Nov 22, 2012

Royal commission will make churches pray for parishioners

Church attendance rates are low in Australia, but if Ireland is any sort of example, expect them to plummet even further during the royal commission in to child abuse, writes Crikey intern David Donaldson.

Old church

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.

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6 thoughts on “Royal commission will make churches pray for parishioners

  1. TheFamousEccles

    Great news. Now, If we could prise the catholic snout out of the public purse (along with all other religions), the world will likely turn a new page.

    Caution should still prevail, though. When asked by a colleague recently what I thought of the current issue of abuse by the catholic church, and the ensuing calls for a royal commission, I answered that it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. This however got me a dressing down by my boss that day and suggestions that I have a good look at myself and my attitude to others beliefs! When I suggested that my beliefs were being ignored and marginalised, I was effectively told to grow up. The head-in-the-sand/double standard mindset is still deeply entrenched, it seems.

  2. Venise Alstergren

    It is heartening to realise that Australians are becoming more sure of themselves and no longer a captive to the outrageous fundamentalist beliefs of any religion. Especially the Catholic religion.

    Of course, being lectured about morality on a cold wet Sunday, by the instigators of a system which is totally immoral, must be difficult.

  3. Malcolm Street

    “A website,, was even set up in late 2009 to assist outraged Irish through the technical process of formally disaffiliating from the church. Around 12,000 people downloaded the official defection form before the church in Rome changed canon law to make it impossible to disaffiliate.”

    Is there anything Holy Mother Church won’t stoop to?


    Catholicism has gone down the drain in this country despite

    the billions it receives from the taxpayer every year to

    fund its schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and the

    like. Without the taxpayer Catholicism would evaporate.

  5. Venise Alstergren


    NEGATIVEGMCWN.COM: Indeed it would.

  6. Savonrepus

    Very curious the way which institutions go on trial and which institutions are exempt when criminal acts are performed by their workers. Clearly churches must take full responsibility for their priests but banks do not have any responsibility for their rogue traders.

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