13 November 2012

The Catholic Church deserves to be targeted

PM Julia Gillard has announced that there will be a royal commission set up to investigate allegations of institutional child sex abuse in Australia. This has been a long time coming, and it’s certainly welcome news. Even though pedophile Catholic priests immediately come to mind, the Australian reports that “[t]he inquiry will not be confined to the Catholic Church, but extend to all religious organisations and to children in state care, and into other institutions including schools.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. The commission should indeed investigate allegations of child sex abuse wherever they may have occurred. But when Opposition leader Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell whine about how the Catholic Church is being “targeted” and that the commission should be “wide-ranging” and not “focus solely on the Catholic Church”, they are being obscenely disingenuous. Abbott, who is Catholic, and Cardinal Pell are high-status members of a global organisation that has aided and abetted child molesters and sexual predators within its ranks for decades, an organisation that often shows outright contempt for civil laws because it considers itself subject only to the laws of its own theocracy.

As Labor backbencher Senator Doug Cameron observed, if the “extremely powerful and politically influential church was confident abuse was no longer occurring, it had nothing to fear from a royal commission,” and also that the church should rightly be the focus of any commission because “that’s where the major problem seems to be.”

Julia Gillard’s assurance that the commission will not discriminate is simply political correctness. Many of us are not fooled by the false equivalence being made. The Catholic Church’s role in child sex abuse and its subsequent cover-up is proportionately large enough to warrant a commission of its own. That the government has decided on a more extensive investigation should be considered an undeserved courtesy by petulant Catholics like Tony Abbott and Cardinal Pell.


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