Sunday 27th of May 2018

crimes versus sins...


Many priests are presently defending the sanctity and secrecy of confession. And this is fair enough. But there is a difference: many sins are not even catalogued as crimes in the penal code. Take the deadly sin of "gluttony" for example. It even does not rate a mention at a Jenny Craig Clinic.


And killing someone can be a curly one: Kill one person and you are a murderer, kill a million and you are a statesperson.  But the law is clear about sexual abuse with underaged kids. Most of the sinners who go to "confession" to report this kind of abuse are actually priests. The "punishment" for these, if one really wants the confession to be secret, would not to forgive until the guilty goes to the police to report His (priests are male) crime. Nor should the guilty priests be allowed to continue in their "pastoral" care or be celebrating mass till the police is fully briefed on the crimes. 

secrecy is not an excuse...

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published a 2000-page three volume Criminal Justice Report. One of its recommendations is that the states and territories "create a criminal offence of failure to report targeted at child sexual abuse in an institutional context".

If such an offence were created, those of us who work in an institution which cares for children would be required to report to police if we knew, suspected or should have suspected that another adult working in the institution was sexually abusing or had sexually abused a child.

Failure to report could result in a criminal conviction. The commission notes: "We acknowledge that if this recommendation is implemented then clergy hearing confession may have to decide between complying with the civil law obligation to report and complying with a duty in their role as a confessor."

Being a priest and a lawyer, I welcome the recommendation of this new criminal offence in most instances, but I will continue to comply with my duty as a confessor. The public, and not just my fellow Catholics, are entitled to know why.

I am one of those Australians who has been shocked and revolted by the revelations of child sexual abuse at the royal commission. I had no idea that such abuse was so prevalent in our society.

I am one of those Catholics who is deeply ashamed and numbed by the statistics of abuse in my own Church and the failures, especially before 1996, to deal adequately with reports of abuse. I welcome the royal commission's spotlight on our society and on my Church.

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Until now I thought better of Frank. He is disappointing on this subject...

the altar of shame...

A MAN laid his naked daughter on a church altar where pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale sexually assaulted her, a court has heard.

Australia’s worst pedophile priest has pleaded guilty to sex crimes against another 12 children, one as young as six, during the three decades he abused children throughout western Victoria.

Ridsdale told some of his victims the abuse was “part of God’s work”, the Victorian County Court heard on Tuesday.

On one occasion in 1974 a father woke his scared young daughter to take her to a Catholic Church in Ballarat where Ridsdale abused her.

“(The 10-year-old’s) father carried her to the confessional booth and took her clothes off her, then carried her to the altar and lay her down,” crown prosecutor Jeremy McWilliams said.

Ridsdale then indecently assaulted her.

“Ridsdale told her: ‘Jesus died for our sins so we could be forgiven and if I confess to this sin I might be forgiven’.

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Meanwhile at the encrypted god-hotline of forgiveness for the unforgivable:


Melbourne archbishop says he'd rather go to jail than report child abuse heard in confession

Denis Hart says ‘communication with God is of a higher order’ after child sex abuse inquiry calls for failure to report to become a criminal offence

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These high priests are tightening ranks as well as their arse. It's a disgrace of privilege that has gone totally out of reason in their twisted minds... Recant, old man in fancy dress. You have no rights to hide.

piercing the veil of secrecy in confession...

From Dr Simon Longstaff, AO FCPA 


For example, during the more violent phases of the Inquisition, the punishment of an innocent person was judged to be a regrettable "'lesser evil" than that of a multitude falling into the error of heresy and suffering eternal damnation. It was believed that God would "spot the error" and make all good for the innocent in the next life. In other words, today's suffering of the innocent should be deplored and prevented, but, seen in the context of eternity, souls (rather than bodies) must be saved.

In the debate about the "seal of the confessional," we are witnessing a clash between two world views - one based on the primacy of civic power and a conviction of the need to prevent, expose and punish the wicked of this world. The other view is based on the old Augustinian belief that the laws and institutions of the "City of Man" are ultimately subordinate to those of the "City of God" - the latter being eternal and ultimately just.

I think that society's first duty is to protect the living. Sexually abusing children (and the vulnerable more generally) is an especially heinous crime as it robs the victims of innocence - not just of body, but of self. It involves what Hannah Arendt has called, in another context, a "scarification of the soul." Therefore, we should insist that where our children are at risk of preventable harm, every citizen should meet their obligation to offer protection.

Personally, I do not believe in hell, nor in a God that punishes for an eternity. Nor do I think that popes and priests have an exclusive capacity to offer God's forgiveness. 

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a costly monstrosity...

Pope Francis, whose repeated promises of zero tolerance have been criticised by victims who say the Vatican needs to do much more, called sexual abuse “an absolute monstrosity, a terrible sin that contradicts everything that the Church teaches”.

The foreword was published on Wednesday by the German daily Bild.

The pope said the fate of abused children weighed on his soul, especially those who had taken their own lives.

“We will counter those priests who betrayed their calling with the most strenuous measures. This also applies to the bishops and cardinals who protected these priests – as happened repeatedly in the past,” he wrote.

Church sexual abuse broke into the open in the United States with reports of cases in Louisiana in 1984, and exploded in 2002, when journalists in Boston found that bishops had systematically moved abusers to new posts instead of defrocking them.

Thousands of cases have come to light around the world as investigations have encouraged long-silent victims to go public, shattering the Church’s reputation. More than $2 billion has been paid in compensation.

Pope Francis’ efforts against sexual abuse since his election in 2013 have sputtered.Critics say he has not done enough to hold to account those bishops who mishandled cases of abuse or covered it up, and a Vatican commission formed in 2014 to advise him on rooting it out has been hit by internal dissent.

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protecting pedophiles...



The Catholic Church’s systemic abuse of children exposes an immovable, secretive and corrupt medieval hierarchy, which defends its own institution at all costs, says Lyn Bender.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is in denial — unwilling to change and clinging to a medieval structure that has done immeasurable damage.

In attempting to protect the institution from its deserved shame, the Catholic Church has betrayed its own teachings and the children in its care.


The shocking evidence given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has led to the recommendation that priests be mandated to report abuse, including abuse revealed in the confessional.

Leading Catholic clergy say that they are categorically unwilling to break the sealof the confessional.

Yet many other human services are mandated to report abuse.

The Catholic confessional box shares some characteristics with the psychologist’s confessional couch.

The founding father of talking therapy in the 19th Century was neurologist Sigmund Freud. Patients in therapy these days bring all manner of suffering, including grief, guilt, abuse, fear, confusion, rage, the longing for forgiveness and the search for meaning and hope.

In the confessional, children as young as seven and adults of any age may come privately to confess fear and guilt, and to seek comfort, release and forgiveness from a respected father of the Church. As with counselling, confidentiality is guaranteed.

With a notable difference.

Counsellors, along with doctors, teachers and many others who work with children, are mandated (though mandatory requirements may vary across States) to report child sexual abuse.

Yep. Mandatory reporting except for priests

— Glorious Pecora (@noplaceforsheep) August 21, 2017

The ethical code of practice that binds me as a psychologist also permits and makes necessary the breaking of confidentiality when there is a risk of serious harm. In the case of serious threats to self and others, I may inform relevant people to enhance the safety of the client and the community. I have a duty to warn potential victims of threats of harm.

In the 1980s, I began a senior role at a major crisis telephone counselling service. The policy regarding suicide and threats of harm had just changed to conform to the Australian Psychologists Code of Ethical Practice.

Previously, when callers rang saying they had taken an overdose and just wanted to have someone to talk to while they died, this was enabled. It was a terrible burden to expect of volunteer counsellors. Thankfully, the policy was changed and counsellors were trained to work actively with the callers’ ambivalence about suicide and to engage callers to accept help. A system of assessment was in place to enable a call to be traced and an ambulance sent. Lives were saved. The act of calling the service was considered a conscious or unconscious cry for help. There was a duty of care.

Some callers had been traumatised by childhood sexual abuse. It inflicted terrible incalculable pain that kept resurfacing throughout their lives. The damage was sexual and spiritual, as well as a massive betrayal of trust.

