Monday, 15 October, 2018

Australian probe into little one abuse requires finish to…

The biggest achievement of the child abuse royal commission No simple explanation for abuse, inquiry
Faye Gross | 18 December, 2017, 05:31

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was delivered to the Governor-General of Australia and released on Friday. It said it was committed to helping Australian victims of pedophile priests find healing and justice.

Australia's Catholic Church was targeted in 20 of the recommendations that included screening tests, mandatory reporting of religious confessions and a suggestion that celibacy for priests should end.

The panel claimed involuntary celibacy could contribute to "psychosexual immaturity" in Catholic clergy, which could in turn put children at risk.

It also recommended that celibacy among Catholic priests should be voluntary to help curb abuse.

According to the report, tens of thousands of children have suffered abuse over a period of decades, a lot of them in religious institutions but also in state, private and not-for profit institutions, such as orphanages, clubs, prominent schools, juvenile detention centers and in disabled care.

The report also recommended that candidates for religious ministry should undergo external psychological testing, including psycho-sexual assessment, for the purposes of determining their suitability to be a person in religious ministry and to undertake work involving children, and that any person in religious ministry who is the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse which is substantiated ... or who is convicted of an offence relating to child sexual abuse, should be permanently removed from ministry.

The Vatican's third-ranking official, Australia's George Pell, appeared before the Royal Commission multiple times to answer questions about how he, as a senior church official, handled allegations of abuse in the diocese of Ballarat and Melbourne.

The report of an Australian commission of inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse makes harrowing reading.

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He repeatedly apologised, and expressed deep regret for the "shameful" culture of "secrecy and self-protection" that caused unnecessary suffering for many victims and their families. "I revere the law of the land and I trust it, but this is a sacred, spiritual charge before God which I must honor, and I have to try and do what I can do with both".

Political leaders face pressure to act immediately on the child abuse royal commission's findings.

"Further necessary and lasting change must come from a resolve by governments, institutions and the entire community to acknowledge the failures of the past and ensure they are not repeated", the report, released on Friday, said.

The president of the Australian bishops, Denis Hart, who asked for forgiveness on behalf of the Church, said he will take the recommendations seriously, but that "the secret of confession cannot be broken".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the commission had exposed "a national tragedy".

Governments and institutions of all descriptions owe it to survivors to show that lessons have been learned from the royal commission and this must include the implementation of a national redress scheme that is consistent with the recommendations made. "It's an outstanding exercise in love and I thank the commissioners and those who had the courage to tell their stories", Turnbull said.

However, he declined to consider call to change confession rules, claiming that any such proposal "would be a real hurt to all Catholics and Orthodox Christians".

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