Aspinall’s Final Say (Or: The Rubicon Was Too Cold To Cross)

The head of the Anglican Church was given the last word at the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s third hearing, into Allan Kitchingman (see previous posting) and the Anglican Church’s North Coast Children’s Home. That word was “help”.

Like Catholic Cardinal, George Pell, Primate Aspinall is keen to remind anyone who will listen, that he is not like a CEO of his church, in that he has no power over his apparent underlings. Aspinall has so little power, that he has called on the commission to recommend that the government pass laws to force his church to be more humane towards its victims, through a national compensation system.

“I think, in terms of the Anglican Church, it would be much quicker and simpler for us if that were imposed on us from outside. And then dioceses wouldn’t fall into the trap that Grafton did in terms of focusing on financial matters to the detriment of victims. They would simply be given a determination by a statutory body and required to find the money,” Aspinall said.

He felt that it would be essentially impossible for the Anglican Church to set up such a fund, because it would require agreement from all 23 dioceses. Agreement was unlikely, because, as he poetically put it, “Anglican politics makes federal politics look like kindergarten.” Members of the Church would “take a dim view” of having to sell property to raise cash for victim compensation and assistance.

The mainstream media considered Aspinall’s comments on the lack of ethics by his officials in Grafton diocese as being “extraordinary”. Aspinall went to great lengths to paint himself as the only churchman with integrity in the whole affair. The lie to this is given in a part of “Tommy” Campion’s submission to the Royal Commission. When referring to his attempts to gain a meeting with Aspinall, “Tommy” said “I wrote to the leader of the Anglican Church of Australia, Primate Archbishop Dr. Phillip Aspinall. For five years, I begged him to meet with me, to speak of the abuse of 200 children. He refused. Letters from his office read: The Primate does not consider there would be any useful purpose gained by such a meeting.” []

The Royal Commission treated Aspinall with kid gloves. Perhaps they were in awe of someone with a title like “Primate Archbishop Doctor….” There was no questioning of why “Tommy” had to resort to his one-man protest on the steps of Aspinall’s grand cathedral to even get a short meeting with the great man. There was no questioning of when he knew of ex-Bishop Slater’s impending retirement/resignation. There was no questioning of why the false distracter of “first female bishop” was called into play on the eve of the hearings. There was no questioning of past allegations against Aspinall himself, or of his involvement with the cover-up scandal in Adelaide when he was bishop there. The list of unasked questions would take reams to print…….

Overall, the Anglican Church lost both the battle and the war, but Aspinall won the battle and lost the war by blaming those he supposedly leads, for a totally unchristian attitude towards the many victims of the Anglican Church in Australia.

[Postscript: The investigative journalist who uncovered much of the child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Newcastle area, Joanne McCarthy, of the “Newcastle Herald”, last night was awarded Australia’s highest media award, the Gold Walkley, for her efforts over many years. McCarthy thanked the victims and their families for trusting her to tell their stories.]

Read more here:

TOMORROW: What is the next hearing about?

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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