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First Vatican child abuse trial places former nuncio in dock

| July 10, 2015 at 07:12 am

Fate of Józef Wesołowski, accused of abusing boys in the Dominican Republic, seen as test of pope’s new approach to tackling alleged clerical wrongdoing

The first high-ranking Vatican official to be charged with paedophilia will face a criminal court in the Holy See on Saturday, in an unprecedented test of Pope Francis’s commitment to tackling the church’s legacy of sexual violence against children.

The trial of the former nuncio Józef Wesołowski from Poland marks the first time that the church has used the criminal justice system put in place by the Argentinian pontiff to handle cases of alleged clerical wrongdoing.


Second Opinion: The Catholic hierarchy still doesn’t get child abuse

| July 7, 2015 at 07:09 am

The church’s obsession with normal sexual activity engendered a warped view of sexual abuse within the hierarchy

The evidence of Cardinal Seán Brady, retired Archbishop of Armagh, to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down, cannot be taken seriously. Or else he still doesn’t get child abuse. He used the word “scandal” to describe the cover-up of Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse. This use of language means that Cardinal Brady sees sexual abuse as a moral issue, not a crime. (more…)

Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up child abuse

| June 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

Pope Francis approves proposals to create specific process for dealing with senior clerics who are negligent in handling abuse

Pope Francis has established a tribunal to investigate bishops accused of failing to protect children and vulnerable adults from sex abuse, in a move seen as the most forceful act by the pontiff to date to tackle the church’s legacy of abuse and cover-ups.

The Catholic church has long been accused of turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, with countless accusations over the years that church officials knowingly covered up abuse instead of confronting priests.


Pope Francis’ finance chief promises to appear at Australian child abuse inquiry

| May 27, 2015 at 11:37 am

Cardinal George Pell says in letter he will appear at royal commission into child abuse ‘if needed’ after he is accused of ignoring abuse and even bribing one victim to keep quiet in a wide-ranging Australian inquiry into paedophilia

Australia’s former top Catholic cleric, now Pope Francis’ finance chief, has said he is willing to give evidence in a royal commission into child abuse in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell has denied trying to bribe a victim of a paedophile priest to keep quiet as an inquiry heard of horrifying abuse.

Child abuse victims live ‘shorter lives’ than other children, royal commission hears

| May 25, 2015 at 07:56 am

People who have been abused as children live shorter lives than those who have not been abused, a psychiatrist has told a royal commission.

Dr Carolyn Quadrio, from the UNSW School of Psychiatry, said on Monday that children who have been abused have a life expectancy about 10 to 20 years shorter than those who have not.

“They don’t live as long as children who have not been traumatised,” she told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat.


Child abuse royal commission: Priest abused every young boy at regional Victorian school, inquiry hears

| May 19, 2015 at 06:56 am

A notorious paedophile priest abused every boy at a regional Victorian school between the age of 10 and 16, the child sex abuse inquiry has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is holding long-awaited public hearings in Ballarat to examine historical abuse suffered by children at a number of schools in the regional centre, at the hands of Catholic clergy and other members of the Church.

Some of Australia’s most notorious abusers, including Gerald Ridsdale, Robert Best and Edward Dowlan, were part of a paedophile ring operating in and around Ballarat for years. (more…)

Child abuse victims launch ‘unprecedented’ court action against former Ballarat bishop

| May 14, 2015 at 07:27 am

Ten victims who were abused by notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale begin legal proceedings against a former Bishop of Ballarat.

Ten victims who were abused by notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale have begun proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court against a former Bishop of Ballarat.

They accuse Bishop Ronald Mulkearns and the Diocese of Ballarat of negligence for allegedly failing to protect them and other victims, despite being aware of complaints against Ridsdale.


Child abuse victims deserve more than the commonwealth’s excuses

| March 26, 2015 at 01:40 pm

The moment when things went wrong for victims of child abuse in Australia was a very precise one. In the 1990s, Jeff Kennett, then premier of Victoria, met with George Pell, who was at that stage the Catholic archbishop of Melbourne. According to Pell, Kennett told him to “clean this [child abuse] thing up and there won’t be a royal commission”.

Kennett told The Age last year that he was “reassured that George said ‘yes’, he’d get stuck into it … it’s not for me to sit in judgment … of whether the response was adequate or not”. (more…)

Australian archbishop charged with concealing child abuse

| March 17, 2015 at 07:24 am

A Roman Catholic archbishop in Australia was charged Tuesday with covering up for a pedophile priest during the 1970s.

Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson said he was disappointed that New South Wales state police had decided to charge him with concealing a serious child sexual abuse offence. Wilson said he would fight the charge, which carries a potential two-year prison sentence.

The charge alleges the 64-year-old failed to report child sex abuse carried out by priest James Fletcher during the 1970s when they both served in the town of Maitland, north of Sydney. (more…)

Pope Francis told to hand priests over to police as new Vatican child abuse commission starts work

| February 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

The Vatican’s new commission for protecting children from sexual abuse holds its first meeting in Rome on Friday

Pope Francis should immediately hand over to the police all the Vatican documents on Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children and “cast out the vipers” who are still being protected by the Church, a British survivor of clerical abuse said.

The Catholic Church needs to end decades of obfuscation and cover-ups by fully cooperating with civil authorities around the world instead of protecting abusive priests, moving them from parish to parish or subjecting them only to canon law, said Peter Saunders. (more…)