Many Australian Catholics are feeling a bit punch-drunk. In February the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released data regarding the number of cases of abuse since 1950. There has been some dispute about how the numbers were crunched but, however you look at them, the extent of the abuse by priests they reveal is shocking and disturbing.
On 27 June, last year’s national census figures were released, and by the end of the same week Cardinal George Pell had been charged with multiple offences relating to child sexual abuse. For now, and because the case is sub judice, the least said about this last matter, the better. But that’s not true of the results of the census.