Suffer the Children : Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church

Update : Pedophile priest had more victims: detective, The Age, August 5, 2011: “Best got convicted for earlier crimes last December and the church knew that,” he said. “Yet the Catholic Church spent millions of dollars on this bloke’s defence in his latest trials and did nothing for the victims.”

From the Department of What’s A Few Dozen Dead Students Between Friends?

27 Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption.

28 In just the same way, from the outside you look upright, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

In 2010, in an attempt to counter criticism of Pope Benedict’s response to Church abuse scandals in Ireland, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, stated (April 18, 2010) that:

…the record shows that Pope Benedict has acted decisively and determinedly to care for victims and eradicate sexual abuse from the Church… In his recent letter to Irish Catholics he called the abusers to account along with the bishops who failed to remove them and emphasised the importance of close cooperation with the police.

(See : The evil of sexual abuse has no place in the Catholic Church, March 29, 2010.)

“Unfortunately”, this account is untruthful. In fact, the Church has instructed clergy not to collaborate with state investigations. The recently-completed Cloyne Report into Church and state handling of complaints of sexual abuse in the Co Cork diocese “revealed that, in 1997, the Vatican encouraged bishops to reject the Irish church’s tough new child-protection rules”. Inter alia, the Report concludes that “[b]etween 1996 and 2005, the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which ‘very clearly should have been reported’”. In summary: “…the document is damaging in its revelation that cover-ups were continuing until a few years ago. It gives the lie to the protestation that the scandal concerns mostly historic abuse, before awareness was raised in Ireland.” (See also : Ireland censures Vatican on silence, The Australian, July 16, 2011.)

Currently, there are calls for a government inquiry into the damaging legacy of sexual abuse committed by staff at St Alipius parish primary school for boys in Ballarat East. Along with Christian Brother Charles Best (see below), other pedophile Brothers who taught at the skool were Brother Edward Dowlan, Brother Stephen Farrell and Brother Fitzgerald. The school chaplain was fellow pedophile Father Gerald Ridsdale. Up to 30 (or perhaps more) former students have committed suicide since being abused (Sex abuse led to 26 suicides says policeman, Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, The Age, July 30, 2011).

Church authorities have rejected calls for an inquiry (Church sex abuse inquiry ‘not needed’, Kellee Nolan (AAP), The Age, August 2, 2011).

In May 1993, Pell himself accompanied Ridsdale when he was summonsed to the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with 30 incidents of indecent assault, involving nine boys aged between 12 and 16, occurring between 1974 and 1980. Ridsdale pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months jail (with parole after three months). Ridsdale was found guilty of further child sex abuse charges in 1994 and 2006, and is currently in jail (although eligible for parole in 2013).

As for Christian Brother Charles Best–due to be sentenced on August 8–’Broken Rites’ writes:

The Catholic order of Christian Brothers harboured Brother Robert Charles Best for many years while he was openly committing sexual crimes against young boys in his schools, an Australian court has been told. It was generally known among his pupils that Brother Best was committing these crimes but the Christian Brothers kept him in the order, along with certain other sexually-abusive Brothers. In one of Brother Best’s schools, in which there were three teaching Brothers, all three (plus a priest who was the school chaplain) were committing sex crimes against children.

When some victims eventually consulted the police (many years after leaving school), the Christian Brothers spent mega-dollars defending Brother Best (and fighting the victims) during 15 years of criminal court proceedings lasting from 1996 to 2011.

Despite their Best efforts, at the end of May the sadistic predator was found or pleaded guilty to 27 sexual assaults against 11 boys. In April, the Christian Brothers in North America filed for bankruptcy, a product of multiple sex-abuse claims and the need to protect the most important thing in the world: private wealth and social status.

You think you’re God’s gift
You’re a liar
I wouldn’t piss on you
If you were on fire

See also : Everybody Knows (February 5, 2009) | Suffer the Children (December 6, 2008) | Ratso is funny… Pell… less so (July 8, 2008) | Alas for you George! | egg benedict dot org (July 9, 2008) | Ecce Homo (July 17, 2008).

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2014 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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