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Cardinal George Pell, The Catholic Church and Child Sex Abuse

antman

Tiger Legend
Nov 25, 2004
16,538
827
Bali/Jakarta


"The photo of the 33 St Alipius pupils from 1973 sticks with me, 12 of them killed themselves due to abuse at the school. The Episcopal vicar for education in diocese of Ballarat from 1973-1984 was George Pell."

This was where Gerard Ridsdale and others plied their trade. This was what George Pell at the Royal Commission called "A sad story that didn't interest me very much".

More info on the spate of suicides of men abused in the Ballarat diocese here. http://clergygonewild.com/sex-abuse/34-child-abuse/1788-australia-churchs-suicide-victims

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-18/royal-commission-into-child-abuse-to-start-hearings-in-ballarat/6477132

For me this is the greater crime of people like Pell - that they saw the "good name" and "integrity" of the church as more important than anything else. They crushed those that opposed them and they crushed victims through legal means. They destroyed lives through abuse and then through the legal system.

This is a really good article by the Melbourne writer Christos Tsiolkas. He makes the valid point that the New Testament mentions sex only a handful of times, yet the Catholic Church is based around concepts of sin, shame and guilt, mostly around sex. This is why I consider the Church an pathological organisation. Whether you believe in Jesus or God or not, the foundation of this church is no longer about love and charity.

https://newsvire.com/my-anger-with-george-pell-has-been-replaced-by-immense-sadness-christos-tsiolkas/
 
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easy_tiger

Guest
That photo and statistic makes me cry antman

Innocent little fellas found themselves in the vipers nest.

I hope the overseer's twilight years in prison

brings a small respite from the psychological tempest that was unleashed on their families by these foul creatures
 

Harry

Tiger Legend
Mar 2, 2003
19,607
890
I question the parents of these little kids. How can such rampage take place without it being undetected and/or unattended by the parents.
 
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easy_tiger

Guest
Harry said:
I question the parents of these little kids. How can such rampage take place without it being undetected and/or unattended by the parents.
Its unfair to lay that on them harry.

This was an organised gang under the leadership of a psychopath, with a couple of thousand years of institutional fantasy stories as a force field.

Families dont usually find out about old drunk uncle bob appearing naked in their 10 yo daughters bed, until after hes dead, let alone an institutional predatory outfit.

Even if some pedophilia was due to lack of parental insight. Theres no way that 40% of parents of the st.alypius class of '73 lacked insight. #1.

I understand what you have verbalised would be a commonly thought question. But, its victim blaming, which is the very last thing these families need.

# 1. I know blokes in that class, dead and alive
 

IanG

Tiger Legend
Sep 27, 2004
15,953
113
Melbourne
Harry said:
I question the parents of these little kids. How can such rampage take place without it being undetected and/or unattended by the parents.
Thats pretty much victim blaming.
 

WesternTiger

Tiger Legend
Nov 7, 2004
12,655
112
easy said:
That photo and statistic makes me cry antman

Innocent little fellas found themselves in the vipers nest.

I hope the overseer's twilight years in prison

brings a small respite from the psychological tempest that was unleashed on their families by these foul creatures
And Pell had complete empathy for them and their families....

Asked by The Sydney Morning Herald what he would say to the families of people who had taken their own lives following sexual abuse, Pell said: “There’s not too many of those,”
 

antman

Tiger Legend
Nov 25, 2004
16,538
827
Bali/Jakarta
Harry said:
I question the parents of these little kids. How can such rampage take place without it being undetected and/or unattended by the parents.
Because in the Catholic Church priests are a vehicle of God himself, so in traditional Catholic communities kids who reported to parents often got the belt or the back of the hand. This caused them more psychological damage.

I don't excuse the parents totally - some of them still reject the evidence of their kids to this day - they can't handle the cognitive dissonance. But they are damaged too.
 

antman

Tiger Legend
Nov 25, 2004
16,538
827
Bali/Jakarta
A best mate of mine went to a Christian Brothers school in Sydney in the 80s. One of the Brothers there was notorious for feeling the boys up on school camps and excursions. It was common knowledge among the students and presumably the school hierarchy, but it was almost treated as a joke. Bizarre culture in those places at the time.
 

jb03

Tiger Legend
Jan 28, 2004
26,738
536
Melbourne
Harry said:
I question the parents of these little kids. How can such rampage take place without it being undetected and/or unattended by the parents.

The recent attitude of Bolt, Devine, Abott etc is the similar attitude many parents and those in authority took at the time. Was it somebody Ryan who had his police career derailed by trying to expose the Catholic Church in the 70's?
 

