For far too long Australians have been happy to turn their backs on the untold suffering of thousands of victims of church-enabled sexual predators.
But ignoring the problem simply ensures it continues, and gives rapists the message that they have a right to destroy as many innocent lives as they can get their grubby hands on.
At what point do we decide that our children are important enough to have a right not to be raped?
And that victims have a right to recovery?
And that those who coverup and enable the rape of children, as well as those who rape children, must face the consequences of their criminal behaviour?
Because we have left these crimes unreported and covered up for decades, because churches have put their own reputations and assets before child safety and bullied victims into silence, there is an urgent need for strong action, informed by the findings of a Royal Commission into church crimes against children.
Abuse of power, exploitation of the vulnerable, conspiracy of silence, punishing victims and whistleblowers swiftly and viciously while forgiving and even enabling the real criminals have all become institutionalised while your backs were turned and your heads buried in the sand.
Nothing can stop these crimes except to rip away the cloak of secrecy which hides the dark heart of powerful religious institutions. Institutions which serve only to enrich and empower the greedy and to prey upon the powerless.
Melbourne’s Archbishop Hart is claiming to be happy to co-operate with Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry. Which means he is certain it will indeed do nothing more than scratch the surface.
Church officials do not willingly give up their dirty secrets about this most despicable crime. Ever.
This has been proven time and again in country after country.
Claims to co-operate with police. Lies.
Claims to protect children. Lies.
Claims to help victims. Lies.
Claims not to be hiding and moving around rapists. Lies.
Claims to have learned from the past and to have changed. Lies.
Claims to co-operate with judicial inquiries. Lies.
They even have a policy encouraging priests and bishops to lie to authorities. It is called mental reservation.
I can understand that Archbishop Hart desperately wants this inquiry not to get to the bottom of his church’s web of deceit and criminality.
Because in the US right now, the historic first trial of a senior church official for covering up and enabling child rape is setting a worrying precedent.
Worrying for every Australian Bishop and Provincial.
For far too long, widespread, serious crimes by arrogant and entitled religious rapists and those callous cowards who coverup for them have gone unnoticed, unpunished and unchecked.
The parliamentary committee tasked with investigating these crimes has a huge job before it, its workload is already full and indeed overburdened, and the ridiculously tight timeframe means it can do little more than regurgitate church PR spin, leaving no ability to hear the real truth from the only people able to tell it – the victims.
No wonder Denis Hart is smug in his lies, confident that victims like myself, whose personal experiences directly disprove his gloating claims to be doing the right thing, will never have a chance to be heard.
Australian children deserve nothing less than a Royal Commission.
Or must another generation of innocents be sacrificed on the altar of undeserved church privilege and sanctimonious lawlessness?