Voiceless Victim

A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse speaks out for those who can't speak for themselves

Category Archives: Arrest Bishops to save children

Who is Looking After the Children? Certainly Not the Catholic Church.

Crack paedophile protection team on the job

Crack paedophile protection team on the job

When a normal human being looks at a child they see a fellow human being. A human being who is tiny, innocent, vulnerable, loveable and full of potential. One who deserves our utmost efforts to protect them from harm.

When a narcissist looks at a child they see an object who is easier than most to manipulate into giving them whatever they want. The child is nothing to them but a tool to use to obtain their desired objective.

When a sociopath looks at a child they see an easy mark, one they can dominate much easier than most adults, and one they can train to bend to their will. The child is nothing to them but a target they can derive pleasure or power from, through subjugating and harming the child.

Those who rape children are usually narcissists, sociopaths, or both.

They look at a child and see an object for sexual release, or someone they can enjoy harming through forcing them to submit to abhorrent sexual acts against their will.

Those who sexually abuse children do so because:

  1. They believe they are entitled to sexually prey upon the vulnerable, and that any child who cannot defend themselves or is not protected by the adults around them is fair game
  2. They believe they can get away with it

Religious institutions both produce and attract so many child rapists because of the existence of four crucial conditions conducive to the sexual exploitation of children. These are highly exaggerated entitlement, imbalance of power, sexual dysfunction and lack of accountability.

The catholic church in particular has a problem with its priests raping children in large numbers, in every country where it has a presence. Though catholic officials, dissociated from both reality and humanity, see the problem as one of the victims selfishly and unfairly reporting the crimes committed against them.

Catholic religious, and priests in particular, are trained to believe they are special, above lay persons or normal human beings, and are entitled to special treatment. Many readily accept the proposition that they are more holy, purely by virtue of their position, and therefore far more deserving than ordinary mortals.

As their entitlement grows, so the relative entitlement of lay persons is diminished, particularly low status lay persons such as women, children, the disadvantaged and the disabled.

In dysfunctional individuals this robs any such people they come across of even the core right to refuse an entitled cleric sexual access to their bodies.

This distorted entitlement is dangerous enough by itself. When matched with the ultimate unquestionable, godlike authority demanded for catholic priests by the catholic hierarchy, it becomes doubly dangerous.

But even a highly entitled individual in a position of overwhelming power over children does not automatically desire to rape them. Normal, healthy human sexual development generally results in adults looking for consensual sexual relations with other adults. But no catholic priest is offered the opportunity for normal healthy human sexual development, unless they come to the priesthood as an already normal adult.

Most of the rapist priests causing recent or current problems were not given a choice in the decision to become a priest, whether by compulsion or extraordinary family pressure. Many were locked away in a dysfunctional, often abusive seminary system, some as as young as 11 or 12, well before they were capable of making a lifetime decision about the priesthood and its requirement for celibacy. Most were deliberately denied the support of their families throughout their formative years to ensure their dependence on the church alone.

They were shut away from female company, and as the Royal Commission hearings revealed in December, the entire teachings on sexuality amounted in many cases to “Don’t”.

Many were brutalised, bullied, manipulated and abused, including sexually. Some seminaries operated in such a way that new recruits were simply pounced upon by sexual predators the minute the door shut behind them.

Is it any wonder then that research reveals the majority of priests are psychosexually immature, and a large proportion are sexually dysfunctional?

But even this does not make them child rapists.

Even if these entitled, powerful, sexually dysfunctional individuals existed in an otherwise just or humane environment, child rape would not flourish to reach the epidemic proportions seen in the catholic church.

Unfortunately the catholic church supports and protects the rapists and punishes and undermines their victims. This happens on such a scale that the rapists know without a doubt that the church will ensure they not only get away with their crimes, but are also helped to continue them.

In fact many come to believe they are not just entitled to rape whomever they please, but also entitled to escape responsibility for their crimes.

The catholic church, like the rapists themselves, views children with the eyes of a narcissist.

Children are not considered precious or valuable by the catholic church. They are not vulnerable or deserving of protection. To the callous hierarchs they are either unimportant, beneath notice, sexual prey or collateral damage.

Of course church officials know they need to make occasional deceptive statements about loving and valuing children, if they are not to lose most of their flock. But if children were truly valued in any way, the way human beings value children, the church would surely have acted to protect these innocents from the very real and very well known and understood danger of being raped by entitled clerics.

Much more precious to the narcissist church is la bella figura or pleasing façade. This façade is crucial to the hierarchy’s continued ability to operate profitable tax free commercial enterprises, receive generous government funding, and dictate government policy around the world.

For centuries the catholic hierarchy have been able to behave like criminals and be honoured as saints. This is achieved by maintaining a fanatical obsession with supporting the lie that the church does good works and all priests and religious are holy.

Properly protecting children from rape by priests necessarily involves admitting that priests rape children. Admitting that priests rape children is a far worse outcome in the opinion of the catholic hierarchy than even hundreds of thousands of children being raped.

But why?

Because the catholic system of brainwashing from childhood, controlling throughout their lifetime, and profiting from the billions of lay catholics could not continue without the widely held belief in the holiness and superiority of the poorly paid, often severely dysfunctional priests who shore up the hierarchy’s lives of power and luxury.

This fantasy of specialness, otherworldliness, sacrifice and nobility is supported by the fallacy of clerical celibacy.

Universal mandatory celibacy is unique to the catholic church. It plays an important role in the incidence of child rape in this institution, though it is not a “cause” of child rape.

The cause of child rape is the belief that it is acceptable to rape children, a positive assessment of the relative risk of such behavior, and the decision to act accordingly.

Celibacy in the catholic church is not widely observed. Experts estimate as many as 50% of clerics are not celibate at any time. The number who have never broken their vow of celibacy must indeed be small.

Whether or not a priest is celibate is, frankly, a private matter. But the catholic church has chosen to deceitfully promote their clerics as non sexual, and therefore not just holy but unquestionably safe around children.

Because of this public appearance of celibacy, any sexual liaison by a priest is, at least within the catholic church, illicit, and must remain hidden from general view.

A secret homosexual affair is normal and hardly frowned upon, especially if kept in house, for example with another priest.

Preying upon barely adult vulnerable girls who can be manipulated to blame themselves for the liaison, and can be controlled and exploited for sex without scandal, often for decades, is also common. It is also rape, by the way.

