Another day in Australia, and another shocking child abuse revelation. Yesterday The Age published the article which stated:
A GROUP of 15 religious brothers led by an “alpha paedophile” is suspected of the unreported deaths of two boys and the sexual abuse of more than 40 others.
The victims – abused over three decades – include wards of the state cared for by the brothers in homes for the mentally impaired, a state parliamentary inquiry into child abuse is expected to be told. Seven are believed to have committed suicide.
(“Brothers ‘pack raped’ boys“, The Age, Rory Callinan, 2012-11-10).
The evidence against the catholic church in Australia for having been complicit in the systematic child abuse for decades seems utterly incontrovertible. In Melbourne alone:
AT LEAST one in 20 Catholic priests in Melbourne is a child sex abuser, although the real figure is probably one in 15, the state inquiry into the churches’ handling of sex abuse was told yesterday.
RMIT professor Des Cahill said his figures, based on analysing conviction rates of priests ordained from Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College, closely matched a much larger American analysis of 105,000 priests which found that 4362 were child sex offenders.
(“One in 20 priests an abuser, inquiry told“, The Age, Barney Zwartz, 2012-10-23.)
Yesterday, in frustration over seeing yet another shocking story of abuse, I tweeted the following two comments:
“Why are governments across Australia so reluctant to have full blown royal commissions into child abuse by the catholic church?
“Whether through laziness, perceived vote[r] issues or political fallout, their failure to forcefully act makes them woefully complicit.”
A response I received to this was:
“Scared of backlash from catholic voters? Insulting because surely catholics are as outraged as the rest of the community.”
At the time, I responded:
“More scared of voters who see any investigation into church affairs as some violation. Real violation happens to the kids tho.”
But, here’s the real crux of the matter: where are all these supposed outraged catholics?
I don’t believe there’s any real proof of there being suitably outraged catholics. Particularly of those who still go to church, I label them as being at best indifferent to the abuse this institution has inflicted on innocent Australians.
At best, indifferent. At worst, complicit.
These are people who are sometimes weekly attending church services, listening to priests proclaiming a worldly moral superiority and declaring to own the high-ground in good vs evil. These are people who are nodding while priests are talking about the sins of worldly lust, or the perils to society posed by gay marriage, and so on. These are people who then go forward to receive “the sacrament”, a ludicrous mock-cannibalistic ritual, which somehow helps cleanse them. To allow them to receive “union with the Lord”.
Union, provided by someone who may have forced a child onto a bed and buggered the poor innocent person senseless.
These aren’t outraged catholics. Their passivity gives strength to the institutionalised abuse. The catholic church can and will continue to avoid confronting this issue wheresoever the people who fill its coffers continue to turn a blind eye and refuse to speak up. Not just speak up at a gathering of lay people or on twitter or some other forum, but in the place of power. In the church. To attack the beast in its lair.
If you want to tell me there’s outraged catholics, point at the rallies held at catholic churches around the country, every week, demanding that the church openly apologise, make restitution for and permanently abolish this evil behaviour. To no longer shuffle child abusers from parish to parish. To open their records, and stop stymieing investigations. To accept that a claim of abuse is a valid indictment on the institution of the church and the people in it, not a bitter attack. To accept that they cannot self-manage this issue.
Don’t tell me there’s outraged catholics. Working behind the scenes to “encourage” reform, or quietly petitioning for change is cowardly, in the face of such evil atrocities.
If they’re outraged, they’d be vocal. They’d be vocal in the church itself. Instead, they’re lambs allowing the slaughter to continue.
Their silence is abhorrent.