23 April 2011


The following article was in the Herald Sun on 18 April 2011 and some of the postings following the article would possibly be in the category of "my religion right or wrong!" Well into the 21st century and the drivel of religion goes on and on and on!!! Will they never learn??

Let's hound evil clergy

By Alan Howe

From: Herald Sun

April 18, 2011

Spring Street should investigate the Catholic church's handling of sex abuse cases, argues Alan Howe. HWT Image Library

OVER his journey from the seminary in 1942 until a belated meeting with his maker in March 1997, the bisexual Catholic paedophile Father Kevin O'Donnell destroyed any number of lives as he raped his way through generations of Victorian schoolchildren.

Of course he was not alone. Too many Catholic priests were doing the same. Too often others -- sometimes quite senior -- were aware of the grotesque lifestyles of clergy who took pleasure in forced sex with minors, perhaps even seeing it as a privilege.

Often these criminals were moved on to other parishes. Father O'Donnell was shuffled about quite a bit. He'd have loved that; all those fresh faces of smiling innocents gazing up respectfully at the cloaked man their church insisted was "reverend". If only they had known it was the devil staring back, his brain squirming with hard-to-mask glee at so many new opportunities.

How O'Donnell must have sniggered with delight in the girls and boys calling him "father" as he removed their clothes and gorged on their innocence, sometimes at that very moment sentencing them to short, unhappy lives of fear, uncertainty, self-hate and then suicide.

Father O'Donnell didn't care.

When he died -- still a priest, notwithstanding having served too short a time in jail after admitting abusing children -- the then Melbourne Archbishop George Pell said: "He's met his God. He's had to answer for his actions and I hope he's repentant".

Crikey, so do I. Pell's predecessor, Sir Frank Little, said I am unavoidably off to hell, and I'd rather not spend eternity with the repugnant rapist Father O'Donnell just because he wouldn't repent. But I find it hard to believe he would have.

All of Victoria is familiar with the story of Chrissie and Anthony Foster, how Father O'Donnell raped their daughters Emma and Katie at the Sacred Heart Primary School in Oakleigh, and the Fosters' battle for justice from a defiant Catholic Church.

Emma developed deep-seated psychological problems, turned to drugs and died alone of an overdose, aged 26, on the floor of her room clutching a teddy, a present from her loving parents for her first birthday.

Half her life had been spent struggling with the legacy of Father O'Donnell's crimes.

Emma's sister Katie dulled her memories of his hate-filled attacks -- surely the reverend despised his victims -- with alcohol, later being hit by a drunk driver leaving her severely mentally and physically disabled for life.

Recently, copies of Chrissie Foster's book about their experiences, Hell on The Way To Heaven, which she wrote with ABC TV's Paul Kennedy, were presented to the Victorian Parliamentary Library.

Speaking at that event, the Member for Oakleigh, Ann Barker, revealed that she had sent a copy of the book to the Attorney-General, Robert Clark, accompanying a letter seeking to meet him to discuss the terms of reference for what Ms Barker described as "a desperately needed, truly independent state-commissioned inquiry in to the church policies and actions."

When the scope of the sex abuse problem became clearer in the mid-1990s, the Catholic Church hired Melbourne's best lawyers as it moved to defend its reputation, and perhaps its assets. Many would argue -- the Fosters certainly do -- that less attention was paid to the victims' welfare, to seeking out the criminal rapists in church ranks, and to punishing them severely.

The church knew it had a problem, but its attitude to it was depressing and, sometimes, breathtaking.

When the Fosters told Father O'Donnell's successor of the priest's acts he seemed concerned, but immediately said: "Don't tell anyone."

The late Monsignor Gerry Cudmore, the Vicar General, said, astonishingly: "We didn't know the effect it (sexual abuse) would have on children." Cudmore said he didn't believe the church "understood paedophilia".

Father O'Donnell did. It was his full-time occupation around which he might be able to squeeze in some marriage ceremonies, or the odd christening. He had christened Emma.

THEN Archbishop George Pell wrote to Emma, in a letter dated August 26, 1998, acknowledging her abuse at the hands of Father O'Donnell, whom he named.

A paltry offer of compensation was made in a letter from church lawyers five days later, a "realistic alternative to litigation that will otherwise be strenuously defended", it menacingly reported.

What? The church not admit in court that the abuse had taken place if the Fosters turned its money down?

That is exactly what it did.

In documents lodged in court on May 7, 2004, the church's lawyers wrote that the defendants "do not admit the plaintiff was subjected to physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse while an infant by Kevin O'Donnell".

That's not what Archbishop Pell had said six years earlier.

Did you note also that O'Donnell's "father" title is missing? Interesting that because, shamefully, the church never did defrock him. He died as Father O'Donnell.

This week Pell's successor, Archbishop Denis Hart, who accepts the girls were attacked by Father O'Donnell, said that the Fosters' writ "made allegations that differed from what they had told the Independent Commissioner".

Emma's evidence to the church's independent commissioner was in strict confidence, yet here, it would seem, Archbishop Hart is discussing it.

He also said this week that the "legal proceedings were settled upon the Fosters accepting a substantial amount". Strange that, because the amount they received was also in strictest confidence and I am surprised that here the Archbishop hints at it.

In any case, what is "substantial" when your daughters' lives have been ruined? I'd consider no amount substantial. I find trying to calculate what might be substantial as a quite vulgar exercise.

Of course it goes without saying that he also "does not believe an inquiry is warranted".

Here's why the archbishop is wrong: In response to one of my questions last week, Archbishop Hart "reiterates his commitment that priests who are found to have committed serious offences against children will not be returned to ministry".

Serious! What does serious mean? And who decides what is serious?

What about banning all priests who commit any offence against children?

Or might there be too many?

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm