Although the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has been making headlines for years as thousands of people come forward with their own stories of abuse at the hands of priests, only one Church official has actually gone to prison as a result.
Now, that official’s retrial date has been pushed back by nearly a year due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The bishops should end their obsession with Pell and take up their moral responsibility to victims
Cardinal George Pell’s acquittal was legally the correct decision. His relief and that of his family and many supporters will be palpable. He – not the Catholic church – was on trial and the high court has seen fit to ensure justice was served.
But it is not possible to divorce the acquittal from the broader context of the Catholic church’s history of child sexual abuse.
With the matter concluded the Catholic bishops should end their obsession with Pell and take up their moral responsibility to the victims of church perpetrators and those who obfuscated and concealed on their behalf.
The church has tried to make it so it can’t be divorced. Yet people do want to leave. In droves
“Are you a Catholic?”
The question eventually surfaces over dinner or drinks in so many conversations: about the child sex abuse royal commission, marriage equality, religious freedom, legalising abortion and euthanasia. About George Pell.
Many of us baptised Catholic have drifted – through boredom, scepticism, disbelief or outright disgust with the Roman church – from Christmas Catholic to census Catholic to lapsed Catholic. Over the decades I’ve been outside the church I’ve also used ex-Catholic, non-practising Catholic and mis-Catholic.
Pastor Jon Duncan of the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi, Calif., has been ordered by the San Joaquin County Department of Health to stop religious gatherings. The Church, which has continued to hold in-person services during the Coronavirus pandemic has been labeled a “public nuisance” and a “non-essential service” by the county, according to Church attorney Dean R. Broyles. Pastor Duncan disagrees with that assessment, of course, and said that while his congregation will follow the CDC’s recommendations to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, on Palm Sunday he will hold services anyway.
Pope Francis’ former finance minister Pell had been the most senior Catholic found guilty of sexually abusing children and has spent 13 months in high-security prisons before seven High Court judges unanimously dismissed his convictions.
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Down on earth, the coronavirus outbreak was felling lives, livelihoods and normalcy. A nation-spanning blessing seemed called for. So up went a priest in a small airplane, rumbling overhead at an epidemiologically safe distance from the troubles below, wielding a sacred golden vessel from a cockpit-turned-pulpit.
Before his flight over Lebanon, a soldier at an airport checkpoint asked the Rev. Majdi Allawi if he had a mask and hand sanitizer.
“Jesus is my protection,” said Father Allawi, who belongs to the Maronite Catholic Church. “He is my sanitizer.”
Religion is the solace of first resort for billions of people grappling with a pandemic for which scientists, presidents and the secular world seem, so far, to have few answers. With both sanitizer and leadership in short supply, dread over the coronavirus has driven the globe’s faithful even closer to religion and ritual.
But what is good for the soul may not always be good for the body.
Believers worldwide are running afoul of public health authorities’ warnings that communal gatherings, the keystone of so much religious practice, must be limited to combat the virus’ spread. In some cases, religious fervor has led people toward cures that have no grounding in science; in others, it has drawn them to sacred places or rites that could increase the risk of infection.
Others appeared to minimize the physical health threats of the virus or emphasized how atonement, spiritual preparation or protection is strengthened through church tithing or donations.
These initial and ongoing response of some of these leaders have highlighted dangerous worldviews that stress the authority of Christian charismatic personal prophecy and sees in calamitous events signs of Christ’s final triumph.
She is a rural woman who works from daybreak until sundown and often beyond. She may run a small business or cultivate a field or both to support her family. Long hours are spent collecting water and fuel, and preparing food. She sees to the raising of children. She tends livestock.
Without rural women and girls, rural communities would not function. Yet women and girls are among the people most likely to be poor, to lack access to assets, education, health care and other essential services, and to be hit hardest by climate change. On almost every measure of development, rural women, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, fare worse than rural men.
Synod hears apologies must be followed by concrete action as it backs compensating survivor
The Church of England could face a multimillion-pound bill after its ruling body voted in favour of compensating survivors of sexual abuse.
In a debate on the church’s response to recommendations made by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), the General Synod was told by the bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, that words of apology must be followed by “concrete actions”.
Pope yet to implement crucial reforms to canon law one year on from summit
The Vatican has done little to seriously address the problem of clerical sexual abuse one year on from an unprecedented summit at which bishops and cardinals heard the testimony of victims, activists have said.