexual abuse of minors. The Vatican claimed that it never tried to intervene in that Irish Church policy but a letter was brought to light on January 18, 2011 that put lie to that claim:

A newly disclosed document reveals that Vatican officials told the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they had serious reservations about the bishops' policy of mandatory reporting of priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.

The document appears to contradict Vatican claims that church leaders in Rome never sought to control the actions of local bishops in abuse cases, and that the Roman Catholic Church did not impede criminal investigations of child abuse suspects.

Abuse victims in Ireland and the United States quickly proclaimed the document to be a "smoking gun" that would serve as important evidence in lawsuits against the Vatican.

"The Vatican is at the root of this problem," said Colm O'Gorman, an outspoken victim of abuse in Ireland who is now director of Amnesty International there. "Any suggestion that they have not deliberately and willfully been instructing bishops not to report priests to appropriate civil authorities is now proven to be ridiculous."

http://www.nytimes.c...an.html?_r=2

And the excuses and rationalizations continue - as reported in May 2012:

The leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics said Wednesday he wouldn't resign after a BBC documentary accused him of helping to cover up 1970s child abuse committed by a pedophile priest who went on to assault scores of other children.

Cardinal Sean Brady said the documentary exaggerated his role in his 1975 interviews of two teenage boys abused by priest Brendan Smyth.

Brady said he gave his report as instructed to his bishop, who in turn had responsibility to tell Smyth's religious order leaders. They, not he, had the power to act and failed to do so, Brady said.

"I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them. However, I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past," Brady said.

His statement did not address why nobody in the church thought to call the police. Nor did it mention that he, as the canon lawyer in the two interviews, required both boys to sign oaths of secrecy promising not to tell anyone outside the church of the abuse they had suffered.

http://www.globaltvb...2621/story.html

In Belgium the Pope is angry that the civil authorities are arresting priests and church officials (including Bishops) and searching Church property for evidence instead of just leaving it in the hands of the Church:

ROME — In a sign of sharply rising tensions between the Vatican and Belgium, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday criticized as "surprising and deplorable" a raid on church property last week by Belgian police officers investigating sexual abuse by clerics.

In an exceedingly rare personal message and rebuke of a sovereign country, the pontiff also stressed the church's "autonomy" to conduct its own investigations and criticized the "deplorable methods" of the Belgian police, who detained bishops, confiscated files and even drilled into the tombs of at least one cardinal in the Cathedral of Mechelen, north of Brussels, in a search for documents.

"On several occasions I have personally reiterated that such serious issues should be attended to by both civil and canon law, with respect for their reciprocal specificity and autonomy," Benedict said in a statement circulated by the Vatican on Sunday.

He also expressed his "closeness and solidarity" with the Belgian clergy and André-Joseph Léonard, the archbishop of Belgium and the president of the Belgian Bishops' Conference.

The raid on Thursday came months after the Belgian church, stung by allegations of sexual abuse by clerics, created a committee to investigate claims.

On Thursday, the police in Leuven, Belgium, also confiscated the case files of that committee and the computer of its director, a well-respected child psychiatrist. The committee director, church authorities and the Vatican have criticized the police, saying they had violated the privacy of the victims who had come forward.

That day, the police also searched the Mechelen home and former office of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Leonard's predecessor as head of the Belgian church, and took documents and his personal computer. They have not said whether the cardinal himself is under investigation.

The police raided the church headquarters in Mechelen, the palace of the archbishop of Brussels-Mechelen, on Thursday morning as the bishops began their monthly meeting and detained them and their staff for nine hours.

On Saturday, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, called the detention of bishops "serious and unbelievable" and compared the police tactics to those of Communist regimes. He also said that the bishops had been deprived of food and water while they were detained.

On Sunday, the Belgian justice minister denied that assertion, as did the spokesman for the Belgian Bishops' Conference, who in a statement circulated by the Vatican on Friday said that the raid had been conducted "correctly."

In his message on Sunday, Benedict said he hoped that "justice will run its course," guaranteeing "the fundamental rights of people and institutions" and "the respect for victims."

http://www.nytimes.c.../28vatican.html

In Germany one of the more infamous pedophile priests was part of the current Pope's archdiocese. In a routine reminiscent of Hogan's Heroes, Cardinal Ratzinger claims he "knew nothing" blink.gif :

A German priest convicted of molesting boys in 1986 has been suspended from his duties after breaching a ban on working with children.

