12 September 2018, The Tablet

I am 25 years a priest this December. I have never heard a paedophile’s confession

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In the present climate in Australia, Catholic bishops cannot win a trick. In their long-awaited 60-page response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, they accepted 98 per cent of the commission’s recommendations. But this was drowned out in the media coverage by their refusal to accept one recommendation, and their insistence that others were directed to the Holy See, not them.

It didn’t help that the bishops’ report was released in the shadow of Francis’ trip to Ireland, where, perhaps understandably, protesters had commanded as much attention as the Pope – and that all this came at the same time as Archbishop Viganò’s lurid allegations of the cover-up of sexual misconduct by Vatican figures over three papacies hit the international headlines.

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