Be bold: Dominican priest Tom Doyle outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2017 after giving evidence. He says government deference towards the Catholic church has to end because of the child sex scandal.THEn Government should ignore the church/state divide and put “massive pressure” on the Catholic Church to namechild sexual abuse as a crime in church law, says the American Catholic cleric who first blew the whistle on the global abuse scandal in 1984.
“The church gave up this privilege long ago when they started to enable sex abuse, lie about it to society and cover up for abusers,” said Dominican priest Tom Doyle after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report in December recommended major changes, including to celibacy and the secrecy of the confessional.
Know the whole story: The Royal Commission and the complete investigation
The government must link tax concessions with the need for significant change in the church because “when enough money goes away they start to feel the reality”, he said.
n politicians needed to end the “deference and preferential treatment” given to the Catholic Church because “the deference accorded by many sectors in civil society has done its part to enable this harm, by allowing the churches to escape accountability”, he said in response to Newcastle Herald questions.
Father Tom DoyleThe church gave up this privilege long ago when they started to enable sex abuse, lie about it to society and cover up for abusers.
Father Tom DoyleThe government now has the church on the defensive where it should be. The force of the government behind the proposals adds mightily to their credibility and relevance.
Father Tom Doyle
It is essential the n Government apply “massive pressure” on the church to act on a royal commission recommendation to name child sexual abuse as a crime in church law, rather than a sin or moral failure, he said.
“By persisting in callingsexual abuse a moral failure the institutional church is continuing to try to avoid the true nature of child abuse, as well as itsown accountability.Its insistence on calling it a moral failure is tantamount to claiming there are two standards of accountability and the church is ‘special’, with the right to respond to sexual abuse within its own system and its own standards.”
Father Doyle said the n royal commission had gone “far beyond what any other country or organisation has accomplished” on holding organisations, and particularly the Catholic Church,accountable for a global tragedy.
“The results will be read and studied by people in any country where there has been sexual abuse by clergy, which includes just about every country on the planet.The reports will give rise to other reports, action, proposals and protocols, and it will also provide incentive for people in other countries to press for similar investigations.
“The n investigation has been the result of a massive investment in n tax dollars which is most important because it shows the value placed on children and the vulnerable and the state’s obligation to protect them.
“The Catholic church does not, in reality, place much value on children and the vulnerable.”
The final royal commission report said the majority of survivors who said they were sexually abused in religious institutions –61.4 per cent –said they were abused in Catholic institutions.
The next highest rate of abuse allegations –14.8 per cent –was reported in Anglican institutions, followed by the Salvation Army (7.2 per cent).