4444 Children abused

Royal Commission: 4,444 Children 

Abused by Catholic Prelates

By Pastor Hal Mayer  Feb, 2017 

The Royal Commission investigating institutional response to child abuse in the Australian Catholic Church has released a report detailing the statistics of the systemic abuse of children by clergy and the numbers are shocking. 

Seven percent of Australian Catholic priests (up to 15% in some dioceses) were accused of abusing children in the six decades since 1950. Originally, the Catholic Church had represented these as isolated cases. 

Some Catholic orders were worse. In the case of the order of the St. John of God Brothers, a staggering 40% of the religious brothers are believed to have abused children. Twenty-two percent of Christian Brothers and 20% of Marist Brothers (two other orders) were alleged perpetrators. More than 20% of priests in the Benedictine community of New Norcia were also alleged perpetrators, while more than 17% of clergy were accused of crimes against children in the Salesians of Don Bosco order. 

Between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse in total, relating to 93 Catholic Church authorities, involving more than 1,000 institutions and 2,400 perpetrators. The average age of the church’s victims was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys, while most of them were boys. 

Requests to the Holy See and local Catholic authorities for documents involving Australian priests accused of abuse were consistently refused. The Commission wanted to understand what action the church took in each case. “The Holy See said it was “neither possible nor appropriate to provide the information requested.”

“Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious [brothers] were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past,” said Gail Furness, Senior Counsel assisting the investigation. “Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover-ups.”

The church’s Truth, Justice and Healing council, set up to coordinate the church’s response to the crisis, made an opening statement following the release of the data. Chief executive Francis Sullivan said the data without doubt “undermines the image and credibility of the priesthood… These numbers are shocking, they are tragic, they are indefensible,” Sullivan said. “And each entry in this data for the most part represents a child who suffered at the hands of someone who should have cared for and protected them.”

“The data is an indictment on the priests and religious who abused these children. It also reflects on the church leaders who at times failed to take steps to deal with the abusers, failed to call them to order and failed to deal with them in accordance with the law.”

“As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame,” he said. Sullivan also outlined a number of programs designed to change the culture of the church. 

Why did the abuse happen at such a scale? And why was it covered-up for so long? These questions and others will perhaps be answered eventually by the Royal Commission’s final report. 

While the following verses of scripture certainly apply to the spiritual and prophetic aspects of Roman Catholicism’s Babylonian heritage, this level of spiritual apostasy inevitably carries with it literal corruption, abuse and immorality played out in real world circumstances and organizations. 

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4 and 5.