The Catholic Church is one of the most powerful institutions in the world. It has endured scrutiny, war, political and cultural upheaval for more than 2000 years. Then came the child abuse crisis. Across the world, thousands of priests have been accused, tried and convicted of paedophilia.
How can we understand why these men are the way they are? In this series, INQ speaks to current and former priests, brothers and seminarians who have themselves abused, witnessed abuse or who are now tasked with making huge structural changes to an ancient bureaucracy. We give a psychologist’s insight into the mind of one of Australia’s worst paedophile priests, speak with a Marist Brothers whistleblower, try to unearth a document that names 154 abusers within that order, and go inside a seminary to observe life as a priest in 2019.
Almost 1900 child sexual abusers have been identified in Australian Catholic churches. The average victim was under 12. What led people to commit such horrible crimes on such a staggering scale?
One hundred and fifty-four brothers have been accused of sexually assaulting students at Marist schools, but their identity and whether they are still teaching remains a secret.
INQ visits a modern seminary, historically obscured from public view, and speaks to priests in training — as well as to some who opted out — to find out about the changing reality and day-to-day lives of those on the path to priesthood.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards? For centuries, the Catholic church has been self-policing, but now there are those fighting for reform.