On the forum at Catholica Australia is posted the full text of a recent article in The West Australian that yields more information (but not all that much more) about the nature of the abuses at Bethel Covenant Community:
Tongues are wagging in powerful Catholic circles after The West’s Bethel Community expose on Saturday.
Apart from deciding whether Benny Hill should be the religious splinter group’s new patron, a blog site which helped lift the lid on the titillating allegations has been shut down.
“The job of the blog is over,” declared the blog site’s mystery convener. “For all of you I pray that you all grow closer to God by the love you express to your fellow journeymen (women).”
But within hours of the blog being pulled, another had started up to funnel discussion about the crisis engulfing the West Leederville organisation.
Unfortunately, the wording of the invitation to potential bloggers could have been better considering the scandal is all about the community’s ex-leader allegedly groping female members. “Get stuff off your chest and keep the communication going,” it reads.
Forum contributor John C. Massam submitted the following Letter to the Editor:
Abreast of the Catholics at Bethel
Saturday’s “West” pages 6 and 7 (May 10) had a heading “Christian chief Horgan quits amid breast-groping claims.”
The “covenant community” of Bethel in West Leederville were doing things to the ladies that no-one who went to Catholic schools in the 1940s would imagine could ever be practised in a Catholic setting, or in any Christian setting except some cults in history and at the present day.
How much Church money went into this charismatic “speaking in tongues” group is anybody’s guess.
This undue interest in ladies’ fronts by some leaders of the Bethel Covenant Community has amazed and annoyed responsible members of the Catholic community in Western Australia.
According to Sean Cowan’s excellent lengthy report, it took almost a year after the first complaints reached the RC bishops for the leadership to leave the scene — and that was the result of self-embarrassing talks by two brave women to other members
But isn’t this kind of inaction the very same as the hierarchy’s reaction to child sex abuse that has festered for decades in this country and America? They don’t tell the police, they don’t warn other RCs, and they just keep on preaching sexual abstinence and responsible non-condom parenthood!
Might I tell non-Catholic readers that before he arrived for his American visit the Pope told the news media that he was “ashamed” of the clergy sex abuse, but “The Record” made the next front page a miracle cure attributed to Father Damien, the leper priest.
With this sort of thinking, how can the RC Church overcome its contrasting set of hang-ups — saving every sperm in marriage or in medical experiments, but wasting millions in sex perversions?
He’s dead right about the ultraconservative Record, which has little to say about sex abuse within the Church, nowt to say about sex abuse at Bethel, but much to say (approvingly) about bribing children with icecream to attend Mass. Sean Cowan’s expose is unlikely to appear there, but I hope it will make an appearance online somewhere: I’d like to read it.