I noted recently how Pope Benedict XVI launched his latest attack against gays and gay marriage during which the Nazi Pope claimed that same sex marriage is a threat to society. At the time I noted that it would be nice if Benedict spent half as much time addressing the global sex abuse scandal that continues to engulf the Church. Yet another example of the Pope's misplaced priorities is news coverage out of Australia where the Church in the State of Victoria alone has admitted that at least 620 children were sexually abused by Catholic clergy. Remember, the 620 figure is only for admitted cases in the State of Victoria alone. Worse yet, many believe the figure greatly understates the actual number of victims. The disclosure has renewed calls for a separate government investigation of the Church. AFP has coverage. Here are highlights:
SYDNEY — The Catholic Church in one Australian state has revealed that at least 620 children have been abused by its clergy since the 1930s, sparking a fresh call Saturday for an independent inquiry into sex abuse.
The Catholic Church in Victoria revealed the number in a submission to a state parliamentary hearing on Friday but said the instances of abuse reported had fallen dramatically from the "appalling" numbers of the 1960s and 1970s.
"It is shameful and shocking that this abuse, with its dramatic impact on those who were abused and their families, was committed by Catholic priests, religious and church workers," Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said.
[V]ictims' supporters say the number of children abused was likely much higher than that confirmed by the church in its own inquiries.
Chrissie Foster, whose two daughters were raped by their parish priest from the mid-1980s, said the church had had decades to address the issue but had only revealed the figure to the Victorian inquiry on Friday.
"It's only been victims coming out and going to the police that has stopped all of this," she told the ABC.
"The church has never lifted a finger to stop their paedophile priests," added Foster, who said one of her daughters had ultimately taken her own life.
President of the Law Institute of Victoria, Michael Holcroft, said there was a need for more independent investigations. "Obviously there's a public perception that the church investigating the church is Caesar judging Caesar and I think that the community is now looking for somebody external, someone independent to get to the bottom of what's obviously been a big problem for a long, long time," he told the ABC.
The Victorian state government announced the inquiry into the handling of child abuse cases by religious and non-government bodies after the suicides of dozens of people abused by clergy.