Maree Marsh (Or: Keep the Rosary Beads Handy)


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ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) Chair, Maree Marsh (pictured above), has been appointed to the Catholic Church PR Unit charged with dealing with the fall-out from the Royal Commission. She is also a former Congregational Leader of the Brigidine Sisters, and may need to think hard about her role on the committee if the matter of paedotourism to orphanages in countries like Cambodia is raised at the Royal Commission.

As a psychologist, she has had professional experience with women who have experienced clerical sexual abuse and presumably this would place her in a position against those who prefer to sweep this issue under the carpet. It remains to be seen whether or not she will speak up within the committee, particularly against the Bishop Hart line of (un)reasoning.

Bishop Hart was partly instrumental in setting up the PR unit of which Sr. Marsh is a member. Over several decades, five women have accused priest Barry Whelan of sexually abusing them, including a woman who was 13 at the time of the alleged abuse and a woman who claims to have had Whelan’s son.

In 2004, Victorian magistrate Goldsborough described Bishop Hart’s behaviour towards  one of  Whelan’s alleged victims as “appalling.” Archbishop Hart had told the woman to ”go to hell, bitch” according to court documents. The magistrate said that “”Archbishop Hart has apologized for this appalling and ungracious act directly from the witness box in my presence.” Mr. Hart later claimed, repeatedly, to a Melbourne “Age” reporter that he “did not recall” either his comments or the magistrate’s rebuke.

Ms. Marsh may need to keep her rosary beads handy.

[Postscript: Is this a (lighter) new trend? According to MSN, barely two years into priest training at the St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati, actor Tom Cruise was asked to leave. The reason was that he had stolen a bottle of alcohol from a priest – and worse, had consumed it.]

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TOMORROW: Junior counsel assisting – Melinda Richards

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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