Church may lose ‘shield’

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Victoria’s clergy sex abuse inquiry is likely to recommend at least six state laws be reformed to hold the Catholic Church to account, including removal of the legal ”shield” it has used to avoid being sued by victims.

Chairwoman Georgie Crozier said the committee already had a good idea of the sort of recommendations it would make. Fairfax Media understands the committee is eager for several laws to be changed this year.

The Victorian inquiry does not need to await the outcome of the royal commission into the sexual abuse of children, set up by the Gillard government and yet to take formal evidence. Ms Crozier said she expected the state inquiry to be of great use to the commission.

Enabling the church to be sued, mandatory reporting of suspected abuse, concealing crimes and extending the statute of limitations for child abuse are all issues that could be dealt with by the Victorian government.

Ms Crozier said at the first hearing for 2013 that the committee now had a good idea of the terrain its report would cover, based on the wide evidence it had already heard. The inquiry is expected to recommend amending the Property Trust Act to halt the so-called Ellis defence, named for a case in New South Wales, which the church uses to say it is not actually an entity and therefore there is nothing for victims to sue.

Anti-abuse campaigner Anthony Foster said the Victorian inquiry would be more important than the royal commission in holding the church to account and improving the plight of victims.

Written By: Barney Zwartz
continue to source article at theage.com.au

18 COMMENTS

  1. Glad to hear that these changes are on the table, but I’d much rather get the news that it’s passed rather than that “they’re thinking about it.” There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.

  2. okeydoke @ 1

    I can’t see that happening here in Germany. The catholic Church is still much too intertwined with politics for that to happen.

    One claw being prised and then snipped off at a time, and they will eventually lose the death grip on society that they have boasted of for over 2000 yrs.
    They are in retreat and it has been a long time in coming, but it has come!

    Germany is indeed in a rather different environment for the RCC to feed off.

    But a decade ago who would have ever predicted the spectacular crash and total burn the RCC have suffered in Ireland, a land that they considered their very own back yard, a home from home second fiddle only to the Vatican.

    So never say never, and as rationality backed by strong and robust atheism continues to emerge from the stench ridden, toxic, smothering robes of the priests, pastors, ministers and scam merchants everywhere, it is only a matter of time!

    And they know it, but more importantly, so do their opposition!

  3. Yes, Jon Snow,

    But a decade ago who would have ever predicted the spectacular crash and total burn the RCC have suffered in Ireland, a land that they considered their very own back yard, a home from home second fiddle only to the Vatican.

    Every time I think that this or that issue or position is out of reach, or unattainable, I remind myself of Ireland, or indeed Berlin. I touched the wall. Saddened by its immutability. I pulled a felt tip pen from my pocket to add my name to the permanent millions – and then it was gone. In a cascade of emotions, of moments really, I’m sat in Alexanderplatz sharing a coffee, reading a newspaper. Smiling.

    Thanks for reminding me.

    Anvil.

  4. The RCC are losing ground everywhere. Only the reality blind and totally ignorant can dare to hold up their heads and say I’m a devout catholic after all that has transpired. It is like saying I’m a KKK member or nazi and I’m conveneiently ignoring the atrocities the party has carried out.

  5. Maybe lawsuits are what the RCC needs. My guess is that women are still sitting in the pews after all that is being done. There is nothing like a financial controversy that perks up tithers’ ears. Perhaps they need a board of directors like most protestant churches to fully disclose the finances to the congregation — but that might do them in.

  6. Here in the US the RCC does something despicable when they are sued. It occurred right around the corner from me in Wilmington, Delaware. When the class action lawsuit was announced against the archdiocese of Wilmington, the “mother ship” in Vatican City emptied the coffers of Wilmington and declared bankruptcy. The RCC with all the wealth in the world was allowed to pretend that it was “locally bankrupt” to avoid paying what was going to be an 88 million dollar settlement.

    So the victims of the rapes and molestation were victimized a second time. And the fucking government allowed it.

  7. In reply to #9 by crookedshoes:

    The RCC with all the wealth in the world was allowed to pretend that it was “locally bankrupt” to avoid paying what was going to be an 88 million dollar settlement.

    Sounds like the RCC is claiming that these are franchises. So what happens if a local setup decided to allow gay marriage, allow women to be priests, endorse abortion as a reproductive right or refuse to take in a molesting priest? Isn’t there a legal framework to protect companies,like MacDonalds, from the actions of their franchises for individual legal violations as opposed to those orchestrated by the company itself? I would think the same would apply here. Where does the profit go?

  8. It seems to me that they get to claim whatever they want in whatever situation they find themselves in. They get to be “franchises” when it serves them, they get to be a religion when it serves them …. it all revolves around the money. Meanwhile, the bejeweled one back in vatican city gets to rule over a dictatorship…. They do not have to abide by any rules or have any consistency in their actions…

    It is offensive.
    In reply to #10 by Fujikoma:

    In reply to #9 by crookedshoes:

    The RCC with all the wealth in the world was allowed to pretend that it was “locally bankrupt” to avoid paying what was going to be an 88 million dollar settlement.

    Sounds like the RCC is claiming that these are franchises. So what happens if a local setup decided to allow gay marriage, allow women to be priests, endorse abortion as a reproductive right or refuse to take in a molesting priest? Isn’t there a legal framework to protect companies,like MacDonalds, from the actions of their franchises for individual legal violations as opposed to those orchestrated by the company itself? I would think the same would apply here. Where does the profit go?

  9. The Roman Catholic Church is – I believe – concerned more with safeguarding their monies than highlighting and caring for victims of clerical abuse: which they refuse to acknowlege as rampant within their institution, and probably as prevalent within other so-called christian faiths. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn such abuse exists within the other two major Abrahamic faiths. I digress, sorry.

    [Off-topic section removed by moderator. Feel free to submit for consideration as a possible discussion topic in its own right if you wish.]

  10. It seems that, in at least one of the franchises, traces of horse has been found in the communion wafer.

    A spokesperson for the franchise group, an offshore company called ‘L’il Papa’s’, stated that DNA testing will be carried out in future to:

    “… ensure that only Christ meat was present in supplied hosts.”

    he said.

    Anvil.

  11. In reply to #13 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

    “Shields are down, Cap’n! They’re targeting the cargo hold.”

    “Do we have any torpedoes on board?”

    “This is the Starship RCC, Captain Ratzinger, of course we do.”

    “No, I said torpedoes.”

  12. From the article:

    Ellis defence, named for a case in New South Wales, which the church uses to say it is not actually an entity and therefore there is nothing for victims to sue.

    I wonder if Giordano Bruno could have got away with that defence!, before he was burnt by the RCC? So the RCC can be both ‘not an entity’ and at the same time a city state with observer rights at the UN?
    Yes God does work in mysterious ways!

    Or am I getting confused with the RCC, The Holy See, and the Vatican, presumably, according to the Ellis defence, “not an entity” ! Not one of them !

    (Eyes roll skywards).

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