It was embarrassing to observe Australian society trying to avert its gaze from the deaths of more than 40 young men. These men are purportedly suicide victims whose deaths appear to be consequent to sexual abuse in their churches. As the faces of the deceased stared out at me from reports in The Age, I felt that this loss of young life could surely not go unexamined in any civilised society.
I blogged on this matter last year based on some personal testimony I had heard about the suicide of a young victim relative of an abusing priest. Now my anecdotal evidence appears to have found support in police investigations. This is an epidemic of self-slaughter that cannot be ignored.
Yet without constant advocacy and evidence from affected Catholic parents, police and some innocent clergy, the dead and their stories would have gone unexamined. Now the growing forensic evidence of a link between Catholic child abuse and the apparent suicides of victims raises issues of church and state that could no longer be ignored.
Advertisement: Story continues belowThe ponderous voyage to an inquiry was awful to behold. Why were we so squeamish about interrogating this issue? If suspicion of such losses of young life occurred in, say, an accident or epidemic, there would be no question of an inquiry.
Broken Rites, formed in 1993 to fight church abuse, documents 150 criminal cases on its website and almost as many civil cases. That is a huge number given the barriers to legal action.
The government terms of reference, a few short paragraphs, would have been drafted in an instant.
Though apparently precipitated by the Age articles on police investigations into the Catholic suicides, the inquiry includes other organisations. There have been allegations about a Jewish school which will be included.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Vatican: The Roman burden
Vatican: The Roman burden - brisbanetimes