Child rape is common amongst the more disturbed and sexually predatory because children are unlikely to speak out for decades, and even if they do, are unlikely to be believed. Children, because of their size and development, can be easier to dominate and control than fully grown adults, who may be able to resist physically or have an adult understanding of their rights. Children are also easier to frighten into silence and to convince to blame themselves for the priests’ crimes.

Not only are the child rapists more dysfunctional than those raping adults of either sex, they also tend to be more prolific. Adult-oriented predators may be satisfied with a single sexual partner for decades and may amass at most a handful of victims over a lifetime of abuse.

Child rapists by comparison tend much more to have multiple concurrent victims, such as my abuser. The worst cases can get their hands on thousands of primary victims, and destroy many entire communities. Some child rapists are not obsessed with a particular type of victim but rather the power over another. These predators will rape boys, girls and occasionally adults of either sex as well, depending upon opportunity.

Imagine the number of opportunities for being caught, either in the act or at least acting inappropriately, such as having a child overnight in their bedroom, that prolific predators present. How many lay catholics or other religious see things that should result in action to save a child from such a terrible fate, but do nothing?

How many bishops receive reports of such activities or complaints from victims or their families and do absolutely nothing?

The sexual predators see this, and they learn very quickly, that in the catholic church, almost no-one puts the safety of an unimportant child, or even thousands of children, above the reputation of a priest and the church itself. Certainly no-one in a position of power. Anyone in a position of power who tried to protect children rather than the church would not be in power for long.

And so child rape is considered by many priests a soft and relatively low risk option for their illicit sex. The church hierarchy’s lack of an effective response to these crimes solidifies the view that is it acceptable to rape children as long as scandal is avoided.

Interestingly, it is not the rape of thousands of innocent children that will bring to life the catholic church’s considerable ability to control and punish its priests, but something few outside the church would see as harmful.

Normal consensual relations with an adult woman is perhaps the most illicit sex of all for catholic priests. The most frowned upon by the catholic hierarchy.

Marry a woman you love and who loves you, and you will be thrown out of the church immediately in disgrace.

Rape thousands of children, ruin countless lives, including family members of the victims, and cause scores of suicide deaths, and you’ll probably be promoted and honoured as especially holy in life and in death.

You will certainly be forgiven, offered every possible assistance, and protected from publicity and law enforcement throughout your life.

This misuse of the concept of forgiveness by the catholic church is also crucial in exposing more children to rape by priests.

The catholic church, because of the strong desire to coverup these crimes to maintain la bella figura, defines them as mistakes, missteps, slips and unfortunate occurrences.

It readily forgives the rapist and tries to rob the victims of their right to decide whether to forgive, or even to complain. It bullies the families of victims to stay silent, pressuring them that it is unchristian to deny forgiveness, regardless of the fact the criminal has neither admitted his past offences or even stopped offending.

In recent years many documents have come to light revealing a long history of predilection for this appalling crime, detailed knowledge of its seriousness, and edicts outlawing it and recommending the most stringent possible punishments. Such efforts have either been temporary, ineffective or insincere as the problem has continued throughout church history.

Today’s church has turned its back on such attempts and chosen to allow, even positively enable, the rape of children.

More recent documents show an obsession with enforcing secrecy about these crimes, a declaration that something as inoffensive, some would say positive, as the ordination of women should be considered a crime of equal seriousness with child rape, plus official instructions to bishops not to co-operate with local law enforcement in these matters, and to punish victims for speaking out far more stringently than the offender is punished for raping children.

Faced finally with some of the truth of these crimes reaching the public, and no longer able to get away with the traditional approach of point blank denial, the church hierarchy now engage in a PR war to further harm victims and ensure child protection remains inadequate or non existent.

These particularly callous efforts meld insincere apologies, avoidance of responsibility, deflection of blame, focus on the church and its officials as victims not perpetrators, with vague promises that never result in any meaningful change, action or increase in child protection.

When under particular media pressure, church hierarchs will announce the formation of a review body, committee, council, or resource group, or commission research or issue guidelines.

Experience has shown these efforts are cynical, meaningless and possibly dangerous. Mendacious claims include: “we know much better now”; “things have changed”; “we are doing everything possible now”; “the church is the safest place for children”;  “we followed the advice of lawyers/psychologists”; or “we were no worse than society in general”.

Independent inquiries such as in Ireland and Philadelphia have revealed in detail that such claims are baseless, and not just the law but even their own woefully inadequate guidelines are today still not followed.

Many independent experts have resigned in disgust over bishops’ efforts to exert dictatorial control over and effectively hobble the operation of supposedly independent review bodies or research organisations, including members of the National and local Review Boards set up by the US Bishops’ Conference, and the German equivalent of the widely criticized John Jay Study.

German Bishops commissioned “independent research” yet expected to be able to manipulate the research and rewrite the report so that the results reflected their propaganda objectives, rather than the outcome of data analysis. The researchers resigned the commission last year, after first ensuring all other German researchers were aware of the deceitful tactics of the bishops and would not be similarly misled.

German Bishops pumped out industrial quantities of misinformation, refused to accept responsibility for their own actions, and falsely blamed others: the usual strategy when in danger of being seen for what they truly are.

The hierarchy of the catholic church demands respect for religious practices, tax breaks and unquestioned authority and trust when it suits them. But they also claim diplomatic immunity and other benefits as a nation state, even in instances when they are functioning as the headquarters of the criminal catholic church.

The Vatican is rapidly filling with fugitives from local law enforcement eager to benefit from claimed diplomatic immunity or the lack of extradition treaties with the country or countries where their crimes were committed. Many of these fugitives are under investigation for or already proven guilty of child rape or enabling and covering up child rape.

Yet the Vatican arrogantly informs the UN that as there are few children within its tiny borders (apart of course from child prostitutes temporarily shipped in to service the various lusts of these self declared celibates), therefore there are few child protection issues for the Vatican to address.

Thankfully, at the review of the Holy See’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 16 January in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, whose purpose is to stand up for children’s rights everywhere, gave zero credence to Vatican attempts to yet again avoid responsibility for its steadfast refusal to protect the countless children deliberately and knowingly exposed to its rapists throughout the world.

The fact that this is a consistent worldwide problem is a result of the consistent worldwide practice of this church, as dictated from the Vatican.

As first world countries become more aware of the problem, instead of shuffling child rapists between parishes or states, the trend is now more frequently to shuffle the criminals between countries, and especially to developing nations, where victims are less likely to be heard or believed.

