A Long Way from Rome: Why the Australian Catholic Church Is by Chris McGillion, Geraldine Doogue

By Chris McGillion, Geraldine Doogue

Why Catholicism in Australia has did not hold its relevance regardless of common facts of a starvation for which means, values and a renewed experience of group.

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While this is permissible and these children are to be made welcome, the Statement says that their accommodation is not to compromise the religious identity of the school. Lastly, it posed several guidelines to ensure an authentic Catholic identity pervades Catholic schools—including attention to regular prayer and the celebration of the Mass—and suggested that all pastoral work with the young should aim, at some level, to encourage new vocations to the priesthood and religious life. THE BACKLASH Privately, many bishops were angry at the way their visit to Rome had ended in controversy over the Statement of Conclusions, rather than in reflection over the debate at the Synod for Oceania.

Lawyers representing alleged victims of physical and sexual abuse in the Brothers’ care in Western Australia had compiled a list of accusations against 93 Brothers—20 of whom were still living. As well in Victoria, the Christian Brothers had set up a ‘hotline’ to take allegations of abuse against members of the order and to provide counselling to the victims. The same year a Canadian drama, The Boys of St Vincent, which was based on the scandal involving a Christian Brothers orphanage at Mount Cashel in Newfoundland, was broadcast nationally.

But then things had changed— or so Church officials were insisting. By 1993, Father Lucas told the commission, the Church had become worldly-wise about sex abuse. It had learned that a policy of covering up abuse was the ‘very worst way of approaching it’. If the Evans–Comensoli matter had been brought to the Church internally in 1993, he suggested, there would have been ‘less sense of a closing of ranks’. The only trouble was that in 1993 and well into 1994, Church authorities were still doing precisely that.

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