The fact that it is the bishops, and not the Pope, who should apologise for the scandal of sex abuse in the Church, and its continued mishandling has once more been highlighted. The Sun-Herald's Kate Dennehy reports today:
"THE Australian Catholic Church has been embroiled in controversy, three weeks before the Pope makes his historic visit to Australia, over a convicted pedophile who is still serving as a priest.
In defiance of the Pope, the Archdiocese of Brisbane continues to allow a convicted pedophile to remain a priest and celebrate Mass next to a school.
The Sun-Herald has learnt that the priest - Ronald John McKeirnan, 69, of Toowong in Brisbane's west - enjoys the support and protection of high-ranking church officials, including Archbishop John Bathersby, despite serving a year in prison in 1999 for molesting nine boys in the 1960s and 1970s.
The decision to support Mr McKeirnan conflicts with a statement by Pope Benedict XVI in April in which he said the church "would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry … Who is guilty of pedophilia cannot be a priest."
The Pope will arrive in Australia on July 13 in the lead-up to World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney.
Mr McKeirnan, a former deputy director of Brisbane Catholic Education who now works on church websites and conducts private Masses for other priests, pleaded guilty on two separate occasions to abusing children."
It is hard to see any justification whatsoever for this continued tolerance of pedophiles in the priesthood. Last week when I read a report of conference saying nothing had been learnt from the handling of these cases in the past, I took it as yet another attack from the forces of secularism. But it seems we just keep handing them the ammunition...