In every possible way, the culture, structure and operation of the catholic church supports and enables the widespread and systemic rape of children.

Based on which actions by priests and bishops they support and promote, and which they punish and discourage, the conclusion is inevitable that the catholic church hierarchy, based in Vatican city or as they prefer to be known when pretending to be a nation state member of the UN, The Holy See, have no desire or intention to put child protection first. They did not in the past, they do not now and there is no sign of any genuine intention to do so in the future.

Thankfully the UN have put the Vatican on notice that they must make real changes, not just perform another PR display of the appearance of change.

Or risk losing the protection of la bella figura.

Without la bella figura, the whole extremely profitable edifice will come crashing down.

Perhaps the Church of Child Rape and the Paedophile Protector-in-Chief will finally take this issue seriously.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

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A Tale of Three Inquiries – Part 2 The National Royal Commission

Many hopes are pinned on the National Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to fill the massive gaps left by the narrow terms of reference of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry, and the inadequate time and powers of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry.

This is the comprehensive national inquiry which will scoop up the evidence from the smaller inquiries, and we hope, consolidate and then finish the job.  We hope the Royal Commission will do the job thoroughly.  We hope the Royal Commission will create an effective national framework to hold those guilty of child sex crimes accountable, and deliver recommendations, which it will be up to State and National Governments to implement, to properly protect all of Australia’s children.

There are many who hope to prevent the truth coming out. Many reputations will be justifiably shredded. Many, particularly religious officials, and not just from the catholic church, should be in jail. They have a lot to lose and they will stop at nothing to thwart the efforts of this Royal Commission, despite fallacious statements of an intention to co-operate. It is up to all of us who have had direct experience relevant to this Commission, not just survivors, and are able to speak to the Commission either privately or publicly, to ensure it does not fail for lack of evidence. Both for our own sakes so we are no longer comprehensively and deliberately denied justice and healing, and also for those equally innocent children who come after us, who also do not deserve to suffer as we did and do.

I personally hope the Royal Commission will not stop till it gets to the true reasons why so many adults protect predators and sacrifice children. Why so many undermine our laws, our justice system, and the truth in order to defend the reputations of dangerous criminals, while sentencing thousands of their innocent victims to life, or death, sentences.

We cannot just dismiss this issue as the dark side of human nature, cannot ascribe all blame to the evil monsters who deliberately inflict such horrific crimes on the most vulnerable in society. The buck doesn’t even stop with the equally evil monsters who knowingly enable these crimes, knowingly thwart our laws and knowingly endanger large numbers of children.

These crimes, and so much suffering, could have been prevented if those who turned away and let it happen, who did not speak up, who did not challenge the bullies, who did not put the protection of children before what is expedient for their careers and their social standing, had instead reached inside and found their courage, and had defended the truth, instead of going along with what they knew or suspected were lies.

Organisations which put their own interests before the human rights of those whose lives they impact, and those responsible for implementing, scrutinising or policing their policies and processes, are also very much to blame for so much of the suffering we will hear about over the next few years.

I sincerely hope the Royal Commission finally understands that institutions where children are in the power of adults will inevitably attract those seeking to exploit that power. That we cannot trust anyone to be in unquestioned and unscrutinised authority over children or other vulnerable populations. We must not give anyone the “benefit of the doubt”. We must not enforce the “rights” of powerful adults while denying even the most basic human rights to defenceless children.

I hope the Commissioners will understand how corruption, criminality, undue influence, threats, mismanagement, self interest, political and departmental incompetence, inexperience, laziness and cowardice all betray children, even under well intentioned systems.  And at the other end of the spectrum, I hope they gain insight into how badly children fare under an overtly abusive system, such as those seen in many religious residential institutions, with up to 2,000 years experience of rewarding criminality, abuse of power and corruption, and treating the safety of children as unworthy even of consideration.

This week the Royal Commission began its first public hearing in front of all six Commissioners in its specially built hearing room in one of the most expensive office buildings in the Sydney CBD (or Australia for that matter).

The Commissioners would no doubt argue that their tough job extracting the truth from some very hardened and slippery criminals requires the overt appearance of power and authority. And for many religious criminals money certainly equals power.

However I am sure that most survivors would far prefer the millions spent on this location to have instead been channelled into appropriate and effective (not politically directed) ongoing support for survivors.

This first week is one of a number of case studies, looking at a specific case and touching on a number of organisations and issues. In the crosshairs this week was convicted sex offender Steve Larkins, and his time at Scouts Australia and Hunter Aboriginal Childrens’ Services.

The coverage of those organisations and issues was not comprehensive, and has already opened many new avenues of inquiry, and identified much additional evidence required by the Royal Commission. I hope the Commissioners were as horrified as I was to learn that Larkins had also been given unrestricted access to extremely vulnerable children at the notorious Kendall Grange, run by the paedophile Catholic order St John of God.

Before anyone complains that I cannot describe St John of God as a paedophile order, it is worth remembering a psychologist who worked with the order’s hundreds of child abuse victims  for many years concluded 75% of the order were the subject of child sex abuse allegations. What else do you call such a group? And why have the police and indeed the Royal Commission not made St John of God a number 1 priority for investigation? What sort of society do we live in when such a statistic can be made public knowledge, and no-one in a position of authority is disgusted that this paedophile order is still receiving generous tax breaks, still demands religious reverence and unquestioned authority, and is still making profits from the provision mental health and other services, and yet nothing is done about their many, many crimes, about their not being fit persons to hold the positions they do, and the danger they represent?

In addition to the standard collection of detailed evidence, it was a delight to see Counsel Assisting, Gayle Furness, and Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan ask deadpan and fairly obvious questions of those whose actions or lack of action created the perfect conditions where a dangerous child sex predator could continue to offend and which exposed an unknown number of innocent children to a lifetime of undeserved suffering.

Because so much of the reason why this problem has grown to the extent of a culture of child rape in Australia, is the habit of responsible adults to ignore, dismiss or turn their backs on this issue. To not take these crimes seriously, to not treat them with an appropriate sense of urgency, to not ensure they are addressed and do not fall through the cracks, to not properly investigate any suspicions, to rely on assumptions rather than evidence, and to not care about how damaging these crimes are and how much danger these offenders represent to children.

This week’s evidence showed that in the Hunter/Newcastle/Port Stephens region no-one questioned whether their actions or attitudes were appropriate or adequate responses to these crimes. Most just went along with the general neglect and general cover-up.

