Victoria’s chief Anglican, Philip Freier (see previous posting), has fronted the Victorian Parliamentary enquiry into clerical child sexual abuse, but his underling Bishops have not. They do not seem to have much to say on the topic at all, apparently preferring to leave it all to their boss.
The exception is the Bendigo guy, Andrew Curnow, who has previously worked in New York and Virginia. He acknowledges seven cases of “inappropriate behaviour” in the past nine years. These were passed on to his Director of Professional Standards, and believed that only one of them was passed on to police. He claims that “We have no evidence to believe sexual abuse is widespread” in his diocese, although he admits there could be more where victims approached police first.
Archbishop Freier’s bishops seem to be much more concerned with same sex relationships.
The Gippsland guy, John McIntyre, recently appointed an openly gay priest, and supports marriage equality. The Ballarat guy, Barry Weatherill has previously said that same-sex couples should not be discriminated against in any way by the law and should have access to the same superannuation and the like, but was not in favour of marriage equality. Weatherill had been in charge when an openly gay priest quit after complaining about “persecution” for being in a lesbian relationship.
The Victorian views are a bit in contrast with those of former Sydney Archbishop Jensen. Commenting on a Canadian proposal to bless same-sex unions, Jensen commented that “allowing same-sex couples to marry could lead to the acceptance of polygamy and incest.”
Jensen also opposed women priests, but seems to have lost the battle in Victoria. The Victorian bishops all support women priests, and sometimes bishops, but never Archbishops. The latecomer was the Wangaratta guy, John Parkes, who “belatedly” inducted Mother Sullivan as a priest after she had been in the job for three years. It was reported that the delay was “caused by the powers-that-be wishing to avoid offence to the diehards still uncomfortable about women priests.”
There have been some odd relationships between the Anglicans and Catholics in these dioceses. Freier was himself originally a catholic. Bishop Weatherill had obtained the resignation of a fellow bishop, Ross Davies, for “scandalous conduct”, mainly being a closet catholic. Davies was paid $150,000 for resigning his position, after which he formally converted to the Catholic Church. Davies, who was a lawyer, had previously criticized the Anglican’s protocols for dealing with clerical child abuse.
By way of balancing the books, Weatherill recently made Constatine Osuchukwu an Anglican priest. Osuchukwu had previously been a Catholic priest. Weatherill has something in common with the Catholic cardinal George Pell. Pell likes being tour leader for travel agencies (see previous posting). Weatherill too likes this perk. Last year he led a Westminster Tours group ($7,500 per person twin share) in the footsteps of the Crusaders.
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That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)