World Truth Day for Pell and Hickey

8 07 2008

By now you’ll be aware of Cardinal George Pell having been caught lying misrepresenting the truth about his knowledge of sex abuse within the priesthood. Regular visitors to this blog will also recall the sex abuse scandal in WA involving the leadership of the Catholic Charismatic Bethel Covenant Community, and of the Church’s endeavours (as with the Terence Goodall case) to wash its hands of the affair, though the incidents have hitherto not received much national media attention. You’ll remember that Barry Hickey, the Archbishop of Perth who is aligned politically with Pell and has in the past engaged in identical antidemocratic ad baculums against Catholic parliamentarians, told the West Australian newspaper in May that the Church had received no complaints about sexual misconduct at Bethel before 2007, a claim denied by ex-Bethel members.

The Archbishop was lying. The West Australian has secured a copy of a report, outlining complaints about sexual misconduct perpetrated by leaders of the Bethel Community, that was handed to the Archbishop in August 2000. In addition to the allegations of sexual abuse, the report detailed the “cultic” nature of the community and degree of control the leadership wielded over the members’ lives:

“Some (members) have witnessed some of the Bethel men . . . touching or pinching women’s buttocks, or publicly discussing sexual freedoms a woman ought to be enjoying, or even employing with her husband,” the 2000 report said. “Mr Horgan said to a woman: ‘How do you have an orgasm?’. On another occasion he said to a married woman: ‘I know what position you take, you use doggy position. Your husband told me’.

[. . .]

Mr Horgan suggested to a married woman, whilst at a restaurant, that she emulate the example of another married woman in the community who had taken her undies off and placed them in her husband’s pocket,” the 2000 document said.

The report recommended that the Church conduct an inquiry into the complaints, review its endorsement of Bethel, and offer counselling to the victims.

Hat tip to commenter DNGQ, who reports that the Archbishop has decided to make an apology. To that I have three words to say: “World Youth Day” . . . followed by two more: “damage control.”

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6 responses

9 07 2008
Sean the Blogonaut

I do find it an interesting mind set that probably stems from confession. Pell apologises to the media and expects that to be an end to it. He expresses sorrow but does not expect any consequences.

14 07 2008
DNGQ

Archbishop Hickey has made a private apology in writing to the seven authors of the 2000 Report that he did not respond appropriately. What has not happened is that the Church in Perth take responsibility for the inaction of the Archbishop’s Liaison Priest for the past 20 years Fr Chris Ross after dozens of people came to him and he ignorded them, nor the inactivity of Bishop Sproxton and the silence of the Catholic Professional Standards Resource Group. Shame!

14 07 2008
AV

Quiet! You’re annoying the pilgrims!

15 07 2008
DNGQ

New report in todays West Australian Newspaper. A group is going to try and sue Bethel or the Church. That still does not answer the question as to who will look after the victims. Horgans house is on the market for four million and being Denis Horgan of Leeuwin Estate fame’s brother, you can be sure that he has got all his assets insulated just like Denis did when his Barrack empire crashed and we lost our money.
The meek shall inherit the earth? Not in WA

21 07 2008
DNGQ

There are over 30 documented cases of Kevin Hiorgan abusing women over the last thirty years. While he and his wife and his massuer Clare Smith a Religous Educatrion Teacher at Aranmore Catholic College are still in denial, the rest of civilised socirty stands agast at the lack of concern for those victims who endured decades of sexual abise from this predator.

22 07 2008

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