This week’s evidence revealed many didn’t act themselves because they relied on the erroneous assumption that the fatally flawed court and child protection systems were actually doing the job they were supposed to do.

This week’s evidence also revealed the tragically common occurrence where the police, courts and child protection did not function as they should. Where they protected offenders, not their victims.

Adults who were in a position to take action that may have protected children in danger, or who could have stopped Larkins from being given continued access to children, decided it was not necessary, often because of the involvement of the police or because a matter had gone to court, or because a background check should have been done. The frequent assumption that if there was something to be concerned about, appropriate action would have been taken, was shown by this week’s evidence to have been a big factor in continuing to expose children to danger.

Statistics from Victoria, analysed by Judy Courtin, lawyer, researcher and PhD candidate, show just how wrong this assumption is in relation to the police and courts. The end result of the combined efforts of Victorian police and courts is that less than 1% of child sex assaults ever result in a conviction. Even less ever result in the only truly effective child protection measure, removing the offender from access to children via incarceration.

From now on, because of this historic Royal Commission, these assumptions will be challenged and the hard, normally unspoken questions will be asked.

It was very emotional to be one of the only survivors in a room full of corporate, government and police witnesses and lawyers, hearing Gayle Furness ask the very questions we have wanted asked all these years, and watch her wait patiently for an acceptable answer.  An answer that never comes.

It brought slow, sad tears to my eyes to hear how every single witness, even to some extent the brave whistleblower, who in the end left the matter in the untrustworthy hands of his superiors and the police, let down all the vulnerable children to whom the predator Larkins had access. How much suffering around the country has been experienced by all the kids similarly betrayed, over the last 100 years in Australia?

Larkins is not the only predator attracted to Scouts Australia, though he was the focus this week. There are some very smelly old skeletons in the Scouting closets, but a policy from 2000 was presented to the Commission which looked to be an attempt to do the right thing. Such an approach is of course eminently sensible for any well managed modern organisation which does not believe it has a god given right to commit as many crimes as it likes without facing any legal or civil consequences or outside scrutiny.

The Scouts child abuse policy published in 2000 is based on three very simple yet effective points.

1. Immediate suspension for anyone about whom there is a child abuse allegation

2. Provision of counselling for all victims and other affected persons (no limits on counselling, and choice of own counsellor)

3. Report to relevant outside body, either police or child protection authorities or preferably both

Clear. Simple. Measurable. Action.

Not complicated. Not difficult. Not impossible. Not hard to identify the best thing to do.

The Royal Commission’s deliberations will determine whether this is a policy on paper only, a façade to reassure stakeholders and supporters, and whether it was or is in fact implemented.

But even if it is just another smokescreen, it is worth comparing these excellent points to the disgraceful Towards Healing and Melbourne Response operated by the Catholic Church in Australia. Or rather by the Catholic Church’s insurers.

Amazingly, despite arrogantly claiming to set world best practice in dealing with child sexual abuse, and deceitfully crowing that their churches are the safest place for children, the Catholic Church chooses not to attempt to do any of the above three simple and effective actions, but instead the complete opposite.

Church leaders don’t even pretend to undertake these three crucial steps. Because their compliance, or rather lack of compliance, with such clear requirements could be easily measured.

And if compliance can be easily measured, someone might expect church officials to actually do what they claim to do, and not just use such claims to sweep aside questions or criticisms.

And no senior church official has demonstrated any intention of doing anything like the three actions in the Scouts policy.

Because that would protect children rather than child sex predators.

Because that would help victims to recover and to be able to speak out about their abuse.

And because that would take these matters out of the hands of church officials, and knowledge about the nature and scale of the widespread criminality inside the catholic church could become public knowledge.

The Royal Commission could take this excellent starting point further in their recommendations. Organisations where abuse has occurred should be required to immediately and without question report any and all knowledge of such incidents. With stringent penalties, including jail time, for non compliance, slow compliance, or warning predators.

A national statutory authority could receive such reports, collect and hold information, with reference to the privacy of victims, and pass matters onto police, child protection or other bodies as appropriate. The statutory body would ensure victims receive counselling and any other support services, paid for by the abusive organisation but never supplied by anyone associated with the organisation. This body would also decide whether immediate employment suspension was warranted, and ensure an investigation takes place. After an appropriate investigation the offender would be charged by police, have a working with children notification, be restricted from access to children, or have their employment reinstated and their reputation cleared.

A single, national statutory body dealing with all reports would easily be able to provide accurate statistics to governments and researchers to measure the success of child protection measures, to inform future policy and legislation, and to track the lifetime offending record of predators attempting to move from state to state or organisation to organisation to avoid detection.

Naturally such an authority would need to be subject to regular independent audits.

It is not that hard to work out how to protect children instead of child sex offenders. The hard part is proving to Australia’s politicians that there really is no viable option but to put the safety of children first.

That is why the evidence submitted to the Royal Commission is so important.

Because even just the first week of evidence before the Royal Commission has shown clearly that children exposed to child sexual offenders in Australia do not just fall through the cracks. The whole system is one huge gaping chasm, with almost nothing to hold onto, and nothing to catch or support us before or after we fall into their clutches.

It is not a well intentioned system that is somehow failing to do its job. The system has been taken over by the predators themselves, such as Steve Larkins running Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services, doing a Working With Children check on himself, and keeping his staff and even his Board in the dark and too intimidated to ask questions. The system is being steered by those, such as the church officials who developed Towards Healing, who have a vested interest in coverup, denial of healing and obstructing justice. The system is helped by those, who are themselves child sex predators, or who have been bribed, threatened or corrupted by cunning predators, and have worked themselves into strategic positions in the police force, the courts, the education system, mental health, charities and child protection. And from these positions they ensure reports go nowhere, nothing is followed up, evidence is lost or misplaced, procedures are not followed, policies are watered down, and their colleagues are encouraged not to take any breaches seriously.

The current system is actually working perfectly. Because the system is designed to fail children and to sacrifice child safety.

We do not need the Royal Commission to tinker around the edges of this most dysfunctional system.

We need a new system. One the predators and those who enable and coverup for them cannot subvert, cannot divert, and cannot use to harm rather than help Australia’s children.

Stay safe everyone.

V V

The next public hearing of the Royal Commission, into the YMCA and their response to the predator Jonathan Lord, is scheduled for 10.00 am Mon 21 Oct at Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney

A Tale of Three Australian Inquiries – Part 1: The NSW “Special” Commission of Inquiry

Hartigan can't recallmalone can't recalllucas can't recalllonergan hasn't asked a question

Everyone supporting survivors in Australia seems to have been suffering from constant exhaustion for the last few months, trying to keep up with three different inquiries and numerous media issues.