Father Peter Hullermann abused children during his time in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, when the current Pope was the archbishop there.

The archdiocese said he was "forbidden from any work with children", but did not specify how he breached the ban.

He had been given a 18-month suspended jail sentence in 1986.

The archdiocese identified the priest only as Rev H, although his full name has been widely reported in the media.

Supervisor resigns

It said he was suspended on Monday after "it was proved he did not comply with the conditions set following allegations of sexually abusing minors and a conviction in the justice system".

It added: "He was forbidden from any work with children and youth."

Italian reports said he had recently been on a camping trip with young people at his current parish in Bavaria.

Father Hullermann's supervisor, Josef Obermaier, resigned, the archdiocese said.

Pope Benedict XVI was known as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger during his time in the archdiocese from 1977 to 1982.

Last week, following a report in the Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the archdiocese confirmed that Archbishop Ratzinger had let the priest stay at a vicarage in Munich for "therapy".

1985 suspension

Father Hullermann, now 62, had been suspected of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform a sex act upon him in the northern city of Essen.

While he was in Munich, between February 1980 and August 1982, no wrongdoing was reported.

Archbishop Ratzinger's former deputy, Gerhard Gruber, earlier stressed that his boss was not made aware of the abuse allegations.

Father Hullermann was then transferred to the town of Grafing, where he was relieved of his duties in 1985 after allegations of child sex abuse, the diocese said.

In 1986, he was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and a fine for sexually abusing minors, details of which were not given by the diocese.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8569612.stm

The Pope's plea of ignorance (strange given that he was considered the ultimate control freak prior to his elevation to Pope) seems to be in tatters in respect of Father Hullermann as reported on March 26, 2010:

The Roman Catholic Church's account of Pope Benedict XVI's handling of a serial paedophile was called into question today when new documents emerged suggesting that his office was kept informed of the offender's rapid return to working with children.

Contrary to statements released by the Church in Germany, a memorandum uncovered by The New York Times suggests that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was told that a priest had gone back to pastoral duties in Munich a few days after he started psychiatric treatment. The priest went on to commit further offences. The Pope's spokesman tonight denied the claims.

The latest child abuse scandal to hit the Catholic Church involves a German priest, Father Peter Hullermann, who was convicted of molesting boys in 1986. Victims have complained that repeated warnings were ignored by the Church over decades of abuse.

In 1980, the Pope was the Archbishop of Munich overseeing the archdiocese in which Father Hullermann was given a few days of treatment after sexual abuse allegations and then told he could return to work.

When the scandal broke earlier this month Monsignor Gerhard Gruber, who was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising at the time and in effect Cardinal Ratzinger's deputy, took "full responsibility" for the decision to allow the priest to resume his duties.

The Munich Archdiocese also officially acknowledged that "bad mistakes" were made in the handling of Father Hullermann, but attributed them to officials subordinate to Cardinal Ratzinger.

But the memo, the existence of which was confirmed to The New York Times by two church officials, shows that the future Pope not only led a meeting on January 15, 1980, approving the transfer of the priest to his district, but that he was also kept informed about the priest's subsequent reassignment.

It remains unclear whether he played any part in the decision-making process or whether he had personally read the memo addressed to him.

Over the following years, church officials repeatedly transferred Father Hullermann to new parishes and allowed him to work with children, even after the 1986 conviction for sexually abusing boys.

He was suspended only this month as the sex abuse scandals came to light in the Pope's native Germany.

The initial statement by the Munich Archdiocese claimed that Father Hullermann had been allowed to return to work because of the "the statements of the treating psychologist".

That was flatly contradicted by the psychiatrist in question. Dr Werner Huth, who treated him from 1980 to 1992, said he had warned church officials not to allow him to work with children from the very outset.

The latest statement from the Munich Archdiocese raises doubts over whether the future pope would have actually read the memo addressed to him. Father Lorenz Wolf, judicial vicar in the Munich Archdiocese, said it was "unlikely to have landed on the archbishop's desk", but he could not rule out that Cardinal Ratzinger had read it.

