The statistics from the Royal Commission in Australia, published on February 6, 2017, are devastating. But one can wonder already how long it will take for them to be forgotten. How long before – as with the Holocaust – revisionist historians rewrite history, and in today’s Trumpian jargon, provide “alternative facts” ? Indignation is running high throughout the country, if not the world, and the Universal Church is reeling under the shock. But we all know that Holy Mother Church will survive even this catastrophe. After all, she is guided by the Holy Spirit and protected by the Virgin Mary . . .
The facts are beyond question. “The Guardian’s” article of 02/06/17, was entitled “4,444 Victims : Extent of Abuse in Catholic Church in Australia Revealed”. Its first sentence reads : “Seven Percent of Australia’s priests were accused of abusing children in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the Royal Commission.”
In what must be considered an understatement, Francis Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Royal Commission, stated that the data “undermines the image and credibility of the priesthood.” “As Catholics”, he said tearfully, “we hang our heads in shame”. Witness the figures :
— 15% of priests in some dioceses were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and 2015
— 40% of St John of God brothers were the worst offenders
— 22% of Christian Brothers, 20% of Marist Brothers, 17% of Salesians of Don Bosco were alleged perpetrators
— 1,900 perpetrators were identified; 500 more remain unidentified
— 32% were religious brothers, 30% were priests, 29% were laypeople and 5% were religious sisters
— 10.5 years and 11.6 years : the average age of victims, respectively girls and boys
No amount of “mea culpa’s” will suffice to forgive such crimes and the heinous cover-up that allowed the criminals a free … hand. But the criminal abuse and cover-up will be forgotten. Will anyone reading this Blog twenty years from now, when if, by some miracle, I am still alive, I will chalk up a century, be surprised when s/he reads this post ? I am afraid they will. In Australia we try to keep alive the memory of Gallipoli and the Somme. We will try – and succeed – in covering up the Royal Commission.
What did you say ? Why of course I believe people will be reading this Blog long after its author – an Australian former Catholic priest from 1961-1968 – writes his Last Post ! We must never forget the 20th century’s two unforgivable sins : Hitler’s Holocaust, incomparable with any other crime, but also the Catholic Church’s Sexual Slaughter of the Innocents.