0833 K Mon 10 Jun 2002
In yesterday's homily at Mass, Archbishop Hart said "...
The vast majority of priests are totally beyond reproach ...".
I thought "reproach" was a much better word to use
than "question" which appeared in the "apology
advertisement" I wrote about on 7
I think the advertisement has been particularly effective.
By clearly stating the policy of the Catholic Church in Australian
it is now clear that the policy has not been followed.
From the Advertisement:
6. Victims are not prevented from discussing the abuse they
have suffered with anyone at any stage, but many prefer that
their privacy be respected. Victims are not silenced as a condition
for receiving counselling or compensation.
This reflects the "Towards Healing" (December 2000)
41.4 No complainant shall be required to give an undertaking
which imposes upon them an obligation of silence concerning the
circumstances which led them to make a complaint, as a condition
of an agreement with the Church authority.
But as ABC News reports:
... A section of the "Towards Healing" protocol
explicitly states that no victim should be forced into silence.
But it seems that section has been ignored in some instances
with several victims coming forward claiming they have been gagged.
Executive officer of the "Towards Healing" program,
Sister Angela Ryan, says she will be looking into instances where
church lawyers and even bishops have overlooked that directive.
"It shouldn't have happened by the bishop, it shouldn't
happen by a congregational leader, it shouldn't happen by the
mediator, the lawyers who draw it up," Sister Ryan said.
Sister Ryan says all dioceses outside of Melbourne have agreed
to follow the "Towards Healing" protocol but admits
that there is no real power for her, or anybody else, to enforce
"There is no way that any other group of bishops can
compel one bishop to do that," she said. ...
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Archbishop Pell said
... "I am Archbishop of Sydney, not the Archbishop of
NSW, and do not speak for other dioceses," he said. "Obviously,
it is clear that further work needs to be done by dioceses and
orders to co-ordinate the form of compensation payments and prevent
them being misunderstood as hush money." ...
I think this should considered by the US bishops preparing
to meet on a policy document next week.
Its the problem of having documents saying one thing and practices
which are different. The documents say everyone should stand
for the Gloria. But yesterday Archbishop Hart sat for it. The
documents say instituted lectors are to be used, when
available, but at the Melborne cathedral yesterday they were
there as altar servers, but did not do the readings.
Hopefully with this media spotlight the bishops will appreciate
the problems with not following what is written. While this is
painful, it is a necessary part of the purification of the Church.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 10 June 2002.