Royal Commission wrap up may be painful

Royal Commission hearing

On February 6, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will commence Case Study 50, otherwise known as the "Catholic wrap up", writes Monica Doumit at The Catholic Weekly.

Scheduled to run for three weeks, the hearing is intended to look at factors which might have contributed to the abuse crisis in the Church, and to our response to the crisis.

The three weeks allocated to the Church is the same amount of time which has been allocated to wrap up all other institutions, government and non-government, combined.

This series of wrap-up hearings will complete around four years of public hearings for the royal commission, and it will be the last major news we will hear of the commission until it releases its final report, which is due to Parliament on December 15.

While we don't know exactly what will be covered in the hearings, we have a fair idea of some of the issues which are primed for discussion.

It is likely that the hearings will open with a breakdown of the statistics regarding abuse in Catholic institutions.

Official numbers haven't been released yet but, if the speeches from commission chair Justice Peter McClellan are any indication, we will probably hear that around 40 per cent of all complaints received by the commission relate to Catholic institutions.

Given this dramatically high figure, the commission will then consider whether there is anything unique to the Catholic Church which contributed to the occurrence of abuse.

Some of the topics which will be raised include the culture of the Church generally, its governance, including Canon Law, the role of the Vatican and the bishops, its doctrine and practices, including the Sacrament of Confession and discipline of mandatory celibacy, and the selection and formation of candidates for the priesthood.

There's no point in mincing words, it will be an unprecedented public shaming of the Church and much of it will be well-deserved.


The Royal Commission's Catholic wrap up may be a painful experience (The Catholic Weekly)

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