John Lilburne's journal about an editorial in The Austrlian newspaper "Church must tackle abuse out in the open".
0959 L Fri 11 Jan 2002
The editorial in The Australian today has the headline: Church must tackle abuse out in the open. Here are some extracts:
The essential point that the anomyous editorial writer seems to miss is that only the Catholic Church decides who is a priest. The Church does this through its procedures, imposing as a penalty "loss of the clerical state." Civil authorities throughout the world imprison priests for what they regard as crimes. But they do not stop someone being a priest. So the Catholic Church needs to have a process for this.
I expect the Vatican has too good a memory of witch trials and show trials to be concerned about slurs of a "secretive, in-house process". Fortunately in Australia there is a "transparent, accountable justice system". But the Pope gives instructions to bishops throughout the world. It is appropriate that his instruction is silent about the involvement of civil authorities, leaving that to the judgement of bishops in various countries.
I am reminded about a line by Humphrey Appleby in Yes Minister. I think the episode had the title "Open Government":
There are needs for secrecy. Particularly with regard to allegations of child abuse. But the editorial writer seems to think it would be appropriate to punish priests who refuse to be police informers.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne 11 January 2002.
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