They do say to be careful what you wish for. Every time we are tempted not to bother dragging ourselves out to attend hearings, provide input, support survivors or front the media, all we have to do is remember how hard it was to bring this issue to public and media attention, and how important it is we not waste these once in a lifetime opportunities to reveal the truth and achieve lasting law reform.

There will be time to rest, time to cry, time to spend time on recovery, and time to blog regularly once the hard work is done.

For those not able to attend the many inquiries currently under way, let me give you a brief taste of their work. These are personal opinions based on what I have seen personally, which may or may not represent the full picture.

Inquiry No 1 – The NSW “Special” Commission of Inquiry

Following the stunning accusations made late last year by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, no one actually wanted or asked for a narrow political inquiry designed to protect the reputation of the NSW Government and senior police.

Yet such a beast was imposed on us by Premier Barry O’Farrell within days of Peter Fox’s open letter to the Premier and his subsequent television interviews.

When it was followed just days later by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s historic announcement of a national Royal Commission, Barry O’Farrell was presented with an ideal opportunity to fold his “Special” Commission into the real thing, the Royal Commission.

Unusually, a state Premier didn’t avail himself of an opportunity to let the Federal Government pick up the tab, and proceeded with this expensive exercise in punishing a courageous whistleblower.

It is hard to tell whether Commissioner Margaret Cuneen SC has been ordered to deliver something other than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or whether she has simply been given a poisoned chalice by the Catholic Premier and Attorney General.

Certainly the misogyny of the male dominated legal profession towards female lawyers in general, and this crown prosecutor in particular is no secret. Smug male lawyers and politicians are most likely snickering over Margaret’s predicament right now.

In public hearings Ms Cuneen’s role has been more of a referee than a driving force, though behind the scenes this may be different.

But there was a hand directing what evidence was examined and what questions were asked, and that hand steered the heavy machinery of the “Special” Commission, at least in the first term of reference, firmly in the direction of mowing down Peter Fox and avoiding everyone else.

The question is, whose hand?

Who instructed Ms Lonergan to examine in microscopic detail any evidence which could be used to discredit Peter Fox? Who told her to spend days making accusation after accusation of vague wrongdoing, whether or not supported by the facts or Peter’s answers to her questions? Who told her to do such a good job of taking over the role of the defence barristers and undermining Peter and his evidence in every possible way.

I was in court when she finally finished questioning Peter for the first time and said to myself, “surely the defence barristers will have nothing to do now that she has already done their job for them?”.

I was wrong.

The wolves actually scuffled to see who could take first nip at Peter’s flesh. The vicious animals were unleashed to maul the man standing bound hand and foot before them.

Ms Lonergan had at least couched her endless litany of repeated insinuations and accusations in a professional and respectful manner.

The legal thugs paid by NSW police and church officials to land as many body blows as possible had no such compunction. Their manner was so aggressive, so offensive and so abusive that Ms Cuneen intervened, more than once.

The worst offender? Counsel for the victim hating General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference. This barrister was eventually dismissed when it was realised his attacks had zero relevance to his client and were nothing but courtroom antics and particularly ugly intimidation.

No doubt the defence counsel were eager to show their clients some result for their exhorbitant daily fees. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, when such disgraceful behaviour is allowed in a court supposed to be delivering justice.

Just because it is accepted practice doesn’t make it right. And it is so far from appropriate behaviour towards victims, that I sat in the public gallery in horror at the prospect that victims may be subjected to this blood sport.

Thankfully the “Special” Commission protected other witnesses, including victims, from this legal bullying.

But not Peter. For despite his heroic strength, his smiles and quips, his refusal to be beaten down, and his stoic endurance under terrible pressure, there was an horrific price to pay for the crime of speaking out for abused children, and against the criminal coverup of the crimes against us.

Peter and his family have paid that price every day since his letter to the Premier. But the price was particularly heavy in the Newcastle Supreme Court under Premier Barry O’Farrell’s “Special” Commission of Inquiry.

The “Special” Inquiry’s second term of reference focussed on the role of church officials, and hearings into this issue were held separately, after a short break. I’m so glad that, when drafting the terms of reference, someone remembered that an inquiry into the cover up of crimes within the catholic church should, at least for the sake of appearances, ask a few questions of church officials.

Those few questions were asked gently, and with obsequious respect for the greedily claimed but undeserved dignity of their religious roles.

Survivors in the public gallery were even more distressed by this Special treatment from the Special Inquiry, than they were by the brutality unleashed on Peter Fox. Or perhaps it was the comparison, the double standard, the hypocrisy, and the continuation of years of giving criminals in drag a free pass from legal responsibility for their actions, that hurt so much.

It is possible Counsel Assisting Julia Lonergan SC was attempting to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  These entitled princes of the Church of Child Rape do not even deign to pretend to co-operate with anyone rude enough to ask them a direct question. But they will chat familiarly with someone who goes along with their little charade and acts as if they are, by virtue of their self appointed titles, incapable of wrongdoing.

And this is when they unconsciously reveal the twisted thinking behind their inhumanity.

Lowlights of the weeks of evidence from church officials include the mysterious virus that conveniently robbed so many of them of memory of anything even vaguely incriminating.

Not all memory, just any memory that got a little too close to the uncomfortable truth. This virus has similarly affected church officials in other countries whenever anyone has tried to hold them accountable for their actions.

Even Julia Lonergan SC found the frequency of the answer “I don’t recall” to “beggar belief”.

Bishop Michael Malone’s distaste for looking at sex abuse files failed to generate the desired sympathy from those forced against their will to endure the far more distasteful sexual assaults from his carefully protected predator colleagues.

But Father Harrigan got plenty of sympathy, and a week to recover, from Commissioner Cuneen after the horror of having survivors and supporters sedately express a fraction of their disgust for the crimes of the clergy. In return, said sedate protestors were threatened with contempt of the Commission. Even that rebuke was more than the child rapists ever faced.

The excuse of blaming dead people, so favoured by Archbishop Dennis Hart and Cardinal Big George Pell, and many others, didn’t wash here since documentary evidence to the contrary was right in front of them.

Instead the vile Father Brian Lucas resorted to the ridiculous claim to be acting in victims’ best interests in covering up our abuse. In my personal experience, echoed by so many others, the only way this vicious church enforcer would like to help us, is into an early grave.