Father Wolf said he had also spoken to Monsignor Gruber, who could not remember a detailed conversation with Cardinal Ratzinger about Father Hullermann but could not rule out that the name had come up.

Tonight, Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope's spokesman, claimed that he "did not know about the decision to re-insert the priest in pastoral and parish activity". He added that any other version of events was "mere speculation".

Father Hullermann, 61, was suspended this month from his post in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Tolz for violating an undertaking not to have further contact with children and young people.

http://www.timesonli...icle7077196.ece

In the US New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd has written a number of articles on the role of the Catholic Church in shielding pedophile priests and the current Pope's role in these matters:

Now we learn the sickening news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed "God's Rottweiler" when he was the church's enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

The church has been tone deaf and dumb on the scandal for so long that it's shocking, but not surprising, to learn from The Times's Laurie Goodstein that a group of deaf former students spent 30 years trying to get church leaders to pay attention.

...

It was only when the sanctity of the confessional was breached that an archbishop in Wisconsin (who later had to resign when it turned out he used church money to pay off a male lover) wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Vatican to request that Father Murphy be defrocked.

The cardinal did not answer. The archbishop wrote to a different Vatican official, but Father Murphy appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency and got it, partly because of the church's statute of limitations. Since when does sin have a statute of limitations?

...

Cardinal Ratzinger devoted his Vatican career to rooting out any hint of what he considered deviance. The problem is, he was obsessed with enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy and somehow missed the graver danger to the most vulnerable members of the flock.

The sin-crazed "Rottweiler" was so consumed with sexual mores — issuing constant instructions on chastity, contraception, abortion — that he didn't make time for curbing sexual abuse by priests who were supposed to pray with, not prey on, their young charges.

American bishops have gotten politically militant in recent years, opposing the health care bill because its language on abortion wasn't vehement enough, and punishing Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights and stem cell research. They should spend as much time guarding the kids already under their care as they do championing the rights of those who aren't yet born.

Decade after decade, the church hid its sordid crimes, enabling the collared perpetrators instead of letting the police collar them. In the case of the infamous German priest, one diocese official hinted that his problem could be fixed by transferring him to teach at a girls' school. Either they figured that he would not be tempted by the female sex, or worse, the church was even less concerned about putting little girls at risk.

http://www.nytimes.c...ion/28dowd.html

As Ms Dowd notes the Vatican seems to have taken a page from the book of the Bush PR machine - deny and obfuscate:

Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse culture of protecting molesters and the church's reputation rather than abused — and sometimes disabled and disadvantaged — children.

The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday.

This week of special confessions and penance services is unfolding as the pope resists pressure from Catholics around the globe for his own confession and penance about the cascade of child sexual abuse cases that were ignored, even by a German diocese and Vatican office he ran.

...

The Vatican is surprised to find itself in this sort of trouble. Officials there could have easily known what was going on all along; archbishops visiting Rome gossip like a sewing circle. The cynical Vatican just didn't want to deal with it.

And now the church continues to hide behind its mystique. Putting down the catechism, it picked up the Washington P.R. handbook for political sins.

First: Declare any new revelation old and unimportant.

At Palm Sunday Mass at St. Patrick's, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York bemoaned that the "recent tidal wave of headlines about abuse of minors by some few priests, this time in Ireland, Germany, and a re-run of an old story from Wisconsin, has knocked us to our knees once again."

A few priests? At this point, it feels like an international battalion.

A re-run of an old story? So sorry to remind you, Archbishop, that one priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, who showed no remorse and suffered no punishment from "Rottweiler" Ratzinger, abused as many as 200 deaf children in Wisconsin.

http://www.nytimes.c...ion/31dowd.html

And we have had similar cases here in BC. including bringing down Hubert Patrick O'Connor was the Roman Catholic bishop of Prince George who was forced to resign in 1991 when charged with and convicted in 1996 of committing rape and indecent assault on two young aboriginal women during the 1960s when he was a priest. He was sentenced to two and one-half years in prison.

However when he died of a heart attack in 2007 there was not a mention of his vile crimes at the website of the Canadian Conference of Cathloic Bishops (CCB). Just like it never happened.

(CCCB – Ottawa)... Most Reverend Hubert O’Connor, Bishop Emeritus of Prince George, British Columbia, died on 24 July 2007 from a heart attack at the age of 79.

