The Catholic Church appears certain to continue haemorrhaging followers, thanks to the prospect of years of daily opprobrium over the scandals that will come out of the royal commission. The experience of Ireland following their own commission is instructive, though already low church attendance rates here will soften the impact.
The similarities between the developing scandal here and the long-running one in Ireland are striking. The country famous for its Catholic piety began its own high-profile commission in 1999, with a final report being released three years ago. The principal findings were that the Catholic Church had been culpable in knowingly covering up decades of s-xual, physical and emotional abuse committed against children in its care, despite earlier claims of ignorance from church hierarchy. The organisation was found to have consistently placed its own interests ahead of those of the children it was supposed to be looking after, allowing offenders to move between parishes and avoid scrutiny, despite documents showing the chances of recidivism were high.