A Culture of Silence

March 2, 2016


Image: Australian Survivors Of Church Sex Abuse Arrive In Rome (Filippo Monteforte/Afp/Getty Images, 2016)

If the media coverage – from left and right – is any sign, Cardinal George Pell angered many people with his evidence this week to the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse.

Cardinal Pell has been testifying via video link from Rome into what he knew about paedophile priests in the Ballarat diocese in the 1970s and 1980s, when he was a young clergyman.

When asked about serial offender Gerard Ridsdale, with whom he shared a house for a while, the cardinal said he wasn’t interested at the time in stories of his crimes.

This obviously raises questions about the culture that encourages such attitudes. But are there also church laws that encourage the culture of denial or avoidance?

Kieran Tapsell is a lawyer and former acting judge in New South Wales. He’s also the author of Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican’s Secret and Child Sexual Abuse. .








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