Much of the church evidence was held in camera, away from public view and the media. Purportedly because of the possibility of criminal charges.

Frankly, in my layman’s view, even much of the evidence in public hearings justified the laying of charges for misprision of felony or covering up serious crimes.

Will this Special Inquiry break with the long held tradition to ignore, dismiss, or fail to follow up on crimes by Catholic clergy, particularly the cover up of child sex crimes, and particularly those committed by senior church officials?

Experience would suggest it will not, but I would welcome being proved wrong on this.

And I am prepared to protest loud and long in front of NSW Parliament House if the evidence of a long term systemic criminal conspiracy to cover up ongoing child sex crimes is not passed to NSW police to investigate.

The Commission is now finished its public hearings and we can do nothing but wait for the report due on September 30.

Nothing except perhaps to demand of the staunchly Catholic NSW Attorney General an explanation why the brief of evidence delivered to him by Strike Force Lantle stills sits on his desk and has not been approved for the recommended charges to be laid against church officials.

The police finished their investigations by July 2012, and the DPP has been in possession of the brief of evidence at least since October 2012.

Is he looking for a good distraction, such as a Federal election, to bury the news that he refuses to proceed on this matter? Or if he intends to allow the law to operate without political interference, why has he not done so before now?

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Song of Lying Bishops

To the tune of Song of Joy

Come, hear our lame excuses

We tell to all Inquiries

We don’t care if you believe us

We fool the Catholics on their knees

 

Lie after lie we can tell

And no one will ever

Do a thing

That’s because the Catholic Mafia

Ensure that we’re above your laws

 

Will this be any different?

No one has ever

Got to the truth

We will pull out dirty tricks

The like of which you can’t conceive

 

The suffering of little children

Really doesn’t rate a snap

We’re the ones deserving sympathy

Having to deal with this crap

 

Come, hear our lame excuses

We can keep this up all day

‘Cause we know that no-one acts

No matter what we do or say

 

Come, hear our lame excuses

Lets all pretend that we have changed

Even though its same as same as

Under a new and hurtful name

Feel free to sing to any bishops entering or leaving the inquiry of your choice.

 

Stay safe everyone.

 

VV

Newcastle Diocese’s Disgrace – Memory Loss, Distaste for the Truth, and Prayers but no Action

Pat protesting

Public hearings of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle in recent weeks have left survivors and supporters disappointed, horrified, traumatised, gasping in disgust, occasionally giggling, and even bravely protesting before the media contingent.

And finally, applauding the amazing bravery of AH in exposing his private pain to public scrutiny. Nothing less, it seems, will serve to stop church officials from evading responsibility for any crimes they may have committed, or from continuing to expose children to serious danger.

One reaction we have not experienced is surprise.

The predictable list of excuses is being rolled out with gusto.

Blaming dead people, impenetrable vagueness about important details, convenient claims of memory loss, avoidance of personal responsibility, denials, excuses, and insulting assertions that refusing to listen to us, neglecting our needs and bullying us into not seeking the help we so desperately want is actually in our best interests; all these are being spouted ad nauseum.

It is no surprise either that these tactics eerily echo similar excuses used in the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry hearings and in numerous investigations of this issue around the world.

Despite all this, some survivors will be helped. Some truth is coming out, mostly in documents. Some admissions are being made, where their own documents leave no room for continuing denials.

The abuse problem in this region is staggering. But this narrow and politically constrained investigation is not allowed to see the full picture. Nowhere near it.

Plus, there are other regions in NSW, and in other states, that have suffered equally from this destructive epidemic. But they were not the subject of politically embarrassing claims on TV. And so, predictably, they do not warrant the time and expense of this Special Commission.

The NSW Government will no doubt claim this whole exercise is intended to help survivors. But we can recognise, through long and painful familiarity with the hypocrisy of church officials, when our abuse is used to further exploit us and harm us, under cover of helping us, by those engaged in self serving power games.

And so we watch and listen as a brave whistleblower is viciously targeted. And church officials are given a public platform for their usual smug, entitled and evasive performance, while survivors and supporters are largely silenced.

We wait to see whether this inquiry will be allowed to do anything with the glimpse of the truth it has been permitted to see through the cracks in the previously unbreachable, heavily armed wall concealing the church’s real actions.

And we wait for the real inquiry, the Royal Commission, to start its public hearings.

Stay safe everyone, this is a challenging time but it is not the end, just the beginning.

VV

Fasten your seat belts, its going to get bumpy

Motivational of Bette Davis

Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis, snarled this famous line before a party brimming with hidden undercurrents, lies, and deception, in the 1950 film, All About Eve.

We are in for a bumpy few years. It’s going to get bumpier come September, when the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and NSW Special Commission of Inquiry are scheduled to release their reports, and the Royal Commission begins public hearings.

But as we have seen recently, along with the dips come the jumps and lifts as well.

Our spirits were raised by seeing, first Archbishop Denis Hart, then Cardinal George Pell, appear before the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. They should have been questioned harder, for longer, and about many more issues, but nonetheless it was both exciting and encouraging to see them held accountable in some way for the very first time. It was even better watching the faces of the Committee members asking the questions. How uplifting to see people in positions of authority, not dismissing us, not caving in to pressure from Church officials to bury the truth, but instead standing up for the rights of children not to be raped, and wearing expressions of disgust for the pathetic excuses and deplorable behaviour of these self important princes of the church.

It was also hard to watch, as all such episodes are, as it brings home to us just how badly we have been neglected and abandoned by those who should have asked these questions and done something to stop these crimes decades ago. Because if they had, imagine how much suffering and how many lives could have been saved.

Another bumpy ride is offered by the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry. Sitting in the public gallery of the Newcastle courtroom it is hard not to wonder why so much of the inquiry’s time and effort are focussed on discrediting brave whistleblower Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, instead of investigating the shocking crimes and cover up he revealed. But Peter is prepared to endure any amount of legal bullying, confident that the full truth will be given a chance to be heard by the Royal Commission. Meanwhile the Special Commission of Inquiry, working within very restrictive terms of reference, has hopefully finished endlessly repeating accusations and insinuations about Peter, and will now finally turn some of its attention to the cover up of child sex crimes by church officials.

