Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Msgr Dempsey cleared?

Yesterday's story about Archbishop Hepworth having his application to resume his priesthood knocked back was, it seems, just the warm up to today's news that the Adelaide Archdiocese's internal investigation has rejected Archbishop Hepworth's assorted claims of sexual abuse and rape. 

It was, it seems, an example of the kind of slimy media management that one expects from politicians, but hopes for better from the Church.

You can read all of the various news stories from Cath News' list of links.

Good process, good outcomes; bad process....

Unfortunately, the report by leading Adelaide establishment figure Michael Abbott QC will surely satisfy no one that justice has been seen to be done; on the face of it, it merely serves to give the archdiocese a fig leaf to hide behind.

That's because while the report may be 150 pages long, the investigation was conducted without actually interviewing the prime witness, viz Archbishop Hepworth, who refused to participate because he wasn't happy with the proposed choice of investigator, wasn't given the terms of reference for the inquiry, was expected to pay the costs of any witnesses he brought forward, and witnesses were not indemnified. 

It is true of course, that the archdiocese was put in an difficult position by the public release of the name of the accused priest by Senator Xenophon (though that was of course in turn prompted by a perceived lack of action and responsiveness) but a defensive reaction in turn that doesn't at least make a serious attempt to satisfy all sides helps no one in the long run.  

Surely more effort could have been made to resolve the process issues around all of this? 

But of course, process has been an issue from the very beginning of this case, so no reason for that to change at this point it seems...

Other Ordinariate news: Fr Peter Slipper MP!

The other curious story of the day is the news that the interesting new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper MP is, as Cath News puts it 'a fully ordained priest of the Traditional Anglican Communion' (what would constitute a partly ordained priest?  And is he actually ordained in the eyes of the Catholic Church?  I doubt it.  But never mind!).  

Peter Slipper, for the benefit of my overseas readers, was installed as the new Speaker on the last sitting day of parliament this year following the shock resignation of the current speaker. Mr Slipper, had, up until now, been a member of the Opposition, but was facing disendorsement following his acceptance of the Deputy Speakership a year ago. Now he has joined the ranks of the independents, effectively giving the minority Labor Government two more much needed votes.

Mr Slipper, it seems, has been a strong supporter of the Ordinariate, and may well need an alternative occupation following the next election...Though whether he would be deemed an appropriate candidate for the catholic priesthood given the steady steam of smear stories around outrageous expense claims and other alleged misbehaviour that have appeared in the media since his defection is another issue...

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