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a magic wand...

So, I've got this right, yes? On the one hand, we have the Catholic Church maintaining it will make no change in its protocol about the sanctity of the confessional. And it maintains that, despite the fact that – as just revealed by the Criminal Justice report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – it has presided over cases like the one in Rockhampton where Father Michael McArdle was forgiven no fewer than 1500 times by 30 of his fellow priests for raping children in his care.

"I was devastated after the assaults, every one of them," Father McArdle affirmed in a 2004 affidavit, quoted in The Australian on Tuesday. "So distressed would I become that I would attend confessions weekly. [After every confession], it was like a magic wand had been waved over me."

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the bullshit of "repentance"...


from John Tasioulas

Should the state recognise repentance displayed by criminal offenders, and foster its emergence, through the institution of legal punishment?

I argue that repentance is the intrinsically appropriate response to one's moral wrongdoing in a twofold sense. Its appropriateness follows from the fact of one's wrongdoing, considered just as a wrongful act for which one is morally responsible and deserves to be blamed; and there is intrinsic (or non-instrumental) moral value in repenting quite apart from any value attaching to the consequences of doing so.

The appropriate object of repentance is some prior act of one's own - or, in the case of a group's wrongdoing, an act for which one bears a share of collective responsibility.

But in contrast to attitudes such as regret or disappointment, the object of repentance is one's wrongful act qua wrongful. It is not any consequences attendant upon the act, or any features of the act, beyond those that constitute its wrongfulness.



The version of the communicative theory I have relied on here has the advantage that it enables us to affirm an attractive value pluralism within the overarching structure provided by the formal end of communicating censure for wrongdoing. This allows both considerations of justice (in the guise of retributive desert) and those of charity (in the guise of considerations of mercy that temper justice) to contribute to an all-things-considered judgment regarding whether to punish an offender or how much punishment to inflict in a given case.

John Tasioulas is Yeoh Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law, and the Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law at King's College, London. This is a substantially edited version of an article originally published in theOhio State Journal of Criminal Law.


Repentance in criminals can be an avenue to reoffending. Some criminals are swimming in the life of crime. I know of criminals who use the leniency system to reoffend without thinking twice about the consequences... Uhoh... Gus the old kook knows some criminals!!!! Yes and most of them are in Parliament, lying through their teeth and when found out, they "apologise" and a few clicks later they OFFEND AGAIN... 

Blair, Bush and Howard should be behind bars for a start.... But that won't happen because in order to charge them, the system would have to expose all the tricks of the CIA and MI6 (and ASIO) in this affair and many more heads would roll...

And do these idiots repent? Nupe... They are proud of having created crap that continues to this day... Even Howard says "He would do it again"... That is a form of defence against the REAL criminality that pervaded their action.



no contest...

The royal commission has recommended that priests who fail to report information about child sexual abuse should face criminal charges. In other words, the seal of the confessional should not be inviolable.

The New South Wales government is seeking the public’s response and has just issued a discussion paper entitled “Strengthening child sexual abuse laws in NSW”. It’s an interesting paper because not once are the words “confession” or “confessional” mentioned.

The attorney-general, Mark Speakman, said this is a “sensitive issue”. On the one hand, he points out, there is the Catholic Church and its belief that the confession of offending priests is confidential. On the other, there are children who have been criminally abused. This doesn’t seem like much of a contest.

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papal envoy offended?...

The Vatican has recalled a high-ranking diplomat to Rome whom the US State Department believes may have broken child pornography laws.

The unnamed Vatican diplomat returned to Rome after US prosecutors asked for the priest to be charged and face trial. The State Department also asked the Holy See, the body responsible for the governance of all Catholics, to rescind the man’s diplomatic immunity on August 21, but this request was denied, reportsAP.

Vatican prosecutors have opened their own investigation into the allegations and are seeking evidence from the US. The diplomat is suspected of possessing child pornography, including images of pre-pubesant children.

In a statement, the Vatican confirmed that the State Department had notified it of a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington,” Reuters reports.

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