Excitement at the prospect of seeing those responsible for so much suffering finally face detailed investigation has been replaced by disappointment much of their evidence will now be heard in camera, hidden from survivors, the public and the media. The consolation is that this is reportedly necessary because of the possibility these crimes will finally make it to court. Judging by what was revealed in the last week, there certainly seems to be reason to expect a raft of prosecutions. If action is taken, these will be the first Australian prosecutions for the cover up of child rape by Catholic officials, despite mountains of evidence, and a cover up occurring in nearly every case. There was an arrest for such a coverup last year, but in common with standard procedure, the only official to be formally charged was near death and so, in the end, like so many others, he escaped justice and never made it to court.

According to Church officials, the only people responsible for this systemic problem are conveniently dead or old enough to use the ever reliable “too old and infirm” con. So it is exhilarating that even this severely hobbled inquiry has brought to the surface documents about the actions of church officials who are a long way from being able to carry off the standard issue sympathy attracting walking stick, wheelchair, ambulance or oxygen mask.

Even the Royal Commission, with broad terms of reference and extensive powers, still has and will continue to provide many bumps for survivors. A senior lay Catholic and a former police commissioner being appointed as Commissioners concerned many survivors, especially as Robert Fitzgerald’s very relevant background was not disclosed. Teething problems with communications have also worried many. The fact that funding promised by the Government has not been put towards the provision of ongoing counselling for those revealing their traumatic past experiences, possibly for the first time, is particularly worrying and disappointing. The single most crucial use of this money is for the lifesaving counselling we have long been denied by church officials and successive governments. Some of the organisations receiving the funding are not putting the money towards services for survivors, and/or have a history of refusing help to clergy abuse survivors, reabusing survivors or secretly accepting money from the abuser institutions.

However the Royal Commission has already helped and given hope to many. I have sat in, as a support person, on a private session and was very impressed with how it was conducted. I have spoken with those in charge of different areas of the Royal Commission’s operations and am similarly impressed and confident this vital task is in good hands. And with every passing day I am more convinced this Royal Commission is a rare and precious opportunity to tell the truth and be heard. An opportunity we should all value, support and not let go to waste.

Survivors in other countries are desperate to be offered a similar opportunity.

We cannot change the past, but we have been given this one chance to change the future.

There are signs church officials are starting to tire of the pretence of co-operation and will soon descend to the vicious and expensive defence of their reputations seen around the world in similar situations. But instead of letting this get us down, we should take heart from the fact we have truth, evidence, courage and public disgust at these cowardly crimes on our side.

Congratulations and best wishes to all those heroic survivors, their families, supporters and whistleblowers who have told or will tell their truth to one or more of Australia’s trinity of inquiries.

Our evidence can help ensure decision makers properly understand the scale and nature of this problem, and make decisions based on reality, instead of being taken in by church officials’ lies and misinformation.

We might not all see our own version of “what justice looks like” become a reality. We will all have a lot of bumps, both up and down, to survive. But between us all, and with the help of the truth revealed at last by these inquiries, we should achieve enough justice and enough change to be confident this problem is finally being properly addressed. And one day we might even be able to sleep peacefully at last, as if this horror never happened to us.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Church Officials Still Investigating Their Own Crimes

The Australian Catholic Church has announced it has received but is yet to release the report of its internal investigation into the role of three senior church officials in the coverup of child sexual abuse by the priest known only as Father F.

The report, prepared by former Federal Court judge Anthony Whitlam QC, is based on an examination of documents supplied by church officials. These include the history of appointments, ministry and activities of the serial predator Father F and the way in which reports by the victims of the respected priest were handled.

Relying on evidence supplied by the very institution being investigated, an institution with a long and proud history of covering up sexual exploitation of minors and other vulnerable populations, and of hiding incriminating documents and other evidence from law enforcement while claiming full co-operation, the report is expected to deliver a result in line with claims by church officials that there is no reason for charges to be laid against Fathers Peters, Lucas and Usher.

At issue is the crime of covering up serious crimes – serial child sexual assaults by an adult in a position of absolute authority over vulnerable children.

Church officials were repeatedly informed about Father F’s crimes, since the first complaints were received in 1983, but refused to act to protect children or inform police. Documentary evidence exists of a report to church officials in 1983. Clear evidence of the knowledge of Fathers Peters, Lucas and Usher of Father F’s criminal activity comes from a letter recording a 1992 meeting between these three and the admitted child abuser. Details of the 1992 meeting and his admissions at that meeting were confirmed in court by Father F in 2004. Documentary evidence also exists from 2002, showing Cardinal Pell was aware of Father F’s offending, once again without any action to prevent re-offending, help victims, prevent the suicides of victims or inform police.

It beggars belief that even after the announcement of a national Royal Commission into child sexual abuse and its cover up, the NSW Police and NSW Government do not publicly recognise how inappropriate it is for Catholic Church officials to presume to usurp the role of law enforcement in the investigation of these crimes.

The NSW Police are currently investigating this matter, so what possible role is there for an investigation whose terms of reference were set by the Catholic Church, whose costs are paid for by the Catholic Church and whose main, likely only, sources of information are Catholic Church officials? This is a report by and for the Catholic Church, and any involvement in such an exercise by people who are not themselves Catholic Church officials should not be mistaken for independence.

There is surely no place for a self generated smokescreen to obscure and deflect police efforts, findings and actions.

Would we give any credence to drug lords investigating illegal drug importation or its coverup?

Would we expect police to treat seriously a report into gang related drive-by shootings which was commissioned by bikie gang leaders?

If police find the actions of church officials to be sufficiently criminal that charges need to be laid, those officials should not be treated as above the law.

And they and their colleagues should not be handing police a report which could and should be seen as trying to dictate to police the result of a current police investigation into their own actions or lack of action.

Surely the resources poured into this and other heroic efforts to protect predator priests and those who cover up for them would be better spent assisting not obstructing the justice system, helping victims to recover, not adding to the damage from which they need to recover, and protecting children from sexual predators not protecting predators from law enforcement.

And surely the NSW Police, the NSW Government and the NSW public should file this report, if it is released, in the paper recycling bin where it belongs.

 

The Four Corners documentary, Unholy Silence, uncovered much of this evidence.

Opinion on the announcement of this investigation by Andrew Morrison SC.

Heartless Hart at it Again

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart just cannot stop insulting victims every time he opens his mouth.

He wrote another letter this week, in conjunction with his fellow Victorian bishops and leaders of religious orders, which reached its intended audience, the news media, yesterday.

He even started off well, coming as close to honesty about this issue as I’ve seen from any Australian catholic official.

Let us be very clear. The sexual abuse of a child was, is and always will be a crime, and is contrary to all we believe in.

