New 17 volume report condemns Australian Catholic Church
When it comes to the Catholic Church, accusations of child abuse at the hands of priests are as common as rain in the spring and finally, the country of Australia is doing something about it.
Its like the issue that nobody wants to talk about, one that people in the position to do something about would rather sweep under the rug and ignore, than actually confront and deal with in an appropriate manner.
Any time news comes to the forefront regarding a priest praying on a young child, the first thing that pops into my head is, oh not again! How many innocent children have to have their innocence taken away from them before appropriate action is taken to stop these men from destroying young children?
Report finds celibacy is key risk factor for child abuse
In a massave 17 volume report released by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse we learn first hand just how bad the situation is, and has been in the country of Australia.
For their report, a lot of work was carried out as investigators went the extra mile to make sure all their bases were covered.
More than 8,000 child abuse victoms were interviewed for the report, commissioners travelled to every state and territory, held 57 different public hearings and read more than 13,000 personal accounts
Their findings are quite honestly, staggering and leave no doubt when it comes to the sick and twisted activities that have been going on inside sacred institutions governed by priests across the country.
Making the situation even worse, if that is even possible is the fact that in many cases, men of the cloth were well aware what was going on but chose to do nothing about it.
“Our inquiry revealed numerous cases where leaders of religious institutions knew about allegations of child sexual abuse but failed to take effective action, often with catastrophic consequences for children,” the report said.
“Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions,” said the report. “We will never know the true number. Whatever the number, it is a national tragedy, perpetrated over generations within many of our most trusted institutions.”
“We have concluded that there were catastrophic failures of leadership of Catholic Church authorities over many decades,” the report said.
“The Final Report tells the story of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia, and provides recommendations to shape a safer future for children,” states Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed.
More than 185 separate recommendations have been made in the report, all of which aimed at protecting innocent children from the hands of priests.
The report suggests that along with other risk factors, the fact that the Catholic Church requires all priests to practice celibacy is a key contributor to why they tend to target young children and recommends that celibacy become voluntary, not manditory.
Another recommendation made in the report regards the conffessional and states that priests that become aware of child abuse through confessional must report it to the authorities or face prosecution themselves.
“We have now completed our work. It’s up to governments and institutions to take the next steps and implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” states Reed.
Archbishop Denis Hart would rather keep things as they are
Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference appears to be against many of the recommendations made in the report, even though they would protect children from men who are supposed to be there to help, not hurt.
He states that if recommendations from the report are implemented, it would change in a big way how the Catholic Church operates in Australia.
“This would have significant impact on the way the Catholic Church and others operate in Australia,” he says.
“I cannot break the seal. The penalty for any priest breaking the seal is excommunication; being passed out of the church,” Hart said. “I revere the law of the land and I trust it, but this is a sacred, spiritual charge before God which I must honour, and I have to try and do what I can do with both.”
Hart is also a fan of celibacy, stating that he believes that there are real values in the practice.
“I believe that there are real values in celibacy,” he says.
Despite not agreeing with recommendations made in the report, Hart does say that he is “sorry.”
“Central to this Royal Commission is the painful truth that so many children were abused, trust was destroyed and innocence lost,” the archbishop said. “They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters — this should never have happened. As a bishop I express my deepest sorrow.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a Catholic himself, urges all Australians to take the time to read the report.
“What that commission has done is exposed a national tragedy. It’s an outstanding exercise in love and I thank the commissioners and those who had the courage to tell their stories.”
As for the good old Vatican, they have not commented directly on the findings from the Australian report, but have previously stated that they have no such evidence to link child abuse at the hands of priests to celibacy.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca