The confessional

Greg Craven makes some telling points in critiquing the pressure from the Gillard Government and the media generally for removing the sanctity of the Catholic confessional. If the inviolability of the confessional is not respected, why shouldn’t lawyers be forced to reveal evidence implicating their clients? Or journalists be forced to reveal their sources?

Why would anyone confess to such a crime knowing that the Priest will reveal the confidence? Craven is also correct in noting that a Priest will not grant absolution unless the confessor agrees to turn himself/herself into the Police.

Section 116 of the Constitution bans the Parliament from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. In the Catholic Church, the sealed confession is integral to the faith.

I have a number of concerns about the attacks on the Catholic church over child abuse. There is no evidence that there is a greater proportion of abusers among priests as against the general population. The accusation of being a paedophile is today so grave that it surpasses even mass murder in the view of many as a criminal action. So people need to be extremely careful before pointing fingers at a person or group. Just look at the scandal in the Government-owned BBC where for years it protected an alleged paedophile (Jimmy Saville) and then falsely accuses Lord McAlpine of such an abuse without any evidence. This from the public broadcaster.

Why should child abuse among Aborigines be excluded from the Royal Commission? I’m happy for the Government to have an inquiry into this hideous crime, but instead the inquiry seems to be a way to smear Tony Abbott as a Catholic.

As far as I can see, there have been many more members of the Labor party convicted of child abuse than Catholic Priests. For example Stephen de Rozairio, Bill D’Arcy, Terry Martin, Keith Wright and Milton Orkopoulos. That’s five Labor members (four of whom were Labor MPs) jailed for child abuse. And then, as Abu points out in the comments, former NT Chief Minister Bob Collins, was charged with child sexual assault but died before the trial concluded.

It is interesting and rather hypocritical that the Government seems to want to break the seal of the confession while members of its own party didn’t tell authorities of and / or covered up criminal activities involving the AWU and the HSU. Why shouldn’t members of the ALP be forced to tell all regarding confidences given them by Craig Thompson? Why shouldn’t the Prime Minister be forced to reveal everything relating to the AWU? So we have a Government which has masters of cover up trying to allege a cover up in the Catholic church. That seems to be a diversion rather than an ethical inquiry into a hideous crime.

The real risk from the Royal Commission is that it will turn into a witch hunt / lynch mob as people get falsely accused and defamed. Can allegations of child abuse be made in the context of this Royal Commission without fear of later defamation action? Just because a supposed victim asserts that a person committed child abuse is not proof that it did occur.

Any priest worth his salt would prefer to go to jail than break his solemn vow of hearing a confession.

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Samuel J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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157 Responses to The confessional

  1. Abu Chowdah

    Don’t forget that arsehole NT chief minister, Collins.

  2. Abu Chowdah

    And don’t forget the prevalence of Left wing media and political support for Henson’s awful photos. To his credit, Krudd spoke his mind and was not a fan.

  3. Samuel J

    Thanks Abu – will put that in

  4. C.L.

    It’s kind of moot – to the point of laugh-worthy – amongst Catholics anyway. The seal will never be violated by the state, whose laws would be regarded as irrelevant.

    We’ve seen of Attila the Hun and the USSR.

    Julia Gillard doesn’t exactly terrify us.

  5. Abu Chowdah

    Rudd’s finest moment:

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/05/23/1211183044543.html

    Mr Rudd today weighed into the debate about the merits of the artworks, saying he thought they were “revolting”.

    “I find them absolutely revolting,” he told the Nine Network.

    “Kids deserve to have the innocence of their childhood protected. I have a very deep view of this. For God’s sake, let’s just allow kids to be kids.

    “Whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff – frankly I don’t think there are any – just allow kids to be kids.”

    Meanwhile, that louche douche David Marr wrote a mawkish book lionizing Henson.

  6. Lloyd

    In all fairness, wasn’t Orkopoulos layer exonerated?

    Not denying your point, just saying…

  7. Samuel J

    Lloyd – Orkopoulos is still in jail on a 13 year sentence. He appealed in 2009 and lost the appeal. He has certainly not been exonerated.

  8. macca

    First time i agree with Craven, but why no mention of the Hiener report that involved Labor party queensland.

  9. C.L.

    …Bob Collins was charged with child sexual assault but died before the trial concluded.

    You mean he killed himself three days before it began.

  10. Chris M

    I’ve noticed Gillard is becoming increasingly strident and shrill in her man-hating. This seems to be connected to it.

    That said and on the subject of frauds the Roman Catholic ‘confessional’ is a crock and the mostly well-meaning folk that show up there need to be informed that they are just being deceived. It is completely unbiblical (there is no such thing or service anywhere in the New Testament) and indeed blasphemous.

  11. Abu Chowdah

    Here we go.

    No harm in it so leave it alone, for fuxake.

  12. sdog

    That said and on the subject of frauds the Roman Catholic ‘confessional’ is a crock

    If you’re not happy to subscribe to Catholic doctrine, don’t be a Catholic.

    I don’t; and I’m not.

    Isn’t freedom of religion grand?

  13. sdog

    Just because a supposed victim asserts that a person committed child abuse is not proof that it did occur.

    Yes. I mean no disrespect to those who actually are victims of child sex abuse, but unless a crime has been proven in a court of law to have occurred, or at least unless there’s some incredibly strong evidence, aren’t any accusors who come forth “alleged victims”, just as those they accuse are “alleged abusers”?

    Or have we suspended the long-standing right of the accused to a presumption of innocence in our haste to bestow the blessed mantle of Victimhood on as many people as possible?

    It’s a sensitive subject. There’s such a taboo against questioning anyone’s self-proclaimed “victim” status, that’s why people who were involved with 9-11 faker “Tania Head” (for instance) said they never delved deeper into her “story” even when niggling inconsistencies popped up. Nobody wants to be that guy , the mean ol’ meany skeptic, because what if it IS true and you’ve just heaped more pain on a genuinely traumatized victim?

    Oy. What a can of worms Team ALP has opened up.

  14. Brett

    Is thre any evidence at all that Catholic priests now known to be abusers revealed their conduct in the confessional?

  15. Chris M

    Isn’t freedom of religion grand?

    Oh, totally agree. Problems can arise however when religion and the law of the land at times cross paths. So if people are confessing to crimes and believing they have been forgiven without having to front up the the legal system I suggest that is a problem. In Islam as another example the followers are quite literally instructed to kill the rest of us to guarantee entry to Paradise; as this conflicts with our laws again it becomes a problem.

    It can also work the other way such as in the USA where president Baz is trampling on freedom of religion by ordering some Catholic employers to provide free birth control to employees.

  16. Abu Chowdah

    You’re an ignorant ass, both concerning Catholicism and Islam.

    The ignorance some twats post about these religions is the worst part about the Cat.

  17. Sexual abuse is about power – not sex. The best way to avoid it happening in an institution is to develop a culture where power hierarchies can’t grow and thrive.
    So what does this mean for the church?

    It probably means the abolition of hierarchies. It probably means opening the church up to married clergy and the ordination of women. It probably means a return to Catholic social justice values that were such a feature of Vatican II.

    Given the current leadership (Pell locally and Benedict in the Vatican) I don’t hold out much hope of reform. Vatican II back in the mid sixties set the course of the church in the direction of inclusion, liberation and encouraged dialogue and flexibility. Many liberation movements saw their origins in Vatican II. Notable amongst these was the rise of Solidarity in Poland, and many Social Justice movements in South America.

    Out of it grew Liberation theology. This is an essentially Catholic political movement which interprets Christian beliefs in political terms, and seeks to put these values into action. The political values are about liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described by proponents as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”. .

    Pope Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger) a man of the Right, also known as the Vatican’s Rottweiler when he was a Cardinal is seeking to reverse many of the trends set during Vatican II. Recent evidence of this was the sacking of our local Bishop (Bill Morris).

    It’s no coincidence that Toowoomba diocese has more social justice infrastructure than any other Australian diocese. Bill Morris also handled child abuse in St Saviour’s school in Toowoomba in an honest and open manner by making an immediate and very public apology and ensuring that there was no contest by the Diocese to any of the claims. In doing this, he ignored George Pell.

    Like many other practising Catholics, I see a connection between the power structures grimly held on to by the old guard in the church and child abuse. I welcome the enquiry, and would like to see some recommendations at the end of it that look at institutional structure. My church needs to be liberated from its medieval roots, and move back to the political centre-left where it fits best.

    Perhaps the strong progressive values espoused by orders such as the Josephites will provide a template.

  18. sdog

    There’s a hell of a lot of sexual abuse of minors going on in schools too, Teach. What’s your prescription for that ?

  19. dover_beach

    And yet many of these abuse cases occurred leading up to Vatican II and in its aftermath when “progressive” values were ascendant.

  20. Cam

    Don’t forget that arsehole NT chief minister, Collins.

    Who was also an ALP member of the Australian Senate from 1987 to 1998.

  21. johno

    The real risk from the Royal Commission is that it will turn into a witch hunt / lynch mob as people get falsely accused and defamed.

    It is already happening and no prizes for guessing who is leading the charge.

  22. Cam

    Sexual abuse is about power – not sex. The best way to avoid it happening in an institution is to develop a culture where power hierarchies can’t grow and thrive.
    So what does this mean for the church?

    If sexual abuse is about power and not sex why is one of the apparent solutions to the problem within the RC Church is allowing clergy to marry?

  23. Swansea consituent

    Not only is Orkopoulos still in jail, but for five years all politicians have successfully avoided any scrutiny of just how he got there. Known facts include an employee locked out of her workplace after informing various persons in parliament that she had reported complaints from young victims to the police, tip offs and leaving the Minister in charge of his Aboriginal Afairs portfolio whilst it was known he was under criminal investigation. Who thinks this is just the Catholic Church?

  24. @sdog –

    There’s a hell of a lot of sexual abuse of minors going on in schools too

    Depends what you mean by “a hell of a lot”
    Most children are abused in their homes – not at school. This myth and the hysteria surrounding it is largely responsible for the feminization of the teaching profession.
    @dover beach
    There’s no connection between Vatican II and abuse. There is, however, a connection between closed orders and abuse.
    @Cam
    Allowing clergy to marry would break up the power heirarchies that develop around a group of male clergy separated from their real community.

  25. Numbers, Pope Benedict called a Year of Faith and has called upon Catholics to learn and understand their Faith.

    Funnily enough, the more I learn, the more of an old-time pre-VII catholic I become. I’m learning about liturgical abuses, why we don’t have priestesses and what Confession is all about.

    Seriously, do you see the Mass as Sacrifice or Celebration?

  26. Allowing clergy to marry would break up the power heirarchies that develop around a group of male clergy separated from their real community.

    So married men don’t abuse? Okay, I can sleep soundly at night.

    What’s that, numbers? Women don’t sexually abuse children either? Now fancy that.

  27. @nilk
    That’s not what I said. There are a complex set of factors behind abuse. None are exclusive, but the quality of the relationship is critical. This is why power is a factor. Good family structures are built around love, not power.

  28. dover_beach

    Allowing clergy to marry would break up the power heirarchies that develop around a group of male clergy separated from their real community.

    Nonsense. I’ve meet a number of unmarried clergy that are more connected to the community than any married person precisely because they are unmarried and thus unfettered by the constraints of married life.

  29. HH

    “It probably means opening the church up to married clergy and the ordination of women.”

    Regrettable as any instance of abuse is, the rate of abuse by Catholic clergy is no higher, and may be even lower, than that of the general population. There are comparable rates between Catholic clergy and other married religious clergy.

    So this argument of yours is completely bogus.

  30. @ HH

    Regrettable as any instance of abuse is, the rate of abuse by Catholic clergy is no higher, and may be even lower, than that of the general population.

    Not all the general population is married.
    Research in this area is sparse, but I doubt you can show evidence for this assertion.

  31. sdog

    Most children are abused in their homes – not at school.

    Similarly, Most children are abused in their homes – not at school church. But apparently we’re only concerned about institutional abuse of children – so by all rights we should be pillorying schoolteachers every bit as much as we are Catholic priests. You’ve got a plan to change the Catholic church to stop child abuse, now what about within your own profession?

    Allowing clergy to marry would break up the power heirarchies that develop around a group of male clergy separated from their real community.

    So Catholics must allow priests to marry, and this will keep them from sexually abusing children, even though the vast bulk of men who sexually abuse children – stepfathers, uncles, scout leaders, swim coaches, schoolteacher – ARE free to marry?

    If you – as many others – are just using this as an excuse to tear down the Catholic church, at least be honest enough to admit it.

  32. Just as an aside, with respect to married clergy – the money given at Mass goes toward paying for the priest and the parish.

    If the parish is also paying for the wife and children of the priest then that’s a lot less money to go around for the wellbeing of the community.

  33. And one more thought before I head off to work, these days you’ll find plenty of priests who refuse to be alone in children’s company purely because the witchhunting and p3do priest accusations.

    That is a terrible position to be in, but it’s also a no brainer – I know men who after acrimonious divorces refuse to be alone with their own children lest the ex suddenly accuse them of interfering with the kids.

  34. @sdog

    If you – as many others – are just using this as an excuse to tear down the Catholic church, at least be honest enough to admit it.

    That’s projection.
    Last time I looked this RC had the support of Pell, together with both sides of politics.
    This is a pattern that’s developed worldwide. It’s hardly an anti-Catholic crusade. Abuse is antithetical with true Catholic values, as are ecclesiastical hierarchies.

  35. 81Alpha

    Poor old General Duties seems to detest everything he supposedly stands for.
    Get thee to a pissaphone you trumped up, empty-headed, bitter and bile laden dixie basher.
    No-one benefits from your inane and petty drivel, I know what you have scribbled before I ever bother to read it….self hate masquerading as whining social critique.

    For the sake of us all, just slither off into a shell scrape and stay there like the noisome cat crap you are.
    Pass me the tools entrenching.

    Good morning everyone else!

  36. “Ecclesiastical hierarchies”? I guess you don’t believe in Apostolic Succession then, Numbers.

  37. HH

    “Research in this area is sparse, but I doubt you can show evidence for this assertion.”

    OK, so you admit research is sparse. But what research points to Catholic celibate male clergy abusing at higher rates than married people (including clergy), which is what you need for your point to have any traction whatsoever?

  38. sdog

    That’s projection.

    You’re a freaking teacher. I would have thought you’d know what “projection” means.

    Or do you seriously think *I* have an unconscious desire to tear down the Catholic church?

  39. It’s an offence to conceal a crime. When pollies are asked if they support the seal of confessional, what else are they going to say?

  40. Phill

    Minor point. Bob Collins was never the NT Chief Minister. He was the the leader of the opposition in the NT Legislative Assembly from 81 to 86.

  41. And one more for Numbers, then I really am going to work.

    A look at Father Morris’ dismissal.

    He may have been packing them in to the church, but he wasn’t bringing them into the Church.

  42. @HH
    This isn’t research as such, but it backs up my argument.
    @sdog
    I would have no idea what goes on inside your head, and less interest.
    @Nilk
    No – it has no place in the 21st century.
    @TimT
    The confessional issue is a red herring.

  43. Token

    Most children are abused in their homes – not at school. This myth and the hysteria surrounding it is largely responsible for the feminization of the teaching profession.

    I’ve had many disagreements with numbers, but I find this statement is loaded with 2 important truths which I do want to support Numbers for bringing up:

    1. Most children are abused in the home. I have noted some very effective conservatives making a large part of their message working to ensure, where possible, society works to ensure families stay together. (I know there are legitimate reasons for marital breakdown, but a percentage are preventable).

    The probability of a child suffering abuse of any type rises once parents split. Therefore it would seem that a rational society would do everything possible to encourage couples to stay together (and that does not necessary mean money/law).

    2. The feminization of the teaching profession and resulting alienation of adolescent boys is also critical.

  44. Token

    It’s an offence to conceal a crime. When pollies are asked if they support the seal of confessional, what else are they going to say?

    I thought this was addressed well across the weekend. A priest that receives such a confession should not provide absolution until the person deals with the matter in the correct manner.

    If the person is a real catholic who values the sacroment of the confession, such an action would have an effect upon them.

  45. sdog

    Well then Patio Boy, you accused me of “projection” without having the foggiest idea of what that word even means.

    Cripes. Argument #3,992 in favor of homeschooling.

  46. As far as I can see, there have been many more members of the Labor party convicted of child abuse than Catholic Priests.

    Thia absurd and fact free statement has appeared before in threads at this blog (and answered by me) but now appears in a post as well.

    This page compiled by Broken Rites lists more than a hundred cases of priests and brothers in Australia either convicted of, or having reached settlements with, victims of sexual abuse.

    Furthermore, seeing people at this blog are so keen on the handwave about numbers of offenders (but only when it suits them, apparently) – I see there are currently about 31,000 Labor Party members (after losing thousands in recent years), compared to about 3,000 Catholic priests and 900 religious brothers. So, using the calculus of “Catholic priests offend at no worse rates than within the general community”, you ought to be able to turn up many hundreds of Labor offenders going back over the same decades that the Broken Rites page looks at. Hence, citing the case of 4 or 5 Labor Party figures who have been convicted of offences indicates nothing significant about the Party at all.

    And also take note that polling indicates overwhelming support within the community for this Royal Commission. (95%!)

    Catallaxy readers who have problems with this RC decision deserve to know what out of step oddballs they are being.

  47. Token

    As far as I can see, there have been pro-rata many more members elected representatives of the Labor party convicted of child abuse than Catholic Priests

    Fixed for you Steve from Brisbane. This is factually correct and shocking when you think about it!

  48. @Nilk
    That is a link to a highly politicised blog. This is closer to the truth.
    I have lived in Morris’ Diocese for 15 years and know him well. The official reason for his sacking is this letter.
    The words that condemned him were

    we may well need to be much more open

    Very few of his flock in Toowoomba (except for the Temple Police) see this as a sackable offence.
    The Bishop sent from the Curia to investigate (Charles Chaput from Philadelphia) refused to get into a car and travel with him to Cunnamulla to get an idea of the size of the Diocese.
    I was principal of five different special schools in my career. Only once did a bishop ever visit one of my schools. That Bishop was Morris who was trying to find a way to make sure that the Catholic kids with disabilities had the same access to the sacraments as all other children. He succeeded and set up a program which has been very successful.
    This charitable and inclusive practice is not valued by the institutional church. Time it changed.

  49. Good work by Morris on disability issues.

    I imagine Chaput is aware of long distances and big dioceses, having been Abp of Denver (and of Native American blood).

  50. .

    This charitable and inclusive practice is not valued by the institutional church. Time it changed.

    Bullshit. The really faithful take that shit seriously.

  51. Token

    “Progressive” political parties are generally full of lawyers and as a result of their “reforms” the courts get clogged up by actions fuelled by their endless changes of the law and creation of new “rights”.

    The Australian notes how this wonderful sounding royal commission is turning into a feeding frenzy for the ambulance chasers:

    Legal firms circle child abuse probe as victims could swamp royal commission

  52. Rabz

    Legal firms circle child abuse probe as victims could swamp royal commission

    That’s a whole bunch of repressed false memories looming…

    What a sham.

  53. Rococo Liberal

    As a lawyer who has heard quite a few confessions over the years, I worry that if the sanctity of the Catholic sacriment of confession is destroyed, the right of a lawyer to keep confidential communications received rom his client (legal professionbal privilege) will soon be attacked also.

    I can just see the ALP and their luvvie mates mounting a campaign along the lines that child abuse is so heinous a crime that any lawyer whose client who admits such an offence in confidence should be required to disclose that information to the authorities.

    I can just hear the weasel words escaping from Roxon’s lips: “It’s for the children.”

  54. candy

    Nor sure about “repressed memories” looming but perhaps vindictiveness to get at someone, nothing to do with any abuse issues, just maliciousness. Hoes does RC sort that out, I wonder.
    not every claim can be genuine?

  55. By the way – there have been many ALP figures – including Roxon, and people that would be considered political enemies of Labor (David Marr on Insiders yesterday) who have been making cautious statements that the issue of evidence from confession is a very, very small part of the matter.

    You have also had people like Christopher Pyne (I think a practicing Catholic?) say that he thinks the confessional should be no protection in these cases.

    There is no uniform or concerted effort from Laborites to make this into a big issue.

  56. Rabz

    Are the Coalition able to shut this insane, idiotic witch hunt down after they win the next election?

    A Royal Commission into the unions and the actions of this current sham of a ‘government’ makes a lot more sense.

  57. James Bauer

    The law should not compel acts; it should not punish non-action. Anyone who believes in freedom and liberty should be against forcing anyone to report child-abuse.

    But I think it’s even more so when you bring religion in to it. Forcing priests to break laws of their religion is something we should not go near. It’s that simple.

    For the record, I’m agnostic. I think it’s unfortunate Abbott is too much of a pussy to stand up for anything he believes in, yet again.

  58. “Political enemies of the Coalition” of course is what I meant re David Marr.

  59. dover_beach

    Sfb, you conflate ALP official or MP with member and thus ruin your analogy.

  60. samuel j

    steve I have been writing about criminal convictions. That is the only relevant statistic unless you assert that Australia’s criminal justice system is flawed. More Labor MPs have been thrown in jail than Catholic priests. That is the only relevant statistics. There are far more Catholic priests than Labor MPs who have been convicted of the crime of child abuse. Asserting wildly implausible statistics is joining a lynch mob. I haven’t seen evidence to support your assertions. If you have evidence against priests who have not been charged, it is your duty to turn it over to the DPP.

  61. Anyone who believes in freedom and liberty should be against forcing anyone to report child-abuse.

    How much freedom and liberty do you think an abused child has?
    Unbelievable…

  62. sdog

    Sfb, you conflate ALP official or MP with member and thus ruin your analogy.

    Exactly. He’d have to compare number of p*’s amongst rank and file members of the ALP (31,000) with number of p*’s amongst rank and file members of the Catholic church (5.7 million), if he wants to go that route. And I don’t think the courts track either political or religious affiliation in their crime stats.

  63. cohenite

    Interesting thread.

    As a general rule a secular society should have its laws obeyed by the religions which it allows to exist within its legal framework.

    The Catholic confessional is a cutting edge example of this; another is Sharia particulars, another aboriginal law; non-religious examples include legal professional privilege as is a journalist’s sources; a particular topical example, which may or may not be religious is whether PM’s should be above the law as apparently someone thinks Gillard should be.

    Why should one position be any different from another? So, if you allow latitude to one situation being above the law – that is not compelling priests to report crimes confessed – aren’t you logically bound to allow others.

  64. Ed Snack

    Also worth noting that the “child abuse is about power not sex” is a narrative, not necessarily the truth. It is part of the feminist explanation of behaviour and is designed to serve that end. However the underlying behavioural traits revealed in such actions are complex and not easily reduced to simplistic parroting about power. Oddly enough, sex is involved in there somewhere. A warped and distorted sense of sexual behaviour, but most definitely sexual behaviour is involved.

    Tring to understand child sexual abuse purely along power is part of the problem in dealing with it in recent times. Misdiagnosis for political reasons have become a roadblock in the effective recognition and treatment.

  65. sdog

    Looking at Numbers’ list, an awful lot of those child sex abusers seem to have been teachers. Seems to me like that’s a big area of institutional danger to minors: with teachers of any stripe, not just Catholic ones. If this is really about “protecting children”, why are we ignoring all the children at risk from Protestant, Hindu, Muslim and Atheist teachers? Don’t we care about them?

  66. More Labor MPs have been thrown in jail than Catholic priests. That is the only relevant statistics. There are far more Catholic priests than Labor MPs who have been convicted of the crime of child abuse.

    I can’t even work out what you’re saying now. Do you think (priests) are being convicted but not sent to jail.

    Why don’t you try reading my previous link to see how wrong you are? There’s not much sign you have bothered.

  67. Up The Workers!

    It seems to me that what the Catholic Church lacks, is the A.L.P.’s remarkable ability to make official Government, Court, Law Firm and Judicial records disappear when they contain evidence of blatant criminal behaviour allegedly attributed to the most disgraceful Prime Minister the country has ever had.

    The Catholic Church also lacks the A.L.P.’s ability to appoint corrupt former members to high Judicial Tribunals as a bribe to buy their silence or “look after the little mates” when they transgress in the future.

    It would also help if the Catholic Church had a tribe of brown-tongued propagandists and fact-phobics like the A.L.P.B.C., Fauxfacts and other such ‘grovel-rash sufferers’ spreading lies and hatred whilst covering up blatant criminal behaviour in their own Party.

    Suffer the little children to come unto an A.L.P. politician!

  68. dd

    Sexual abuse is about power – not sex.

    That’s just a tired 1970′s feminist trope. Just like rape is not really about sex either.

    Nope, they both are; just as armed robbery is fundamentally about money, and conquest is about power. Ockham’s razor applies. It certainly appears to be about sex, so the onus is on you to prove otherwise. Because I say there’s nothing more to it than it’s about unscrupulous people getting what they want and not caring about the consequences for others.

  69. sdog

    There’s also the media. They’re a bit of a worry too, in their propensity for crime.

  70. “If sexual abuse is about power and not sex why is one of the apparent solutions to the problem within the RC Church is allowing clergy to marry?”

    D’oh! Numbers lead straight into what he wants the church to be without making the necessary connection. Easy pickings.

  71. C.L.

    It is completely unbiblical (there is no such thing or service anywhere in the New Testament) …

    The New Testament:

    “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    - Matthew 16:19

  72. C.L.

    On all these threads, it should be pointed out that the Labor Party is the only political party in the world whose members have chosen no fewer than three leaders jailed for raping children.

  73. Misdiagnosis for political reasons have become a roadblock in the effective recognition and treatment.

    Child abuse is not a “narrative” to be construed for political advantage. It is a crime – no more no less. What makes it important is the potential that it has to wreck lives and lead into chronic mental illness.

  74. Jannie

    Anybody who thinks they can compel a priest to break the trust of confession is an ignorant authoritarian, in lockstep with the dictators of the 1930s. I wish such a stupid suggestion was actually enforcable. I would love to see the luvvies locking up priests like their heroes did. I reckon most of the priests would enjoy it too.

  75. C.L.

    It is a crime – no more no less. What makes it important is the potential that it has to wreck lives and lead into chronic mental illness.

    All good reasons to keep your children away from any parliamentary leader of the Labor Party.

  76. Tom

    Child abuse is not a “narrative” to be construed for political advantage.

    You reckon??? Not even for a walking dead PM desperate for distractions from her incompetence? What do you suppose McTernan has been doing for the past month? Nothing else, I’d guess.

  77. ” people that would be considered political enemies of Labor (David Marr on Insiders yesterday)”

    You mean Labor luvvie David Marr? That David Marr?

    Hahahahahahahahaha!!!

  78. Kruddler

    Ed Snack – agreed. If it was only about power, then why not just beat the victim up or mentally torture them? Sex has to be a major part.

  79. Rococo Liberal

    “Political enemies of the Coalition” of course is what I meant re David Marr.

    Marr is only capable of being an enemy to good sense.

  80. ““Political enemies of the Coalition” of course is what I meant re David Marr.

    steve from brisbane
    19 Nov 12 at 9:48 am”

    Oh, okay. Your original post was just ridiculous. Can I just add that I think Marr is a pompous fool?

  81. Rococo Liberal

    Can I just add that I think Marr is a pompous fool?

    Yes, you can add that. It needs to be said often, to ensure that Marr remains the laughing stock he already is amongst thinking people.

  82. Rococo Liberal

    I find this whole child abuse furore rather unsettling. On the one hand we have the constant thrust from all sides, but mostly from the left, that sex must be out in the open and that everyone should be free to copulate with anyone at any time. On the other hand we have a more puritanical than ever approach to any hint of child sex abuse, so much so that parents are banned from taking photos of children at school events.

    If there has been an increase in sexual assault against children in the last 20 years, could it be a corollary of the collapse of sexual morality amongst adults?

  83. “Looking at Numbers’ list, an awful lot of those child sex abusers seem to have been teachers. ”

    I remember my brother complaining that his PE teacher at school liked to perve at the kids in the shower when he was in High School. Back in the 70s, it was normal for such things to be disbelieved. Who knows whether he molested anyone and got away with it because of the prevailing attitude of the day?

  84. Lysander Spooner

    1735099

    Liberation theology is a perversion of Christianity. That Christians (Catholics) rise up violently against oppressors, become murderous and torturous? You say “your Church?” You obviously haven’t read the Gospel where a bloke called JC didn’t rise up violently against the system? Liberation Theology has been thrown out by successive pope after pope – I don’t know what Church you belong to but it maybe it is Scientology?

  85. Lysander Spooner

    CL – I think your comments/insight is the elephant in the room :-)

  86. Louis Hissink

    It reduces to the principle of recognising and observing individual rights.

    Equally Humans are those who abstain from instinctive behaviour – meaning that those who don’t, are animals. Child sex abusers are hence? and should be treated as such.

    But if your culture doesn’t respect individual rights, which means property rights etc. etc. in the first place, then what would one expect from such a culture – the mess we are presently in based on the abnegation of individual rights.

  87. Jannie

    Can I just add that I think Marr is a pompous fool?

    Only to the extent that the Pope is a Catholic.

  88. Rococo Liberal

    Equally Humans are those who abstain from instinctive behaviour – meaning that those who don’t, are animals. Child sex abusers are hence? and should be treated as such.

    Eating is instinctive behaviour, as is sex or running aeway from predators. None of these is criminal. I ould suggest that child abuse is not instinctive behaviour.

    Looks like your arguiment falls down Louis

  89. Chris

    If there has been an increase in sexual assault against children in the last 20 years, could it be a corollary of the collapse of sexual morality amongst adults?

    Or it may just be the case that there have been more official reports of sexual abuse in the last 20 years rather than more sexual abuse. Certainly there were many children in the past who tried to report abuse, but were simply not believed, or the perpetrators were protected.

    One of the reasons for having the RC is to learn from the past to ensure that current legislation and policies of private and public institutions minimise the chance of abuse as well as increase the probability that reports of abuse are taken seriously and referred to the correct authorities.

    btw journalists have no legal protection for protecting their sources do they? They just accept that they may go to jail if required by law to disclose a source.

    As to whether priests confess to child abuse or not:

    “There was one priest in Victoria who admitted when caught that he had confessed 200 times and nobody had reported him, because priests are not allowed to report anyone who confesses in a confessional.”

    Priests are not subject to mandatory reporting laws so they don’t have to report child abusers who confess to them. Generally, a priest who receives such a confession is meant to convince the abuser to report themselves to authorities.

    Across Australia people such as doctors, nurses and teachers, who work with children, have to report child abuse but no Australian state or territory has included priests in their mandatory reporting requirements.

    Given how much contact clergy have with children, it seems to make sense to add them to the list of people who are required to report child abuse.

  90. C.L.

    One of the bona fide darlings of the left is Roman Polanski. Actors like Harrison Ford, amongst any others, flock to appear in his Paris-based movies.

  91. Infidel tiger

    As a parent you would be crazy to leave your child in the care of an ABC employee or ALP member. The risks are far too great.

  92. You obviously haven’t read the Gospel where a bloke called JC didn’t rise up violently against the system?

    Really?
    I’ve read Matthew 21:12 – something about throwing money lenders out of the temple, remember?
    John 23rd (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) was OK with Liberation Theology. It only became an issue with the Vatican when it identified members of the Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as belonging to the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations since the arrival of Pizarro onward.

  93. Ivan Denisovich

    One of the bona fide darlings of the left is Roman Polanski.

    http://www.thesydneyinstitute.com.au/media-watch-dog-issue-55/

  94. Ivan Denisovich

    One of the bona fide darlings of the left is Roman Polanski.

  95. Gab

    Wow, this Royal Commission is going to have some far reaching terms of reference…South America…

  96. sdog

    Thanks for that link, Ivan. It confirms my suspicions. So why aren’t we having an inquiry into why so many schoolteachers rape kids, and what we can do to protect kids from sick teachers, rather than just a witch hunt against Catholics?

    Could it be that it’s more about a Labor vendetta than about actual child welfare?

  97. As far as I can see, there have been pro-rata many more members elected representatives of the Labor party convicted of child abuse than Catholic Priests

    Fixed for you Steve from Brisbane. This is factually correct and shocking when you think about it!

    No, even that is not clear.

    There are about 800 State and Federal politicians in Australia.

    Assuming on average that about half of those are Labor, you have (very roughly) about 1/10 of the number of Labor politicians (not including local government ones) compared to Catholic clergy, including brothers (about 4000 in total, as per my previous comment).

    Looking at the Broken Rites list of 151 criminal prosecutions, the rate of Labor MP offending still looks to be well under the rate of clergy offending.

    That Labor has had these convictions is obviously no source of pride to them – on the other hand, if CL wants to say facetiously that people ought to keep their children away from Labor politicians for this reason, there is no reason at all as to why he should criticise anyone who says parents should keep their children away from Catholic priests.

  98. C.L.

    John 23rd (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) was OK with Liberation Theology.

    No. He wasn’t.

  99. @sdog

    so many schoolteachers rape kids

    How many, precisely?

  100. C.L.

    CBS points out that, historically, state school teachers are absolutely the worst abusers of children.

  101. Lysander Spooner

    1735099

    He rose up in the temple against improper use of the temple (and if you know anything you would understand that the temple if YOUR body). Anyway, this isn’t a place for theological discourse.

    Your blog sucks by the way. I can believe I gifted you a hit on that site!

  102. Jarrah

    “the right of a lawyer to keep confidential communications received from his client (legal professional privilege) will soon be attacked also.”

    Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s3ZQR

  103. Sinclair Davidson

    Gentlepeople – idle speculation about which professions do and don’t molest children adds no value to our mutual objective that children are not molested and those who do molest them are hunted down by the police and incarcerated. Let’s not turn children into political footballs.

  104. Jannie

    There was one priest in Victoria who admitted when caught that he had confessed 200 times and nobody had reported him, because priests are not allowed to report anyone who confesses in a confessional.”

    That just too hard to believe, and sounds more like the bleatings of somebody who is trying to avoid personal responsibility for their crimes.

    A priest cannot give absolution unless the confesser is truly penitent and is resolved to sin no more.

    Any priest who hears such a confession from another priest has an obligation to help the sinner manage the situation to ensure the sin is not repeated. As a first step the sinner must remove himself from temptation, the second step is to post help to the victim, the third is penance and redemption. If the priest who hears such a confession does not act to prevent recurrence, the priest then becomes guilty of the sin.

  105. Chris

    Thanks for that link, Ivan. It confirms my suspicions. So why aren’t we having an inquiry into why so many schoolteachers rape kids, and what we can do to protect kids from sick teachers, rather than just a witch hunt against Catholics?

    Err, that would be why the inquiry will cover public and private institutions like schools and religious organisations other than just the Catholic Church? That was very clear from the announcement.

    The Anglicans have welcomed the inquiry. Interestingly Dr Aspinall says that he believes priests can report matters to police if the person who confesses does not go to the police themselves.

    I wonder if Pell will also take a similar view?

    Dr Aspinall told The Weekend Australian that pastoral guidelines for Anglican priests already stipulated that anyone who admitted sexually abusing a child during confession would not receive forgiveness unless they agreed to go to the police.

    If the penitent refused, the confession was incomplete and, arguably, the seal of the confessional would not apply.

    Only specified, senior priests could hear such confessions in the Anglican Church, Dr Aspinall said. “These priests are specially trained to require the penitent to report the matter to the police and even go with them to support them while they do that,” he said.

  106. C.L.

    Ivan’s Hendo link:

    Age readers would have got the message. Or would they? On 20 May The Age reprinted (yet) again another article from The Guardian – this one from author Robert Harris. Believe it or not, Harris used the space to defend his mate Roman Polanski who is wanted in the United States for a sexual assault on a 13 year old girl. As documented by Bill Y. Wynan in Salon.com on 19 February 2009, Polanski anally raped the girl – after drugging his victim.

    Harris’ apologia-for-anal-rape-of-a-13-year-old-girl – as published in The Age – contains reference to a dogmatic trial judge, a “lynch mob” and reference to the fact that the victim has forgiven her attacker. Also, Robert Harris expressed sympathy with Polanski. So let Roman go free then.

    So the Age regards a child rapist as a misunderstood victim and hero.

  107. In 1962, Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) to try to adapt the Christian message to a modern world.
    In the late summer of 1968, the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) met in Medellín, Colombia, with the purpose of applying the concepts of Vatican II to Latin America.The outcome was a document that would ultimately be the basis for liberation theology and give the church authority to become involved in social change.
    The Catholic Church made the Medellín document an official document of the Church. Although liberation theology grew out of these officially recognized ideas, the Medellín document is not a liberation theology document. It did, however, lay the groundwork, and since then liberation theology has developed rapidly in the Latin American Catholic church.
    Much of this happened after John 23rd’s death, but he supported the spirit of the movement. What came later from the Vatican was a reaction to threats to vested interest in the heirarchy of the church in South America.

  108. C.L.

    The Anglicans have welcomed the inquiry.

    After the Hollingworth debacle, I’m not surprised.

    Interestingly Dr Aspinall says that he believes priests can report matters to police if the person who confesses does not go to the police themselves.

    His opinion on the subject is irrelevant.

  109. Andreas

    If there has been an increase in sexual assault against children in the last 20 years, could it be a corollary of the collapse of sexual morality amongst adults?

    Illegitimate children are more likely to be abused than those born within marriage, so with increased promiscuity and the continued decline of the institution of marriage we can expect the sexual abuse of children to increase. In short, leftists rail against the Catholic Church for cases of abuse while their own policies and ideology contribute to conditions that encourage child sex abuse on a much greater scale.

  110. Chris

    Any priest who hears such a confession from another priest has an obligation to help the sinner manage the situation to ensure the sin is not repeated. As a first step the sinner must remove himself from temptation, the second step is to post help to the victim, the third is penance and redemption. If the priest who hears such a confession does not act to prevent recurrence, the priest then becomes guilty of the sin.

    So what do they do if the only way to prevent a recurrence (because the confessor does not change their behaviour) is to break the seal of the confession then it is acceptable in those circumstances?

  111. Chris

    His opinion on the subject is irrelevant.

    I would have thought it would be rather relevant to Anglican priests?

  112. sdog

    Err, that would be why the inquiry will cover public and private institutions like schools and religious organisations other than just the Catholic Church?

    Suuuuure, buddy. Just like the Media Inquiry was promised to be not just a witch-hunt against News Ltd., yet it was.

    Your faith in your political masters is adorable but misplaced.

  113. sdog

    From your link, Chris:

    “Churches are psychologically attractive to sex offenders because they can ask for forgiveness one day and offend again on another day,” she said.

    Oh come on. I’m not a Catholic, but I doubt their rules are any different. When I ask the Big Guy for forgiveness, I have to genuinely REPENT.

    Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

    John 8:11, “…go, and sin no more.”

    You can’t just say, “Hey, whoops, sorry ’bout that” to God, knowing full well you have every intention of doing it again… and if you believe that you can you must have failed Sunday School.

  114. C.L.

    Much of this happened after John 23rd’s death, but he supported the spirit of the movement.

    No no. He didn’t. John was an uncomplictad Italian country priest who hated communism or anything smelling of it.

    The Decree against Communism is a 1949 Catholic Church document (by Pope Pius XII) which excommunicates all Catholics collaborating in communist organizations. The document resulted in one of the largest formal excommunications in the history of the Catholic Church (it could include more than several million Catholics)…

    The decree was confirmed in 1962 by Pope John XXIII when it was announced that Fidel Castro would be excommunicated for embracing Communism and persecuting members of the Catholic Church.

  115. Viva

    then falsely accuses Lord McAlpine of such an abuse without any evidence

    They accused an unnamed minister in Thatcher’s government – the rumour mill did the rest.

  116. Jannie

    So what do they do if the only way to prevent a recurrence (because the confessor does not change their behaviour) is to break the seal of the confession then it is acceptable in those circumstances?

    Its not a perfect system Chris, and it boils down to the conscience of the sinner. If a sinner goes to confession he has consciousness of the sin, and can be reasoned with to some extent. Your idea that “the only way to prevent recurrence is to break the seal” is a self justifying proposition and leaves no room for discussion.

  117. John was an uncomplictad (sic) Italian country priest who hated communism

    Liberation theology is not Communism.
    I doubt Roncalli had any hate in his soul. His humanitarian efforts as Papal Nuncio in helping those persecuted by the Nazis, most of whom were Jewish, were recognised in September 2000 by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. His concern for the oppressed was a feature of his papacy, and was the wellspring for Liberation theology.

  118. Ivan Denisovich

    I wonder if Pell will also take a similar view?

    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/seal-of-confession-and-virtue-of.html

    “Reconciliation Rooms”. Too many priests display a contempt for penitant anonymity in the confessional that was a given decades ago, afaik. The Church would help itself by addressing this. Clerics first, social workers second.

  119. Lysander Spooner

    Without starting a whole new thread – has anyone thought about our “sick” society in general? The reification of children who are dressed up like adults by the time they are 12 (or younger!). My daughter is six and she won’t be wearing any “provocative” clothing in my house!

  120. Gab

    wOW this royal commission has some far reaching terms of reference…nazis and 1939…

  121. DaveF

    There was a notorious bloke named Dolly Dunn.

    He was prolific and was a teacher who worked at a Catholic school.

    Just saying.

  122. nilk

    Lysander @12.29, my daughter is 10 and it is endlessly frustrating to go shopping for clothes. Unfortunately, I’m craptastic at sewing, so I have to keep searching.

    The jeans are too low-cut, the tops too short, and padded bikini bras for 6yos? That’s another rant – the poor lass at the checkout copped a serve for that bit of crap.

  123. sdog

    He was prolific and was a teacher who worked at a Catholic school.

    Another teacher? Cripes.

  124. @sdog

    Another teacher? Cripes.

    Still waiting for the statistics – or do you just have an obsession with teachers?
    Suggest you reread Sinc 11.46.

  125. nilk

    Back on topic, a priest who breaks the Seal is himself committing a mortal sin. He places his own soul in jeopardy.

    That so many people no longer recognise the concepts of “sin” or “evil” (although “good” seems to be an ongoing thing), they honestly cannot grasp what the Confessional is actually about.

    We can talk about the all-encompassing universal energy that flows through us, talk about Gaia and the feelings of ‘the earth’, and grant every other damned belief system on the planet their quirks, but when it comes to christianity? Especially catholicism? We’re just a bunch of imbeciles who need to be controlled lest we pray too hard at people.

    And we can’t be trusted because we might say no too many times or suggest that certain behaviours are wrong for specific reasons and thus hurt some petal’s feelings.

    Who knew we were so all-powerful?

  126. The confessional issue is a beat-up. It’s being used to sell papers and elevate ratings. As has been pointed out above, it can be managed.
    FCOL, isn’t it just possible that it’s a good idea for the government to attempt to deal with what is a blight on my church and our community?
    Perhaps a few of you just need one of these.

  127. nilk

    As I like to quote, “nobody kicks a dead dog”.

  128. sdog

    Suggest you reread Sinc 11.46.

    Suggest you do the same, and drop the priest-bashing.

    It should be about “our mutual objective that children are not molested and those who do molest them are hunted down by the police and incarcerated” – not to single out one profession for burning at the stake just because you have a chip on your shoulder about them.

    I had hoped that by my pointing out that we could just as easily focus on one characteristic many institutional sex fiends seem to have in common as another, you’d get the point eventually. Alas, I was probably a little too subtle.

  129. priest-bashing

    None of my posts were priest bashing. I have been consistently critical of power heirarchies.
    On the other hand, you have four posts above specifically referring to teachers.

  130. Chris M

    a priest who breaks the Seal is himself committing a mortal sin. He places his own soul in jeopardy.

    What, how so? Can you give us a Bible reference that defines ‘breaking the confessional seal’ as a ‘mortal sin’?

    The Catholic confessional is not a Christian service and is not mentioned in the New Testament. It was set up by the RCC to extort money and to keep useful information particularly on prominent and wealthy people.

  131. It was set up by the RCC to extort money

    Tin-foil hat required!

