Cardinal “Georgie” Pell and his offsider, Melbourne bishop Denis Hart, have come up with a new way to hide the extent of clerical child sexual abuse within their parishes. Give some rubbery figures to the Victorian Parliamentary enquiry into clerical child sexual abuse, then give the real figures after the enquiry finishes public hearings. This way, the media misses the real picture because it has moved onto other things. Only the old impression remains.
In its submission to the Victorian enquiry, the Catholic Church said it had paid compensation to 618 victims. This was widely reported. Now, due to the equivalent of an accounting error (so Pell and the boys would have us believe), the real figure is 849. This was not widely reported. Even this new figure has all of the credibility of government unemployment and CPI figures. The “real” total is probably in excess of 1,000.
Also, at the time of the enquiry, no data were available on the number of clerics convicted of abuses, so no figure was reported by the media. Again, surprise, surprise, these figures are now available. There have been 269 people from the Catholic Church found guilty of child sexual abuse, 218 of them priests and brothers. This, too, was not widely reported. If it had been released during the enquiry, it would surely have been very widely reported.
Another post-enquiry revelation, which might have attracted more attention if released on time, is that nine nuns have been found guilty of child sexual abuse crimes.
In all cases, the Catholic Church has not yet released details of which schools, parishes, or Orders have been involved. The statistics on this could be quite revealing. Perhaps they will be released when the Royal Commission is finished its deliberations.
Pell and Hart have not apologized for the error in their figures. Presumably, they will do so at some (far distant) later date. Isn’t the media cycle a wonderful thing?
Read more here:
TOMORROW: “Georgie” goes holiday shopping in Rome
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)