A ROYAL COMMISSION AND THE GATES OF HELL
This post first appeared in November, 2012, we repeat it to set the scene for some further comments as the Mid December, 2017 release of the Royal Commission's Report approaches.
The recent announcement by Australia's damaged Prime Minister Julia Gillard that a Royal Commission is to be set up to examine all sorts of institutional abuse of children from whatever source has opened the Gates of Hell and every screaming anti-Church demon has come hurtling out to attack the Catholic Church and everything about her.
Like most Australians (95% the polls tell us) I strongly support the Royal Commission. Though according to the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC known by some as the GayBC) there is growing concern that the Commission will be too inclusive. Of course, they would like to confine it to the Catholic Church, or Churches only)
And those demons found no lack of human forms to serve their purpose. The army of active abortionists, guilt-ridden aborters, active homosexuals, same-sex "marriage" advocates, radical feminists, once were Catholics, embryonic stem cell research advocates and IVF operators etc.was at their disposal.The storm of slavering hatred that erupted in the media comments areas, and even the skewing of Press headlines and selection of photographs in the press, Google Images and on TV all went to push the anti-Church line. They needed a symbolic and truly iconic target and found it in Cardinal George Pell . After all, this is the man who has said :
" All I do is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches, and do what the Catholic Church does, and let the chips fall where they may."
His close identification in the same way, with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, added to his suitability.
Logic went out the window, and the media commentary became a blur of hate-filled and loathing phrases, sneers and garbled references. Timelines were deemed irrelevant, and the offenses of those long dead committed up to 50 years ago, were wheeled out to beat the Church up. Strong corrective measures taken by the Church and praised in the past by an earlier Royal Commission were roughly handled, distorted or ignored. Not really a pleasant spectacle.
But by the weekend, some factors reminded us that "the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against" the Church established by Jesus Christ.It is, after all, His Mystical Body in the unforgettable words of Saint Paul.
In the secular press, THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN no less, there appeared a longish, carefully worded, logical and reasonable article by Peter Craven who, Google searching shows us, is an accomplished media writer and social commentator.The article may be accessed by visiting The AUSTRALIAN'S Website and is entitled " A Step into the Crucible".
Responding to the vileness of the attack he says in part:
"The kind of evangelical atheism that sees any form of religious belief - but especially Christian belief - as life-denying and degrading is naturally inclined to take the crimes of a small fraction of Catholic Priests and brothers not as aberrations but as quintessential, if extreme, expressions of the delusion that religious adherence represents.
This form of anti-clericalism is objectively crazy, quite apart from any question of belief or non-belief. It would be universally condemned, for instance, if it were applied in the same way to Muslims or Buddhists."
And again :
" We should disown as intellectually contemptible any tendency we have to think of religious people as perverts because they are religious. The danger of doing this in a society such as Australia- so much less church-going than the U.S. for instance, - is added to by our tendency toward conformism. Dreadful instances of sexual abuse involving the church do not prove that the church is a corrupt institution; nor do the abundant examples of mistaken handling of the problem."
There is much more of clear thinking and careful analysis in the article.
Then came this from The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference:
" The President and Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, on behalf of the Australian Bishops, support the announcement by the Prime Minister of a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in our community. This is a serious issue not just for the Catholic Church but for the whole community. As Catholic bishops and as individuals we share the feelings of horror and outrage which all decent people feel when they read the reports of sexual abuse and allegations of cover ups.
Over the past 20 years, there have been major developments in the way the Church responds to victims, deals with perpetrators and puts in place preventive measures. In addition, there is a much greater general awareness of the issue of paedophilia in the broader community.
Sexual abuse of children is not confined to the Catholic Church. Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organisations. We believe a Royal Commission will enable an examination of the issues associated with child abuse nationally, and identify measures for better preventing and responding to child abuse in our society.
We have taken decisive steps in the past 20 years to make child safety a priority and to help victims of abuse. This includes working closely with police.
While there were significant problems concerning some dioceses and some religious orders, talk of a systemic problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is ill-founded and inconsistent with the facts.
To assist in determining the appropriate scope of the Royal Commission, it would be very useful for police and child protection authorities to release the information they have about the number of cases they are dealing with now and the situations which they have arisen: families, government organisations and non-government organisations, including churches. In NSW it would also be helpful to highlight when the offences occurred and, in particular, whether they occurred pre or post the Wood Royal Commission in the 1990s, and the rigorous child protection regime put in place after it.
We deeply regret the suffering and trauma endured by children who have been in the Church’s care, and the effect on their families. Mistakes were made and we apologise to victims and their families for these failures.
Much of the public discussion is about how the Church dealt with cases 20 or more years ago. Critics talk as though earlier failures are still prevalent. Major procedural changes in dealing with these matters have been implemented by the Church since then.
It is unjust and inappropriate to suggest crimes are being – or have been – committed, without producing evidence; without asking those accused for their responses before making generalised slurs.
It is unacceptable, because it is untrue, to claim that the Catholic Church does not have proper procedures, and to claim that Catholic authorities refuse to cooperate with the police.
As we have welcomed the opportunity to cooperate with the Inquiries announced in Victoria and NSW, and to address issues that have been raised – both justified and unjustified – we are also ready to cooperate with this Royal Commission. We look forward to consultations with the Government on the terms of reference.
Well stated , balanced and firm - all good.
|His Eminence Cardinal George Pell|
Archbishop of Sydney
And finally,short , sharp and to the point Cardinal Pell ,as usual , hits the nail on the head!:
" By + Cardinal George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney
12 November 2012
12 November 2012
Cardinal Pell was a signatory today to the statement of the Catholic Bishops of Australia supporting a Royal Commission into sexual abuse across the community.
As a supplement in support of that statement, Cardinal Pell made the following remarks:
"Public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic Church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse. Ongoing and at times one sided media coverage has deepened this uncertainty. This is one of the reasons for my support for this Royal Commission.
I welcome the Prime Minister's announcement. I believe the air should be cleared and the truth uncovered. We shall co-operate fully with the Royal Commission."
Unfortunately, the Royal Commission will turn out to be a lawyers' feast, and already the Law firms that specialise in " supporting victims" of anything and everything are advertising for anyone with a story to tell to approach them to "represent" them on a no fee without success compensation basis. Lawyers seeking to turn any tragedy into cash - not only for the victims.
But in all of this, who will stand up for the falsely accused? Who will in fact stand up for the accused to see that they too get justice in the process of determining guilt or innocence? Too often we find in these times accused Priests are abandoned to the wolves with no hope of support as Dioceses rush to settle cases . Justice for Priests accused is scarcely to be found - and not a few have been found to be innocent after years in Prison.
It will take courage , but let God's justice truly be done.