  132. Chris M

    Illegitimate children are more likely to be abused than those born within marriage

    Yes, this is sadly true. And the statistics on the children of homosexual parents show abuse at six time the level of normal hetero parents. All stuff this Royal Commission will dig into I’m sure….

  133. Chris M

    Numbers, only a knowledge of history.

  134. C.L.

    Numbers, Roncalli never heard the phrase “liberation theology” – which was coined at least ten years after his death.

    Stop talking crap.

  135. Roncalli lived and breathed liberation, whether he used the term or not is immaterial. He was never one of the clique, and a very different kettle of fish from his successors. The 1965 Vatican document “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Age”) is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. It was promulgated after his death, because the machinery in the Curia moved greviously slow, but it was his work.
    He had an open an inclusive view of mankind, and an absolute devotion to the poor and oppressed. He moved the church into the 20th century. Unfortunately, his successors, especially the current pope, have not had his courage or compassion, and have been, on the whole, politicians rather than pastors.

  136. Scapula

    I placed this in the wrong thread:

    A Catholic terrorist enters the confessional at 10 am and tells a priest he has committed an act of terrorism by planting a bomb on an aircraft and that he has planted another bomb to go off at 6 pm that same day.

    He is now having second thoughts, but feels he must go through with it, and craves the Priest for absolution for his misdeeds.

    Does the priest simply advise him to report himself to authorities if he wants absolution?

    Tick! Tick! Tick!

  137. And the statistics on the children of homosexual parents show abuse at six time the level of normal hetero parents.

    ? Link please?

    I know Samuel set an example in this post for saying whatever one likes about abuse with no regard to facts at all, so I would like to know the basis of this claim.

  138. Lysander Spooner

    CL – Agreed. 1735099 sounds like one of “those” types of “catholics” the ABC has on. Next 1735099 will be telling us that PJXXIII wanted female and gay priests but he was killed by the hierarchy!

    I don’t know why any moron would listen to 1735099 who says “the current pope” does not have this compassion!!!? What an idiot! (no I don’t have compassion for people like 1735099).

    Go back to your lefty blog that you write and count up the ten people who visit it monthly.

  139. one of “those” types of “catholics”

    What a strange binary world you inhabit. Suggest you look up the dictionary meaning of Catholic.

    1.broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.
    2.universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.

  140. Lysander Spooner

    1735099 – Does “Roman Catholic” suit your resort to semantics better? Having attended a roman catholic school, worked at a (roman) Cath Ed Office, studied theology at a (roman) Catholic university, taught at a roman catholic school and now teaching at the same (roman) Catholic university – I would never have realised!

    Your resort to semantics exposes your shallowness. The Jesuits and Marxists are the only ones who push Liberation Theology to this day (and misguided Micks such as yourself). You and Bill Morris are absolute tools. If you don’t like “your Church” as you call it – leave! As, it is not “yours” at all!

    You are worse than a sectarian – you are a traitor!

  141. HH

    Scapula, no easy answers here, but:

    First, if the terrorist “feels he must go through with it”, then he is clearly not sorry for his sin there and then in the confessional, and the priest will simply not be able to absolve him, regardless as to whether he intends to turn himself into the authorities later.

    Second, if the priest is able to warn the authorities of the bomb without in any way identifying the terrorist “penitent”, then, in my opinion, he may do so. The relevant Canon is No. 983, which states “…it is absolutely wrong for any confessor to betray a penitent for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion.” So, if he can warn of the bomb without divulging the identity of the penitent either directly or by implication, then it seems to me this can and should be done. (Perhaps he could put in an anonymous phone call.)

    One can easily imagine other circumstances in which, though, this leeway might be impossible. Suppose the penitent “confesses” that he is about to stab the priest in the confessional. Is the priest permitted under Canon 983 to remove himself quickly, and call on other penitents lining up to help him overcome and subdue the threatening penitent? I’d say not, as it “betrays” the penitent. The priest must observe the seal, even if it means his death. The movie “I Confess”, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, has another scenario. It should be compulsory viewing for those untutored in the Church’s teaching and law on this matter.

  142. Alice

    Lysander says “one of those types of catholics?”

    I thought you might have meant deathbed catholics.

    We have had a couple of those in our family.

  143. It seems to me that the Lying Slappers wriggling and thrashing on the hook have just about reached its climax.
    The end must be near, surely?
    One can only shout ‘Lalalalala’ with ones fingers in their ears for so long.

  144. SteveC

    Why the focus on what the Labor party thinks about the “seal of confession”? Didn’t anyone listen to what Tony Abbott said on the subject:

    “”If they become aware of sexual offences against children, those legal requirements must be adhered to,” he said.

    “Everyone has to obey the law, regardless of what position they hold.” Asked if that applied to priests, Mr Abbott said: “Indeed.”"

  145. Didn’t anyone listen to what Tony Abbott said on the subject…

    Or Christopher Pyne, as I pointed out before.

    And I have heard Roxon, Tony Burke and (the usually considered a “Lefty” by people here) Waleed Aly all cautioning that this is not the main issue.

    But no – it’s all about Lefty’s wanting to violate Church laws, or something…

  146. Steve of Glasshouse

    Tiger wrote ” As a parent you would be crazy to leave your child in the care of an ABC employee or ALP member. The risks are far too great.”

    Heck yes. Drop off your genius child in the .am, pick up a dribbling idiot in the p.m. That’s the worry..

    Steve.

  147. mundi

    I can already tell what the outcome will be: Not enough to prosecute anyone (or better yet drag out cases for years costing $$$$), but the commission will find that there needs to be a new government department, with tonnes of new social workers to go around and monitor children absolutely everywhere. All for the children of course.

  148. Samuel J

    Who really knows the extent of the problem? Doubtless there are child abusers in society. But are they more numerous than in the past? My key point is that there is a high risk of defaming / damning someone with a false allegation. There are genuine victims, and those who imagine that they are victims. Their evidence will be of mixed value – since it is often many years since the alleged offence.

    I went to a Catholic boys school. I know some that claim to have been abused – yet I never, ever, saw any abuse from the teachers at my school. On no occasion did any teachers abuse me. So I’m naturally skeptical that other students in my year were subject to abuse. Perhaps I was naive and didn’t notice signs of abuse of my fellow students. I just don’t know. My memory of the time was that the biggest threat was being bullied by a fellow student – there were a couple of notorious offenders in that respect.

  149. DrBeauGan

    Digits, the sad fact that you consistently misspell the word ‘hierarchies’ tells us all we need to know of your teaching skills.

  150. Samuel J

    Digits is three short of a prime.

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