The Pope has come and gone, the party is over, the litter and lights have all been cleaned up and yet there is silence, silence everywhere. Silence from religious leaders of all denominations, silence from our political leaders, silence from our commentators and community leaders on the apology made by the Pontiff. The silence in regards the obvious failures of both Federal and State Governments to acknowledge the existence of clergy abuse and of their failure to act against it. There simply is no excuse for sexual abuse, nor is there any excuse for the sexual abuse of our children by clergy. There is no excuse for our Governments to fail to act appropriately to the sexual abuse of children by clergy and others.
Many call it discrimination when our Prime Minister on the one hand apologises on behalf of all Australians to Aboriginal people for the "horrendous" sexual and other abuses they have experienced (and rightly so). However when this apology is not extended to those who experienced "horrendous" abuses at the hands of some clergy it is discrimination, discrimination of the worst kind because it has the undertones of a religious bias against Catholic adults who were abused by their priests as children and our Governments failed to notice or act.
With the apology from Pope Benedict together with the Prime Ministers' own statement that these stories are "horrendous" then surely this bias and exemptions must be removed.
If horrendous sexual crimes committed against one demographic are committed against another then they too should receive equal treatment by the Prime Minister and by each of our State Governments in the manner in which we Australians call a fair go.
The issue of clergy abuse and in particular the abuses by Catholic priests are legendary across the depth and breadth of this country. There are no more universally understood jokes in Australia than those in regards bishops and hookers, pedophile priests and diocese, bishops and apologies and that list goes on. These are a part of the folklore of Australia and they honestly describe the reality and the history many Australians have lived with for generations.
With the Popes' much anticipated acknowledgment of the truths of those in regards the sexual abuse of children it is logical that our State and Federal Governments should also acknowledge those facts else they risk complicity through negligence and could be held accountable for that in the same way war criminals are held accountable for crimes against humanity.
It is time for Governments right across our country to apologise for the failure of current and previous governments to act against the crimes committed by clergy against the children of our society, regardless of the fact that they may be Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Catholic or other. The Constitutional freedom of expression of religion simply does not include permission to sexually abuse children. It becomes a heinous crime when silence and inaction is the response of our Governments to the facts of clergy abuse and to the plea from the Pontiff to lift the veil on the sexual abuse of all our children.
It surely must not be difficult for PMs, Premiers and politicians across our country to see that now is the time for them to support the call of the Pope and to step forward and to provide the public incentives and to actively promote and champion those human rights safeguards required now that the apology by the leader of the largest Christian Church in the world has acknowledged the existence and scale of the problem of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.
Whilst hypocrisy and discrimination are the words on the lips of people all across the land when they speak on this issue and if either our State or Federal Governments do not act in concert to bring justice and healing to victims of clergy abuse, both black, white, Catholic or other, then those voices calling out about the deplorable rates of rape, domestic violence and sexual assaults must inevitably join in concert to shout in the faces of our politicians that it is time; enough is enough; it is time for them also to act in a just and proper way and as a first step in that direct they should provide a public apology to all victims of sexual abuses by clergy including those for which our health and justice systems have failed over the past decades as a consequence of Government inaction. It is simply indefensible to act otherwise.
The mums and dads of children of all denominations as well as non-religious peoples have a common interest in the protection and safety of their children in particular the sexual safety of their children and they can at the moment point their finger at Governments and declare that they are not speaking out against those "horrendous" acts and that it is time for them to acknowledge the injustices of clergy abuse. That the sexual abuse of thousands and possibly tens of thousands could continue for so long in our society is testament to the failure of successive governments in this area and that fact can no longer be tolerated in a our society.
It is time for our Governments, our commentators and community leaders to set the record straight in the way any caring parent would, by acting for the protection of our children and by restoring to them their right to justice and to ensure these crimes against our children can never occur again.
John Brown Notify us
of an article of interest
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.Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia