The Australian today cites an independent NSW inquiry's report:
The commission formed the view that Fox had developed what amounted to an obsession about both the Catholic Church and alleged conspiracies involving senior police ... Other parts of his evidence given before the commission were “implausible” and “deliberately untruthful”.
I’m still glad the Royal Commission has happened, in a way, because it’s lifted the lid on the Salvation Army and the Anglicans and the other institutions where child abuse was taking place.
What angered me was that it was so obviously a ‘Get the Catholics’ exercise in pandering to the ABC and Friends, while ignoring the huge amount of sexual abuse that’s taken place of children in state care and in state foster placements, and the current huge amount of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in remote areas.
The inevitable calls for married priests arise. These conveniently overlook the problems with paedophilia in churches where married clergy proliferate, and also conveniently overlook the vastly disproportionate numbers of male-on-male sexual assaults that have taken place.
There are two immediate and up-front solutions for Catholics faced with this kind of challenge.
1) Dioceses need to vet the seminary applicants a lot more closely – tick; being done already. Inspired by the example of the late Ronald Conway, they also need to vet the vetters a lot more closely.
2) If you are a Catholic, support your priests to live a celibate life by word, by prayer, by practical assistance, by example. I’m trying to do this; I’d invite any other Catholics to do so as well.
I’ve personally been blessed by knowing a great many celibate priests who were genuinely celibate. Celibacy actually put them in an ideal position to give me wise advice, and to give me the sort of kind-hearted, generous and fatherly support and protection that I’d been lacking for much of my life.
Married priests can counsel the married, but they will draw primarily on their own experience. Celibates can also counsel the married, but they can draw upon the huge range of experiences that they’ve had with hearing the problems of other married couples and counselling them, and the families with whom they’ve been involved.
People think celibacy means being dead, or living in a cupboard and hiding from reality/sex. It’s not. Practising it faithfully opens your heart and your mind in ways that you simply can’t imagine or expect, and it gives you greater objectivity as well. The good priests I’ve known have had an inner freedom and self-mastery that gave them a joyous and positive outlook on life, and they were in turn able to transmit that to me when they gave me counsel.