Harry

Tiger Legend
Mar 2, 2003
19,607
890
antman said:
I don't excuse the parents totally - some of them still reject the evidence of their kids to this day - they can't handle the cognitive dissonance. But they are damaged too.
Agree with this. I'm not victim blaming - the real victims are the innocent little kids. I'm placing some blame on their guardians who the kids relied on for protection. Such rampant abuse would have left evidence everywhere.
 
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easy_tiger

Guest
Harry said:
Agree with this. I'm not victim blaming - the real victims are the innocent little kids. I'm placing some blame on their guardians who the kids relied on for protection. Such rampant abuse would have left evidence everywhere.
Not necessarily harry.

I know one bloke, very middleclass raised and a smart person. Doesnt really fit the powerless victim profile at all.

Anyway, this bloke was a charming member of the community, ran a successful small business, married a lovely smart wife and had kids,

And at 40, he fell apart entirely. entirely. It came out the st alypius preists had got him pretty bad. His loving parents, with heaps of social capital were stunned and traumatised.

He spent alot of the next decade in bed, in hospital, unable to function, his wife often on acute suicide watch.

Anyway, he seems to be through the other side with intense care.

One if the luckier victims.

There are literally hundreds of stories along a broad spectrum with only one thing in common.

Very cunning, calculating catholic priests sexually abused them

And Pell oversaw it.
 

tigermike

Tiger Matchwinner
Apr 6, 2014
975
83
Firstly I'd like to apologise to Easy and others who I criticised for their comments about child sex abuse incidents and Bolt. The ABC Q&A program was excellent and really brought home the pain felt not only by victims and their parents but also by the whole Catholic community who are stunned, as I am. The Catholic church has been an unbelievable disgrace as we well know and it has a lot of work to do in repairing the damage, if that's even possible. I'm just glad my parents are not alive to have to see all this damage to their church. I fear that even more parishioners will leave unless Rome and the Cardinals can hand over more control to lay people and women in particular. The current Pope is not capable of making the decisions that need to be made to make it more relevant in the modern world.

Here is a Facebook post that is very well written:

"An Open Response to Andrew Bolt.

*******
Dear Mr Bolt,

My name is Clare xxxxxxxx. As you know, I am a Ballarat local who has been living with the aftermath of child sexual abuse for many years. My husband, Peter xxxxxxxx, is a survivor of clergy abuse at 11 years old. You met him whilst in Rome three years ago.

I am compelled to write to you after you expressed your opinion that George Pell has been falsely convicted (27 & 28 Feb, Herald Sun).

You are entitled to your opinion.

What concerns me, however, is your statement that your opinion is based on “overwhelming evidence”. I believe this is misleading, irresponsible and ignorant. Your lack of genuine insight into the issue of sexual child abuse makes a mockery of survivors and all they have endured.

The “overwhelming evidence” you mention includes some of the following points (*), which I would like to respond to in an attempt to help educate you about this issue:

* “One of the boys, now dead, denied he’d been abused”

To provide context for readers, when the mother of the now deceased victim asked him, more than once, if he had been sexually assaulted - he denied it.

Among survivors of clergy (and non-clergy) childhood sexual abuse, it is common for them to deny the abuse occurred. As vulnerable children, they are incredibly embarrassed, confused, and ashamed. They do not understand what has happened to them, and their shame is magnified by the revered status of their abuser. According to the rigorous Report for the Royal Commission into The Impact of Delayed Reporting on the Prosecution and Outcomes of Child Sexual Abuse Cases….“children have also been found to be less likely to disclose and more likely to delay if the perpetrator is a parent or parent figure, or a person in a position of trust and authority”

I asked my own husband about this. Although Brother Edward Dowlan had molested and raped him in 1974, when his parents asked him in 1975 if anything had happened to him, his response was to vehemently deny it. He states, “You deny it because you don’t want them to feel guilty. You don’t want them to carry the guilt of having sent you to this wonderful school, within their wonderful Church….only for you to be abused. So you just deny it, to protect them”.

The piece of important evidence you do fail to point out, is that the deceased victim began using heroin at 14 years of age, after enduring the abuse at 13. He abandoned a scholarship at St Kevins, spiraled into drug abuse, and died of a heroin overdose at 30.

This pathway is sadly all too common for sexual abuse victims.

* “The other (alleged victim) whose identity and testimony remain secret, didn’t speak of it for many years”

According to the same report, “Boys and adolescent males are less likely than their female counterparts to disclose child sexual abuse at the time of the abuse. When they do disclose, they take longer to do so….For example…in a 2008 study…for nearly half the men (45 per cent), it took at least 20 years for them to discuss their abuse”.

Additionally, The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse Final Report (2017) found that the average time it took for men to disclose was 25.7 years. The surviving choirboy disclosed 19 years after his abuse – earlier than average. The other choirboy died 18 years after his abuse, so was also well inside the average.