Born in Huntingdon, Quebec, Bishop O’Connor was a member of the religious community of the Oblate of Mary Immaculate. Ordained to the priesthood in 1955, he mainly exercised his pastoral ministry with Aboriginal communities before being named Bishop of Whitehorse in October 1971.
Fifteen years later, in June 1986, he was named Bishop of Prince George, a seat he held until his resignation in July 1991.

Funeral services for Bishop O’Connor will be held on Tuesday, 7 August 2007 at 10:00 a.m., at St. Augustines’s Parish in Vancouver, BC. He will be buried in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Cemetery in Mission, British Columbia.

http://www.cccb.ca/s...ert-oconnor-omi

Kind of puts lie to the motto of the CCCB:

tls_en.png

Or perhaps the CCCB think it is a matter of autonomy for each diocese to abuse children as the priests see fit?

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It was founded in 1943 and officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948. After the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the CCCB became part of a worldwide network of Episcopal Conferences, established in 1965, as an integral part of the life of the universal Church. Until 1977, it was called the Canadian Catholic Conference. The change in name reflects more clearly the fact that it is an association of Bishops.

According to the statutes of the CCCB, the Bishops together exercise some pastoral functions for Catholics in Canada, while respecting the autonomy of each Bishop in the service of his particular Church.

Through the work of its members, the Conference is involved in matters of national and international scope in areas such as ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, theology, social justice, aid to developing countries, the protection of human life, liturgy, communications and Christian education. The Conference also provides the Bishops with a forum where they can share their experience and insights on the life of the Church and the major events that shape our society.

And the Catholic Church has a habit of shuffling its pedophile priests around despite knowing their sins and predilections.

Father Leonard Buckley - Priest, Diocese of Nelson, British Columbia. Ordained 1964. guilty plea June 1989 to 10 charges related to sex abuse of 10 young boys, some as young as seven, over a 17-year-period. He was principal of St. Mary’s School in Cranbrook for 15 years, pleaded guilty to fondling 10 boys in Cranbrook and Penticton while on camping trips with them. The 54-year-old priest got five years.

The Catholic Church stood behind Buckley and said it would have paid for treatment in a private institution in the United States if the judge imposed only a two year prison term.

And six other priests who served in the Nelson Diocese have been caught abusing children.

Vancouver Province

09 February 1992

Suzy Hamilton

The unholy roll-call of Roman Catholic priests in the Nelson diocese convicted or accused of molesting children includes one of the church’s highest officers.

Six priests have been charged in the past four years with sexually abusing children. Three have pleaded guilty and three are still before the courts.

A seventh priest, from the Calgary diocese, committed offences in the Nelson diocese.

And in Victoria:

The National Post

Nov 11, 2011

By Louise Dickson

VICTORIA — After a two-day preliminary inquiry, a Roman Catholic priest from the U.S. who spent six years working in Sooke and Saanich in British Columbia has been committed to stand trial on four charges involving sexual offences against children.

Father Phil Jacobs was arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency and charged in August 2010 with one count of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and one count of sexual exploitation against three Greater Victoria children under the age of 14.

The alleged offences occurred between 1996 and 2002, when Jacobs was a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria.

To be clear it was not just the Catholic Church abusing children as we learned during the Aboriginal Residential School Abuse Inquiry though the Catholic Church oversaw three-quarters of Canadian residential schools, it was the last church to have one of its leaders officially address the abuse - well sort of.

On April 29, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "sorrow" to a delegation from Canada's Assembly of First Nations for the abuse and "deplorable" treatment that aboriginal students suffered at Roman Catholic Church-run residential schools. At the time, then Assembly of First Nations Leader Phil Fontaine said it wasn't an "official apology".

Other churches implicated in the abuse apologized in the 1990s.

Archbishop Michael Peers clearly offered an apology on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada in 1993, stating "I am sorry, more than I can say, that we were part of a system which took you and your children from home and family."

Four leaders of the Presbyterian Church signed a statement of apology in 1994. "It is with deep humility and in great sorrow that we come before God and our aboriginal brothers and sisters with our confession," it said.

The United Church of Canada formally apologized to Canada's First Nations people in 1986, and offered its second apology in 1998 for the abuse that happened at residential schools.

