PAUL KENNEDY, REPORTER: The hundreds who came to Emma Foster’s funeral last January were marking a life that had been blighted by a shocking crime.
She was repeatedly raped by a senior Catholic priest while she was just a primary school student. At 26, Emma Foster had committed suicide. She was just one of many victims of Melbourne priest Father Kevin O’Donnell.
ANTHONY FOSTER, FATHER OF ABUSE VICTIM: Emma was abused by the parish priest while she was at school, she was taken out of class, taken to a hall close to the school, where he raped her and this was early primary school between the ages of five to eight.
LETTER TO MR AND MRS FOSTER FROM THE LAWYERS FOR THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE, 31 AUGUST, 1999: “A realistic alternative to litigation that will otherwise be strenuously defended.”
LETTER TO MR AND MRS FOSTER FROM THE LAWYERS FOR THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE, 7 MAY, 2004: “They do not admit that Emma Foster and/or Katherine Foster were subjected to physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse while infants by Kevin O’Donnell.”
BISHOP ANTHONY FISHER, CO-ORDINATOR OF WORLD YOUTH DAY, 16 JULY, 2008: “Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying [and] delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people and the hope for us doing these sorts of things better in the future, as we saw last night, rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds.”
…with, of course, one very obvious, 2000-year-old exception. Mind you, the addition of a suitable soundtrack can perform miracles:
*On a bizarro note, Gerard Henderson flogs the few thousand sneering secularists who read the Green Left Weekly and New Left Review with a wet lettuce leaf, condemning them for their hypocrisy in failing to maintain as many schools and hospitals as the Catholic Church (or, alternatively, covering up as many cases of sexual abuse): The sorry sport of Pope bashing, Gerard Henderson, Sydney Morning Herald, July 15, 2008.