Given this evidence, the fact that one of the complainants didn’t speak of his abuse for many years is, it would seem, indicative of a genuine abuse survivor; not a reason to doubt, as you imply.

* “It allegedly happened in the sacristy, normally a very busy room”

You state in your article that you are not a Catholic. I am curious to know why you believe the sacristy is normally a very busy room?

I was raised a Catholic, and have asked my extensive network of Catholic friends and family about the sacristy. I’m yet to find one who tells me the sacristy was, or is, ‘normally’ very busy. The adjectives used have included “quiet…weird…uncomfortable…scary…silent…solemn”.

* “.where Pell would have known people were almost certain to walk in”

The prospect of discovery did not deter clergy abusers. Children were raped with their parents in the next room. In St Alipius, Ballarat, one child I know of was physically carried away from the playground by Ridsdale and Best, screaming for his life, in front of the other children. At St Patricks College, boys were physically punished at the back of the classroom then molested while the rest of the class faced forward.

To use your words, at any stage all of these abusers would have known “people were almost certain to walk in”. And yet they proceeded. Their revered status as ‘next to God’, and their knowledge that the organisation for which they worked was not about to hold them accountable, meant the risk of discovery was not a deterrent.

* “There is no history or pattern of similar abuse by Pell, unlike with real Church pedophiles such as Gerard Ridsdale”.

This point is totally irrelevant to Pell’s guilt or otherwise.
Sexual abuse of children is a crime. You don’t have to do it to (at least) 65 children like Ridsdale; just the once.

Furthermore, it is incorrect. There is a pattern in the allegations about Pell. The fifth count relates to Pell pushing one of the choirboys and grabbing his genitals. The Southwell inquiry in 2002 saw a complainant making an allegation of Pell “getting a good handful” of his genitals in the water at Phillip Island. In that internal Church Inquiry Justice Southwell found that he believed both the complainant and Pell. Similar claims were made by the Eureka Pool complainants, one of whom died, another of whom was to be the complainant in the so-called “swimming pool trial”. That trial was dropped because of the evidence of another complainant was ruled inadmissible. The judge did NOT rule out the evidence of the complainant who made the grabbing allegations.

* ”the man I know seems not just incapable of such abuse, but so intelligent and cautious that he would never risk his brilliant career or good name on such a mad assault in such a public place”.

I’ve never met George Pell so I cannot give a personal opinion of what he is capable of. Even if I could, it would be totally irrelevant to his likely guilt or innocence and would most certainly not be ‘overwhelming evidence’.

Pedophiles can be otherwise lovely, intelligent, charismatic people. We know from history they include extremely successful politicians, celebrities, judges, teachers, priests….they are from all walks of life and run the whole gamut from stupid to brilliant, charming to repulsive.

* “Maybe they misremembered. Maybe they had the wrong guy”

Please spend some time listening to survivors recount their experiences. You’ll notice that whilst they might be blurry with exact dates and times, the details of the perpetrator they sadly cannot get out of their head. My husband struggles to wear aftershave because Dowlan wore it whilst he abused him. He remembers looking at the shaving nicks on his abusers neck as the molestation took place, and the scent of what came to be, to him, the sickening smell of cologne. Another survivor I know gets physically ill when someone smokes Alpine cigarettes around him, because one of his abusers smoked them.

Furthermore, these boys were 13, not 3. Their brain development at that age makes them well and truly capable of facial recognition. George Pell has always had a very distinctive physical presence and had been Archbishop for several months at the time. He was extremely well-known, not just in the cathedral but also in the media and society more generally. The victim in this case is unlikely to have mixed Pell up with another 6 foot 4 archbishop.

* “I would, and did, read the transcripts of the trial”.

No Andrew, you may have read a partial transcript. The full transcript is not available to you or any of us. Only the survivor, the police, the lawyers, the judge, the jury and Pell have heard all the evidence. So please stop implying that you know all the facts: you do not, and nor do I.

* “Could this attack have happened when not a single witness corroborated a single one of the accuser’s’ claims?”

Yes, it could. I am yet to meet a survivor who had a witness to the crime committed against them. And yet these crimes occurred.

To conclude, Andrew, I reiterate that you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But please don't make the irresponsible claim that it is based on "overwhelming evidence"

This week, I’ve been asked my opinion many, many times. My response?

“Any opinion I have is irrelevant and ill-informed, because I am not privy to all the facts of the case.”

How about everyone stops trying to convince people of Pell’s innocence or guilt; it is not the most important issue here.

We have hundreds, potentially thousands of survivors throughout Australia who have not yet come forward. And when the likes of yourself, and other commentators, use your public profile to cast doubt over the outcome of a trial, you make these people even less likely to come forward and get the assistance they so desperately need.

