Friday, 21 September 2012

Coming clean about child abuse in Victoria

The Victorian bishops have made a submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry, apparently lodged today, on the last day of the extended Submission period.

It's called Facing the Truth.

'Fessing up at last...

Based on the media release at any rate (the Submission itself won't be available until the Inquiry put it up on their website) this really is a big step forward in terms of transparency and accountability.

According to the media releases, the Submission acknowledges past failures, and provides detailed statistics.  That is good to hear.

Mind you, given the appalling size of the problem revealed - some 620 cases upheld in the last sixteen years - being brutally honest was the only sensible strategy.

Unsurprisingly, the cases mainly date from the 1960s through the 1980s.  And according to the ABC, most of the cases came from Ballarat and Mortlake (regional Victoria), and Oakleigh and Rupertswood.

Please keep all involved in your prayers.


Anonymous said...

I bet there were homosexual networks in those areas.

+ Wolsey

Kate Edwards said...

Indeed. Given the 82% of the US cases involved victims who were male teens or young men.

It will be interesting to see if the 'learnings' included in the submission include the need to screen out candidates for the priesthood with sex inclinations.

There is a good recent article on this in Patoral and Homilectic Review:

Somehow, I'm guessing this issue won't make it into the submission...

Anonymous said...

While pederasty and the clergy have a long history, as anyone familiar with the canons of earlyChurch councils, both local and oecumenical, will readily acknowledge, what is of note here is the frank admittance of the coincidence of the Crisis of Faith, the "New Springtime of the Church", and the alarmingly high levels of pederasty in the Church. For a long time we assumed that it was a result of the maelstrom of the 60's and 70's. I wonder how long it will take for the same tired and clumsy hierarchy to acknowledge one of the insights of modern psychology. The Catholic Priesthood has attracted men who suffer from Pathological Narcissistic Personality Disorder (PNPD). One of the more unfortunate traits of this disorder is an inclination to same sex enactment with a minor. It arises from arrested development in adolescence and develops in early adult life. Most who suffer from it are in denial of there even being a problem, that being part of the condition. The corporate Sector and the Catholic Priesthood both attract high levels of those suffering from PNPD. It is among the most difficult mental disorders to detect and treat as successful diagnosis and treatment requires willingness, commitment and acknowledgement of the individual sufferer. There's a lot online about this. Particular attention to PNPD and the Clergy is of great interest to any Catholic who is concerned that we not be subject to clergy who suffer from this disorder. No doubt the screenings required upon entrance into the Serminary have helped to reduce numbers. Of interest also, is the connection between PNPD and Gender Identity Disorder. Dr Joseph Nicolosi has done some interesting research on this. Bianca

Anonymous said...


There's no sin that the clergy, like anyone else, are not capable of. But what I think is significant is the proportion of clergy suffering from this. I'm willing to bet that the background circumstances for a real increase in this sort of problem appears from the establishment of the minor seminary system. Then fast forward to the 20th century when modernism and later, sexual revolution was added into the mix. Then after VII, the fact that the minor seminary as an institution had all but disappeared did not matter - homosexuals were openly being accepted into the priesthood.

+ Wolsey

Robert said...

I'm sorry, but I can't see why the minor seminary system would be the problem that + Wolsey maintains it has been.

While of course I'm open to correction, I had always gathered that the minor seminary system was less widespread in the English-speaking world than in Continental Europe. Yet most of the really horrible cases have been in the former lands (Ireland, Canada, Australia, the USA) where, surely, the minor seminary system was rather weak to start with.

And even if we assume - as does +Wolsey - that minor seminaries are to blame for the last half-century's horrors, my impression was that these seminaries were on the decline anyway before Vatican II?

Anonymous said...

Having attended a seminary for 3 years in Northern America, albeit in the Eastern Church, I can vouch for the fact that these institutions are fairly dysfunctional. They are well past their use-by date. They are a perfect environment for dysfunctional, maladjusted individuals to thrive, among both staff and students. I think the problem of homosexual activity and the sexual exploitation of childen by our clergy are part of a larger problem than mere seminary however. The abuse of our children by our clergy is a crime. In attempting to conceal and cover up the truth our hierarchy has betrayed us as well, all for an impertinent "boys club" operation that simply promoted and enabled a culture of secrecy and abuse. Clericalism, formamism, rubrucism, legalism, etc etc are at the heart of this rot. These are our worst enemies, and good place for us to start the "clean-up" of our Church. We laity must make it abundantly clear to the hierarchy; we will not tolerate it any longer. Change or just leave, for the sake of Christ Our God. Herman

Anonymous said...


Were there any married seminarians in your institution?

What rite was it?

+ Wolsey