Royal Commission in Australia: Clergy accused of abuse is 7%. “Accused…”


Sure, there has been some abuse. Some are guilty. Many are innocent, but are sitting ducks because they are not allowed due process. The numbers of the actually guilty are much lower than the numbers of the merely accused. And on that score, it should be pointed out that whatever the numbers that have been reported, they are vastly smaller than the numbers reported for incest, which stands at something like 10-20% percent of the population, so that one in every five lay people you meet is an abuser. Anyway…

There’s a difference between accused and convicted and between convicted and guilty, right? Right? But as one judge told a bishop who asked if the judge if this was about money or justice, the judge said that it has nothing to do with justice, only money, and he intends to take as much money from the Church as possible.

But in the perception of people, you know, those with pious ears, if someone is accused of such a thing they are automatically guilty of everything for which they stand accused, you know, like the case of an accusation against a priest which was allowed by a judge even though the abuse is said to have taken place before the priest was born. This has nothing to do with justice. Generally speaking, clergy are not allowed to have due process. Settlements are made by their (arch)dioceses and they are removed from the priesthood forever, even while the accuser pockets money. Many church officials, making themselves heroes for being “tough”, stack juries against priests by making public statements about the certain guilt of the priest (with no proof) even before the jury is selected, with that statement from a diocese being used in the trial as the only “proof” which convicts the priest, with those church officials getting promotions for being heroes…

When, at the last judgment, the devil accuses before God those who falsely accused priests on this earth, and denied those priests due process, it seems to me that the advocate we have before God, Jesus Christ, with His wounds pleading for our forgiveness, will be denied them, so that everything the devil wishes to accuse them of will be attributed to them whether they are guilty of it or not. It’s only just, right? Right?

Here’s the deal: SNAP is being sued for corruption, for allegedly taking kickbacks, feeding lawyers any and every case and getting money in return from outcomes. SNAP, it seems to me, is on a world-wide blitz to take attention away from themselves by having such as those in the Royal Commission publish ludicrous numbers with no distinction between the accused and the convicted and the guilty.

We will see what the reality is at the judgment, for, let it be known, Christ Jesus, Himself falsely accused, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

P.S. I often hear from lay people, from priests and from bishops who are aghast that I would say such a thing about Jesus, exclaiming all breathlessly that Jesus wasn’t accused of such a thing as that and how dare you make such a statement. I explain to them that all false accusations are false accusations (easy logic, no?), and that any kind of false accusation leads to the death or dismissal also of innocent priests. They simply remain aghast, or put on such a pretense, revealing, it seems to me, an indication that they themselves may well agree that all accusations must be true, having invested themselves into this dynamic in conversations by quickly agreeing that so and so must by guilty, you know, just because, with the idea that in smacking others down they lift themselves up, making themselves heroes in being tough.

But here’s the deal. Those “heroes” only encourage real abuse: “Come get money! I’ll be your hero!” Even more, when people are sick of this kind of abuse of authority, they will no longer listen even to real victims. That’s terrible.

The way to go is justice all around. None of this “The victim is always right without any due process for the priest” rubbish. That only encourages abuse with impunity. Get it?


Filed under Abuse

11 responses to “Royal Commission in Australia: Clergy accused of abuse is 7%. “Accused…”

  1. elizdelphi

    I saw an article about that this morning and my reaction was that the numbers are far fetched. The media have every reason to be able to realize that quite a few false accusations are made, largely for money, and yet they publish things like this meant to be taken at face value. At the same time, to quote a line from Pope Benedict from years ago when he was responding to the Irish abuse crisis, that made a lasting impression on me: “we must be seen to do penance.”

    The article I read (BBC) focused on religious orders. The fact is we know better than the media or etc that vast swathes of religious life have been in an appalling state during the time period of the alleged abuse. Are religious men and women seen to do penance? Or did they begin eradicating anything like that beginning from approximately the 50s? Do people who fast, wear a hairshirt and “take the discipline” (as was not unusual in the old days, though I am not saying each of these practices necessarily is urgent to revive) sexually abuse children, or him or her own self or anyone? It may be possible to be that much of a phony, but barely. Do most religious today fast at any other time at all except Ash Wednesday and Good Friday? And do they all even do that? Do they go to confession at any time other than in Lent? And do they all even do that? Do they define poverty, chastity and obedience to mean, well, poverty, chastity and obedience? Anyone who has been around religious life and paid more than casual attention realizes that there have been opinions in circulation that make the vows of the counsels a bald faced lie. Whether so many abused children is difficult to know, but it is observable that the witness of bodily penance is absent, and that the eloquence of celibacy in testimony to Jesus Christ is very damaged if not destroyed amongst many who chose it and are bound to it because with their own words and actions they do not seem to really believe entirely in chastity. Those religious who are defenders of homosexual lifestyle and “gay” identity are a prime example. While I consider it probable that some of those with such views are personally relatively chaste, and possibly in some instances not homosexually inclined themselves, nothing is more emblematic than homosexuality for rejection of chastity in toto. So this is totally contrary to witness to Jesus Christ in a life of celibacy, and especially in a religious brotherhood or sisterhood. Even false accusations are “credible” because the witness given by so much of religious life has not been credible.

    • Father George David Byers

      Yes, elizdelphi, having taught in many seminaries I must say that there are few who understand the meaning of chastity in religious life or for diocesan priests. Who knows about marriage to the Church by the Sacrifice of the Mass one offers with the marriage vows being the Consecrations of the Body and Blood of Jesus in His total self-giving unto death for the love of His Immaculate Bride, the Church. Who talks about that?! We need to get back to it being all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

  2. elizdelphi

    I have definitely noticed how even good priests whom I am morally certain are physically chaste don’t always fully understand, or haven’t fully given their heart over fully to what they understand. It has actually baffled me since I would think they would find a deeper joy in their priesthood. The same priests who do not understand themselves, also cannot understand me well.

  3. I agree with you 100% Father George. I imagine Jesus taking these accusations VERY personal. I would hate to be anybody involved in this scandal. The innocence of the falsely accused cries to heaven and God hears. I also hope all those making these false claims enjoy their financial gain because I doubt they think it was worth it, when the judgement comes.

    Also did you know that the President of SNAP resigned? SNAP is being sued by a former employee who was fired when she asked a few questions about their ethics. Look at:

    • Father George David Byers

      Father Gordon MacRae will publish about SNAP on TSW this Wednesday. I’m just editing the post now.

  4. elizdelphi – I’ve had the same thoughts and questions.

    I thought perhaps they were in denial because of fear. But after a while I began to wonder if some of these ordained men even ‘get it’.

    About 25 years ago there was a local priest who was being persecuted because he was ‘too prayerful’ and tried to tell parishioners to pray more and get closer to God. I know this sounds incredible but it was true.

    He was never accused to abuse or financial misdeeds – thank God. His enemies started a writing campaign to the Bishop and accused him of the most unbelievable ‘crimes’ – hearing confessions five feet from the congregation, ( the confessional was within the body of the church) He prayed the rosary too much (??), he was out too late – (his office was always open and he made himself available to the community until after 10 pm every day), he performed a wedding and did not allow the photographer in the sanitary – (until after the sacrament was conferred and let them ‘stage’ all the photos they wanted)

    Apparently the news of his situation spread across the county and I was asked by several protestant ladies of my acquaintance, ‘what are you Catholics doing to that priest and what’s wrong with praying?’

    He was dismissed from the parish, ordered to go on a retreat where he was ‘reeducated and reformed’ and told he would have to find his own re-assignment. He is now in a new diocese and well-liked by his new parishioners.

    I guess the devil really hates priests and uses anything and anyone to destroy them. We need to pray for our priests. In hindsight I think my priest friend got off easy. But it still makes no sense to me.

  5. elizdelphi

    I had wondered when I would see something from Fr MacRae about the overdue SNAP implosion.

    We had some good priests transfer into our diocese because the exact same type of thing happened to them in another diocese, joisygoil. That was a while ago that they came here and they have thrived in our diocese. What an utter insanity of the other bishop, maybe that diocese has SO MANY VOCATIONS that losing 2 priests in their prime just wouldn’t matter, and they don’t need to worry about potential losses of some “conservative” vocations due to fears raised in the seminarians realizing the bishop won’t support priests. Wow it must be nice to be so sure of having plenty of priests in the future that you can drive away some good ones with no worries.

  6. I’m glad those priests found refuge in your diocese. Let me assure you that we’ve never had an overabundance of vocations. Far from it. All this made a lot of us wonder what was happening. I don’t want to criticize the hierarchy , but sometimes they sure seem a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus day.

  7. CNN website has the headline “Australia:7% of Priests Abused Children.” You have to read the article to find the word “accused.” Fake-News? I think so.

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