John Lilburne's journal about newspaper reports this weekend on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Melborne. This is related to public ceremonies and an ordination today.



About John Lilburne







1721 L Sun 9 Dec 2001

Two reports in newspapers this weekend are about the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The first was The Australian yesterday:

House of Horror

Years after allegations that some Brothers of St John buggered some young males entrust to their care, no one has been charged, taxpayers' money is still flowing in and the hush-up continues. Richard Yallop reports. ...

Today there is a front page story in The Sunday Age:

Sex-abuse priests win Rome appeal

By Larry Schwartz

Three Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse have successfully appealed to the Vatican about the way their cases were handled by the Archdiocese of Melbourne under a system implemented by the then archbishop, George Pell.

The ruling by the church's Council for the Clergy in Rome challenges the authority of the archdiocese's Commission into Sexual Abuse, which removed priests who were implicated in abuse from parishes, and took away their rights to celebrate Mass publicly, hear confessions and administer Holy Communion. ...

I noticed a few days ago a report on that cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests were now to go to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The newspaper articles highlight serious problems and encourage the Church to address them. I agree that resources should go directly into dealing with them. But also see part of the solution being to put resources into promoting liturgical law for the Catholic Church's ceremonies. Cases of sexual abuse are difficult to prove. But public ceremonies being performed incorrectly are relatively obvious. By insisting on high standards here I believe it will extend into areas that are more difficult to monitor. By allowing poor standards here it becomes a "broken window" -- an indication that no one cares, that leads to laxity in more serious areas.

At the Cathedral this morning Peter-Damien McKinley was ordained a deacon, commiting himself to celibacy and celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours each day. I cannot say instituted lectors were available in the sanctuary (as they were at the ordinations last weekend and the weekend before). I saw quite a few of them in the congregation, but today they neither performed their ministries of instituted acolyte or of instituted lector. Since it is Advent there was no Gloria, but Archbishop Hart sat just for the Kyrie.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 9 December 2001.

Links to other sites:

Sunday Age story report on Vatican change on dealing with sexual abuse of minors by priests