Very true. And remarkably clear, direct and unequivocal for something emanating from a catholic bishop.

So Victoria’s leading church yes men have been forced by fear of the revelations soon to come from Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into doing the unthinkable. Defining their own actions as criminal and the epitome of hypocrisy.

Surely such a groundbreaking admission will be followed by equally groundbreaking actions to right the immense wrong they have long committed and continue to commit against thousands of society’s most vulnerable and defenceless. Won’t it?

Not as such.

That was as much as Archbishop Heartless had the stomach for.

After that it was back to tired old excuses, denials, lies and lack of action to protect children.

The Church has apologised for these failures.

Oh, that’s okay then.

Now lets all forget about this nonsense and get back to telling ordinary people, who do not usually commit or coverup child rape, how to live their lives.

But hold on, wasn’t Hart just admitting at last that we are talking about some of the most heinous crimes known to mankind?

A mere two lines later and its already back to a “failure”. What will it be by the end of letter? Inappropriate behaviour? Unfortunate circumstances?

Or barely referred to at all in the rush to rollout that self congratulatory overused old chestnut “good works”.

I love the good works excuse.

Because it makes absolutely no sense at all.

Who else but a catholic religious expects the old “good works” card to function like a “get out of jail free” card?

“Your honour, my client the mass murderer should not be held accountable for his crimes because he once helped a little old lady across the road”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before? That changes everything! Release the accused immediately and hand him back his AK-47!”

Or worse still, claim to be doing something you most definitely are NOT doing, namely:

the careful implementation of policies and practices to provide the best possible protection for children in our community

And then claim that complete fabrication as one of the good works that makes all this nasty child rape stuff just go away in a puff of magic smoke and mirrors.

Since Heartless and cabal chose to make this a news item I feel obliged to pull them up on a couple of other outrageous lies lurking in this most misleading missive.

Why so misleading? Because by inserting a rare morsel of frankness, a whiff of stunningly unexpected honesty, Hart must hope to both grab media attention and flavour his whole letter. The rest of it is a pack of lies and excuses, but Hart expects the mindless to assume it is all, contained as it is within the same communication, of a similar nature to that little truth bomb.

Here are his sneaky little stingers:

to continue to ensure we do everything in our power to protect children

Sorry, but you cannot continue something you have never even started. What makes this lie particularly heartbreaking for victims is that the church fights tooth and nail against any measure likely to improve child protection, showing how very deliberate is the policy not to protect children. Perhaps Hart thinks the phrase “in our power” gives him carte blanche to do absolutely nothing to help children and still make this claim with a straight face.

The Church respects the Parliamentary process and will co-operate fully with the Inquiry.

Hart himself will prove this one a lie in a very short time.

In the meantime it could be useful to ask, if he is so keen to “co-operate fully”, when are the truckloads of secret abuse files going to be delivered to the Committee? Where is the letter encouraging church employees to be completely honest and to provide everything they know to the Committee, without fear of job loss, recriminations and abuse? Where is the list of known rapist priests still active in ministry who have never been reported to police? Who will be making the days and days of open and frank admissions about known abuse, neglected victims, and avoidable suicides kept hidden until now? Where is the list of acknowledged rapists and their historical postings so parents can check if their children were exposed to these predators, and today’s parents can take appropriate precautions against the rapists kept out of jail and in the community? And why did he not even bother with “in our power” to excuse this lie?

And finally we reach the heart of the letter.

During the Inquiry you may hear disturbing reports of cases in our past when Church processes to prevent and respond to abuse failed the children in our care.

Not may, Denis.

Will.

You will hear disturbing reports of past and present cases when the church response to abuse obsessively protected the institution and callously sacrificed and horrifically re-abused innocent children.

Every victim I know is working on their submission to this inquiry. They realise just how rare is this chance to tell their story and be listened to, not called a liar, not beaten or raped, not bullied and intimidated.

And every single story is just as appalling, and the church officials’ action just as criminally culpable, as those featuring in the media in past months.

I hope the Committee have strong stomachs.

Unlike us, they have not been accustomed to the callousness of church officials from a young age, and may find our evidence shocking.

Pope’s butler faces jail, unlike rapists and their protectors

In yet a further example of pernicious Vatican hypocrisy, the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, faces trial and very likely jail for the crime of revealing the truth about the corruption and infighting endemic amongst the ‘holy’ men who inhabit the Vatican.

It is indeed encouraging to know that the Vatican is capable of arresting, imprisoning, and convicting wrong doers.

Unfortunately, in the upside down world of Vatican morals, truth is considered a crime, while those who rape, or enable and cover-up the rape of little children, are protected and rewarded.

There are plenty of criminals hiding out in the Vatican who should be occupying a cell rather than a palace.

Such as Cardinal Bernard Law, described by the 2003 Report of the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts into the Sexual Abuse of Children in Law’s former Archdiocese of Boston as bearing ultimate responsibility for an institutional acceptance of the criminal sexual abuse of children and a massive and pervasive failure of leadership, and for placing huge numbers of children at obvious and known risk of sexual assault. Which did indeed result in the rape of innocent children on a truly horrific scale.

For his crimes, instead of jail and a trial like Gabriele, Law has been offered a safe refuge from justice, and been accorded positions of enormous power and respect. And, on his 80th birthday, Law was publicly feted at great expense and treated as a hero and inspiration to all.

We can only hope such rewards do not encourage too many to follow in his insidious footsteps.

If the Vatican insists on behaving like an outlaw state, harbouring fugitives from international justice and obstructing the lawful operation of local law enforcement in sovereign countries throughout the world, can we at least be honest enough to treat it like one.

Paolo Gabriele was trying to expose the criminality, the twisted immorality, the lies and hypocrisy of a obsessively secretive institution that aims to control the world, commands that you believe every word they utter without a shred of proof, and insists they are infallible, despite the sheer impossibility of the concept itself, and the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

He was trying to expose the fact that many church leaders are supremely evil men posing as godlike beings. That they are allergic to honesty. That they function through coercion, manipulation of the gullible, the trading of influence and wealth, and unending deceit.

We should not kiss the rings of the Princes of the church, and grovellingly hand over tax breaks, inequitable political influence, undeserved respect and a free pass to commit crimes against humanity.

We should not surrender our hearts and our brains every time they open their mouths.

Not if we, and our children, want to consider ourselves free and independent.

Anything Less Than A Royal Commission Is Just Part of the Coverup

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?