Nov 13, 2012
Crikey readers weigh in on the big issues of the day.
Royal commission into child s-x abuse
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When curating a letters page, one colloquialism springs to mind as a handy tip to avoid self-serving drivel: Keep the Hand off it.
It’s ok to say something constructive.
The Church welcomes the Royal Commission and offers to cooperate because they know what will be the outcome – they will have a win. Furthermore they know that they will be allowed to play this by their own rules.
For the majority of the people, when a man tells another man that he has engaged in child sex abuse this is a criminal admitting to his crimes and the person who was told has a moral obligation to stop this from happening again, namely by referring to the police. Not so with the Church. When a priest tells another priest under confession that he is a child rapist, this is all fine. The rapist is good to go and do it again and confess the same crimes next week, next month, and next year. Why? Because they are above the law. The Church and its hierarchy genuinely believe in this special entitlement, that they should be allowed to address their crimes internally, using their own rules. It is obvious that any system or procedure that the Church will devise and implement to address this issue will have one fundamental and primary objective: to protect the Church itself. It is not plausible to expect that these people will set up their own demise, because ultimately the responsibility of these crimes rests with the hierarchy, the same people who is looking after the system.
When James Hardie was found responsible for the asbestos problems, the directors were the ones facing the law; they were fined, lost their jobs and were barred from practicing their profession. It was not the workers on the factory who made the product or the crews who installed it that were found accountable for the problems. Every time there is a problem with an institution, the people who are at the top of that institution are the ones who face the music.
In this case of child sex abuse, even though the cover ups and the movement of the priests from one community to another was perpetrated and orchestrated by the bishops and the cardinals, there is not one of them that will face justice. This is still happening now; Georges Pell has just made it very clear that the Church will continue protecting the paedophiles if they admit to their crimes under the seal of confession, whatever that means. His total contempt for the victims makes him the first suspect and the one that should be locked up first.
After nine years of a similar enquiry in Ireland not one senior figure of the Church was brought to justice, they are still there doing what they always did and the Irish tax payers were left to foot approximately 90% of the compensation bill. This is after over 30,000 victims came forward!
You would have to say that’s another win for the clergy. And so will be in Australia.