…keep your eye on it.
From The Guardian:
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.
Perhaps some of my Australian readers can provide further background on this, and what’s transpired since the original publication of the article (from Nov 2012).
This development, of course, got at least this states-side Catholyc all excited:
Also surprisingly, in one fateful and unprecedented week last month, Catholic laity concerned about children in different parts of the world directly rejected clear Vatican signals by supporting the re-election of President Barack Obama in the USA, and the establishment of a special national child sexual abuse investigation commission by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Australia. And now the Philippine legislature has just approved a very popular law to make contraception affordably accessible there, despite strong Vatican opposition.
If you understand these considerations, you will realize reforms are not only possible, but almost inevitable as more external pressure builds on the Vatican. It seems clear to me as an experienced lawyer observing the Vatican’s continuing evasive behavior, often masked by religious rhetoric, that reforms to the flawed child protection strategy will happen mainly and probably soon as a result of subjecting the Vatican to the modern rule of law mandated by constitutional democracies, such as Australia, the USA and Ireland. You can make a difference in influencing how soon the reforms are made by supporting the application of the rule of U.S. law to the Vatican by clicking on and signing the petition to President Obama accessible at
Please avoid being distracted by the seemingly unending “mystical smokescreens” about papal “tweets”, papal saint-making, papal books, even about the papal butler and the other obvious papal rhetorical ploys that Pope Benedict XVI’s well funded Vatican media team, now headed by an ex-FOX News reporter, spins out on an almost daily basis. Disappointingly, some Vatican based media reporters apparently under deadlines and beholden at times to their onoing sources too often just rehash this typical trivia, instead of either pressing their sources on the really important questions or thinking through the real significance of the dissembling and corruption they see with their own eyes, as the butler has recently confirmed to the world at great personal risk. Apparently, it took a simple, but brave, butler just to get much of the international media to pay close attention, for awhile at least. Now the butler’s fate has been decided, while the corruption he sought to expose apparently goes on seemingly unabated and too often unchallenged by the world’s media.
PLEASE CLICK on to the above link and read and sign the short online petition. It calls on President Obama to promptly establish a U.S. national investigation commission comparable to Australia’s. All of the good reasons for establishing the commission in Australia apply here in the USA as well. There are no good reasons for President Obama not to set up the commission in the USA soon. He has repeatedly acknowledged the need to protect children from violence and abuse. You need to take this unique opportunity to encourage him to act decisively now by your signing this petition promptly; otherwise the petition may be disregarded for insufficient public interest.
And there was insufficient public interest, because the petition has long since been closed. Not sure how many people actually signed the thing, but that’s not the thing that matters.
What matters is that it’s been tried once, and if you know anything about liberals and Catholycs, they don’t let one or two setbacks stand in their way.
So make no mistake. Folks who want the Church brought down a few pegs in order to satisfy their petulant demands that the Church change Her teaching on many issues – such as abortion, contraception, women priests, divorce & remarriage, to name a few – will not hesitate to use the evil of child sex-abuse to advance their cause. Yes, the sexual abuse of children is indeed evil and heinous – I’m not arguing with anyone there. But to stand upon the backs of the victims to demand changes to Church teachings unrelated to the sins and crimes of some of its members is equally reprehensible.
So keep your eye on Australia – and don’t be surprised to see similar attempts resurrected here in the US.