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AUSTRALIAN CARDINAL ANGERS ABUSE VICTIMS


AUSTRALIAN CARDINAL ANGERS ABUSE VICTIMS

22 August 2014 | by Liz Dodd

From the Link: AUSTRALIAN CARDINAL ANGERS ABUSE VICTIMS

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

Abuse survivors have condemned Australian Cardinal George Pell for suggesting that the Church should not be held responsible for crimes committed by its priests.

Cardinal Pell, who was speaking to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Melbourne via a video link from Rome, suggested that the Church was no more responsible for priests’ crimes than any other organisation was for its employees.

“If the truck driver picks up some lady and then molests her, I don’t think it’s appropriate, because it is contrary to the policy, for the ownership, the leadership of that company to be held responsible. Similarly with the Church and the head of any other organisation. If every precaution has been taken, no warning has been given, it is, I think, not appropriate for legal culpability to be foisted on the authority figure,” he said yesterday.

The Royal Commission is investigating allegations of paedophilia in the Australian Church.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse president Cathy Kezelman called his comments “outrageous”, and said they denied the experience of vicitims, while Nicky Davis, from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told ABC radio in Australia that Cardinal Pell had made a “highly offensive” comparison.

“He shows that he really has absolutely no conception of what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour and what are appropriate or inappropriate things to say to survivors,” she said.

Child abuse royal commission: Archbishop Denis Hart admits he was aware of complaints against abusive priest


Child abuse royal commission: Archbishop Denis Hart admits he was aware of complaints against abusive priest

By Danny Morgan
December 1,2015
From the Link: Child abuse royal commission: Archbishop Denis Hart admits he was aware of complaints against abusive priest

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

The Archbishop of Melbourne has admitted he should have done more to remove a violent priest who was alleged to have sexually abused children.

In 1996 Denis Hart received a complaint that Father Peter Searson, a parish priest, had hit a boy in the head.

Archbishop Hart told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that at the time, he would have checked Searson’s file and been aware of a long list of other complaints, including child sexual abuse.

However, he let Searson remain as parish priest in charge of a local primary school for another four months, only restricting his contact with altar boys.

Archbishop Hart told the hearing that in hindsight, more should have been done at the time.

Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan: You would have realised from the file it wasn’t just that group that was in danger, it was everyone?

Archbishop Denis Hart: I’d have to say that now, your honour, yes.

Justice McClellan: You didn’t realise that then?

Archbishop Hart: Well, I was relying very much on proper advice because there were a number of matters coming across the desk and I think I did what I thought at the time. On reflection, of course I’d have to say more should have been done.

The commission has previously heard that the Melbourne Archdiocese lied about the reasons behind the resignation of some paedophile priests in order to protect its reputation and avoid scandal.

In 1993, a group of senior bishops including Archbishop Frank Little allowed Father Narazeno Fasciale to resign for health reasons, despite knowing the real reason was an admission he had molested children.

In 1996 the Church put out a statement denying it had ever covered-up paedophilia.

Counsel assisting Gail Furness: That’s just a lie in relation to Fasciale, isn’t it?

Archbishop Hart: Well, I think that the facts of what was done and weren’t done put the lie to that sentence.

Ms Furness: And this is 1996. That’s appalling Archbishop, isn’t it?

Archbishop Hart: I think it’s indicative of the mentality.

The commission confirmed Rome-based Cardinal George Pell will give evidence to the hearing on December 16.

It is expected he will be questioned for up to three days on his response to child sexual abuse in his time as Archbishop of Melbourne and earlier in his career in Ballarat.

 

Sex abuse royal commission: Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart defends role of celibacy in Catholic Church


Sex abuse royal commission: Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart defends role of celibacy in Catholic Church

Updated 26 Aug 2014, 10:02am

From the link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-26/royal-commission-catholic-archbishop-denis-hart-defends-celibacy/5697364

Pedophile Pimp, Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

 

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, has defended the place of celibacy in the church, even though he says it is a burden for some priests.

Archbishop Hart took the stand for a second day at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Melbourne on Tuesday, where he was questioned about the causes of abuse by the clergy.

He told the commission celibacy was fulfilling for many priests.

“I believe that celibacy, supported by prayer… is a wonderful vocation and a wonderful engagement with people,” Archbishop Hart said.

“Once it becomes limited, or once it becomes turned in upon itself, then there is a danger, but celibacy rightly lived and prepared for with proper formation, I do believe has a valid function.

“I’ve had sufficient experience with people who’ve found celibacy a burden and have asked the Pope to dispense them from priesthood.

“But on the other hand, I have a much wider experience of people living a celibate life as priests and finding it fulfilling.”

Archbishop Hart said people who trained in the church had high ideals.

“I’m a celibate, I’m not married, I need to have a link to God in prayer,” he said.

“I need to have a balance in my life of proper friendships with other people.”

He said a priest could develop “wrong attitudes” if any of those things fell aside.

“[If] keeping himself focused on who he is and what he does is being neglected, or relationships with people, there’s not a balanced relationship with a group of people and a person becomes isolated,” he said.

“So that they seek out situations which are plain wrong, and they minimise the consequences of that.”

Abuse victims received almost identical letters

The royal commission heard letters of apology signed by the Archbishop and sent to survivors of child sexual abuse were almost identical.

Archbishop Hart said the reason for the identical letters was that the compensation panel for the Melbourne Response was independent and constrained by confidentiality.

“That has the undesirable effect upon me when I write a letter of apology, that I can only refer to the suffering that they’ve undertaken for the burden, that it may be in fairly general terms,” he said.

“I do read all those letters and my apology is sincere.

“I always read them carefully, and for me it’s an important way of my saying how I am shocked by what has happened, how I share in their pain, but there are limitations about what I can do.”

Archbishop Hart said the church tried to change that in the past year.

“We’ve sought to try and get some minimal information, which wouldn’t be a violation of confidence, that might try and take away the pain that a person who’s suffered might feel if they feel they’re just being fobbed off,” he said.

“That was never my intention, and if that happened, I certainly would apologise for it.

“It was never indicated to me that this was unhelpful, had it been, I would certainly have acted sooner.”

 

Confession should be excluded from mandatory reporting: Church

The royal commission heard the church believes mandatory reporting of abuse should exclude the confessional.

“If that were to be swept away, and I don’t believe that it can be, the possibility of offenders confessing is completely gone. They just wouldn’t go,” Archbishop Hart said.

“In the present situation, it may be the last opportunity that an offender has to face the reality of his or her offences, to be led by the priest, either to give themselves up or to report and confront the enormity of their crimes.”

He said he saw it as an opportunity for a priest to try to persuade an abuser to report themselves to the police.

“I would see that as a valuable opportunity, because if the person in going to confession has at least shown that amount of good to admit that they’ve done wrong, well then, if the priest can lead them to the consequences of that, well that would be of benefit,” he said.

But Archbishop Hart told the royal commission he did not know if that was happening in reality, because of the secrecy of the confessional.

“I don’t know that it’s happened, I don’t know that it hasn’t happened either,” he said.

He told the inquiry he did not subscribe to the view held by some in the past that the abuse of a child was considered a moral failing, not a crime.

“People sometimes had a greater deal of sympathy for a church person than they should have, and they didn’t sufficiently identify the crime that that person had committed for what it was,” he said.

“I would have to admit that, with what we’ve been doing now shows there was too much of a tendency to minimise the seriousness of the matter, and I repudiate that totally,” he said.

“I would say that these crimes occurred to some degree, and that direct and serious enough action was not taken.”

“There was too much of a tendency to minimise the seriousness of the matter, and I repudiate that totally.”

Archbishop Denis Hart