"To those individuals who were physically, sexually, and mentally abused as students of the Indian Residential Schools in which the United Church of Canada was involved, I offer you our most sincere apology," the statement by the church's General Council Executive said.

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...al-schools.html

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I agree with what the Catholic church said (based on the OP's posting) - that it is exaggerated.

Why?

Look at the first line:

"On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a Royal Commission into how churches, government bodies and other organizations..."

Yet almost the entire rest of the post by the OP is about the Catholic church.

Gee...I wonder why? I guess it really is persecution.

That said, I hope the commission finds what they are looking for and punishes those that are guilty.

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I want to write a diatribe on this , but i will simply say that my brother was sexually abused by our parish priest , when we were kids .

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Yet almost the entire rest of the post by the OP is about the Catholic church.

Gee...I wonder why? I guess it really is persecution.

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I agree with what the Catholic church said (based on the OP's posting) - that it is exaggerated.

Why?

Look at the first line:

"On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a Royal Commission into how churches, government bodies and other organizations..."

Yet almost the entire rest of the post by the OP is about the Catholic church.

Gee...I wonder why? I guess it really is persecution.

That said, I hope the commission finds what they are looking for and punishes those that are guilty.

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Heretic you are so wrong .

My mother is a devout catholic , who goes to church several time a week and she like most catholics in australia thinks george pell is a POS .

Many parish priest are defying their "spiritual" leader and speaking out against pell , saying that this royal commission is long overdue.

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I agree with what the Catholic church said (based on the OP's posting) - that it is exaggerated.

Why?

Look at the first line:

"On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a Royal Commission into how churches, government bodies and other organizations..."

Yet almost the entire rest of the post by the OP is about the Catholic church.

Gee...I wonder why? I guess it really is persecution.

That said, I hope the commission finds what they are looking for and punishes those that are guilty.

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I agree with you completely - my post was in sarcasm about the way the OP shared this story...

The only part that wasn't sarcasm was " I hope the commission finds what they are looking for and punishes those that are guilty."

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WOW... a real surprise you would be adhering to the tattered playbook of the Catholic Church.

That myth of exaggeration has been long dead and buried... by facts.

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Yes because there's usually a good reason for molesting children on the other "side" and makes it all ok....

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Here's some links with relevant information about the commission:

http://theconversation.edu.au/royal-commission-into-child-abuse-must-have-powers-to-investigate-police-10706

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/336732

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/theres-a-danger-a-royal-commission-will-do-too-little-good-and-too-much-harm/story-e6freal3-1226516850440

The last one has a good quote:

"In fact, has not the sexual abuse of children here also occurred at the hands of Anglican priests, rabbis, state school teachers, welfare workers, stepfathers and the feral many?

True, the Catholic church has had many paedophiles in its ranks, and for years did shamefully little to stop them.

RMIT professor Des Cahill told Victoria's inquiry that 14 of 378 Corpus Christi priests graduating between 1940 and 1966 were convicted of child sexual abuse, and estimated that as many as one in 15 of that generation of priests were abusers.

But the church has for nearly two decades worked to remove this evil. That those 14 priests were convicted is one sign that child abusers were caught, and most of them belong to a generation aged around 70 or much older."

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WOW... a real surprise you would be adhering to the tattered playbook of the Catholic Church.

That myth of exaggeration has been long dead and buried... by facts.

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You were actually surprised?

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No it isn't. Which makes your response all the more sad.

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I agree with what the Catholic church said (based on the OP's posting) - that it is exaggerated.

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Come talk to me when you've gone through, sitting in a courtroom, 20 feet from the accuser, and listening to your daughter tell everyone there how he date raped her.

Then come back and tell me my response is sad.

Until then...

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catholics shouldn't be worried too much, its the scienologist that are shaking in there boots right now. Sceintology kids are expected to work 50-80 hours a week making only $50 dollars, its like a legal sweat shop hiding behind "religious" services. I think its a great thing

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That's very unfortunate and you have my sympathies...but I don't see what it has to do with the current thread or your defense of a corrupt religious organization and the pedophiles they shelter.

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catholics shouldn't be worried too much, its the scienologist that are shaking in there boots right now. Sceintology kids are expected to work 50-80 hours a week making only $50 dollars, its like a legal sweat shop hiding behind "religious" services. I think its a great thing

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