[Disclosure: In the early days of Broken Rites, one of their people visited this author to discuss strategy. Advice was given to the effect that hard evidence trumps emotional rhetoric anytime. The advice appears to have been well received as this is the current hallmark of the organisation. The author would like to lend support to this worthy organisation. Good luck, Oliver!]
In its covering letter to its submission to the Victorian Parliamentary enquiry, Broken Rites states that “Broken Rites is a voluntary organization and its primary roles are to provide advocacy and advisory services, on a no-cost basis, to persons who have or may have experienced physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse by either ordained clergy, professed, religious, church members or church employees. In a number of situations, our services have to extend towards family members of victims, to persons who are working within community-focused, government agencies and non-government organisations, and to persons who may be legally representing victims and/or their families. These activities are carried out across Australia.”
The church was simply not interested in resolving issues of sexual abuse, Broken Rites founder Chris Wilding (pictured above) told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse within religious organisations. Ms Wilding called on the committee to recommend criminal charges against bishops who had knowingly moved sexual offenders to different locations. Not mincing words, she said, “Lock the bastards up.”
Ms. Wilding has also called for legislative changes to enable victims to sue the Catholic Church (see previous posting on the “Ellis Defence”). Ms Wilding also attacked Peter O’Callaghan), independent commissioner of the Melbourne Archdiocese abuse protocol, as a ”Mr Fixit” whose job was to ”snuff out the scandal, pay out the victims, shut them up, deter them from reporting to police and at the same time gather the information for the church”. (See previous posting for detailed substantiation).
Broken Rites President, Chris McIsaac said that one of the more difficult aspects of abuse was the lack of a proactive attitude by churches. “The church has never gone to the altar boys who were around these men and said did you have any difficulties or problems,” she said. In addition, Ms. McIsaac has expressed the hope that the new Pope may provide the leadership to combat child sexual abuse by catholic clergy.
The submission to the enquiry is divided into two parts. The first part is largely a documentation of abuses while the second offers analysis and suggestions (see links below).
One often hears criticisms of Broken Rites from clergy, but this probably reflects something of their effectiveness rather than any real deficiencies. Not all are critical however. A recent editorial in “Catholica” by Brian Coyne is entitled “A tribute and thanks to Broken Rites”. He notes that their actions would fit nicely with what Jesus would have done.
Readers are strongly urged to visit the Broken Rites website.
Read more here:
TOMORROW: Victorian Enquiry Anglican Church submission
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)