If you want to support Pell, go and visit him in jail. Help fund his appeal. Take Miranda Devine with you.

In the meantime, here in Ballarat we are going to continue to try to deal with the fact that our suicide rate among males is twice that of Melbourne and 65 percent greater than the Victorian average.

We are going to keep helping women, children, mothers, fathers, and siblings pick up the pieces as their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers prematurely end their lives.

We are going to keep lobbying for the redress scheme that the Royal Commission recommended, so that our survivors get the practical and emotional assistance they need.

We are going to keep trying to figure out how to reverse what has now become a cultural problem whereby males in our community resort to suicide instead of seeking help.

Honestly, the fact that our most senior Catholic has been jailed is the least of our worries right now."
 

LeeToRainesToRoach

Get out Gillon
Jun 4, 2006
23,675
899
Melbourne
tigermike said:
According to the same report, “Boys and adolescent males are less likely than their female counterparts to disclose child sexual abuse at the time of the abuse. When they do disclose, they take longer to do so….For example…in a 2008 study…for nearly half the men (45 per cent), it took at least 20 years for them to discuss their abuse”.
To once again play devil's advocate, and put this in some sort of context... It appears most reporting of abuse happens in the months after the abuse took place.



Yet in Pell's case, 100% of the allegations have been delayed by decades.
 

Brodders17

Tiger Legend
Mar 21, 2008
11,133
201
LeeToRainesToRoach said:
To once again play devil's advocate, and put this in some sort of context... It appears most reporting of abuse happens in the months after the abuse took place.



Yet in Pell's case, 100% of the allegations have been delayed by decades.
If only you were so forgiving of other convicted pedophiles, or criminals in general.
 

LeeToRainesToRoach

Get out Gillon
Jun 4, 2006
23,675
899
Melbourne
Brodders17 said:
If only you were so forgiving of other convicted pedophiles, or criminals in general.
Are there any cases in particular where you wish to cast doubt on the verdict?

If the appeal fails in front of a panel of judges, I'll be inclined to accept that Pell is a filthy pedo. But for now I'm keeping an open mind.
 
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easy_tiger

Guest
tigermike said:
Firstly I'd like to apologise to Easy and others who I criticised for their comments about child sex abuse incidents and Bolt.
No dramas at all Tmike, its not about me.

I grew up with Clare who authored that letter, she was very close friend of mine 25 years ago. And i know most of the characters in her letter (if i was still close to her, i would have advised against engaging Bolt.. i guess its therapeutic for her, but there is never victory or even a draw with that filthy dog)

LeeToRainesToRoach said:
To once again play devil's advocate, and put this in some sort of context... It appears most reporting of abuse happens in the months after the abuse took place.



Yet in Pell's case, 100% of the allegations have been delayed by decades.
Im all for devil's advocacy L2, and in this instance, you coukd argue it an idiom gone literally,

But you never cease to amaze me how good you are at footy stats, and terrible at all others.

I interpret that graph as this ...

Almost half of abuse cases are reported more than a year after the abuse and 10% of all cases are not reported with 20 years.

Which demonstrates the opposite of what you are advocating.

I hope they play 'sympathy for the devil' on neopolitan icecream sundays in Ararat Jail.
 

LeeToRainesToRoach

Get out Gillon
Jun 4, 2006
23,675
899
Melbourne
easy said:
Im all for devil's advocacy L2, and in this instance, you coukd argue it an idiom gone literally,

But you never cease to amaze me how good you are at footy stats, and terrible at all others.

I interpret that graph as this ...

Almost half of abuse cases are reported more than a year after the abuse and 10% of all cases are not reported with 20 years.

Which demonstrates the opposite of what you are advocating.

I hope they play 'sympathy for the devil' on neopolitan icecream sundays in Ararat Jail.
Reckon it shows a bit more than 60% of sexual assaults reported within 12 months. The long post above also suggests it's more likely that Pell would be reported while a lowly priest than a high-ranking Vatican official.

If that makes me terrible at interpreting information then I'll wear it.
 
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easy_tiger

Guest
LeeToRainesToRoach said:
Reckon it shows a bit more than 60% of sexual assaults reported within 12 months. The long post above also suggests it's more likely that Pell would be reported while a lowly priest than a high-ranking Vatican official.

If that makes me terrible at interpreting information then I'll wear it.
You certainly suffer badly from confirmation bias i reckon.

Those stats are all abuse too.

I would imagine catholic victims would be significantly slower to report abuse by priests.

The Big Richo said:
I'd like to see how that graph breaks down into Male and Female reports.
Yeah i would be interested to understand differences between genders in dealing with abuse.

Women pretty much never perpetrate, so the comparison would be straight boys v girls abused by men

Clinical view of horror, but valid