Bishop Ronald Mulkearns Helped Write Rules on Abuse
By Tessa Akerman
April 29, 2016
Ronald Mulkearns helped draft a protocol for dealing with allegations of criminal behaviour by clergy while running the nation’s worst diocese for pedophile priests and brothers.
The former bishop of Ballarat, who died this month, was appointed to the special issues committee run by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference despite failing to deal with some of the world’s worst abusers.
Mulkearns presented a draft protocol to the conference in November 1989. It was to be observed if accusations of criminal behaviour, including pedophilia, were made against priests. The protocol, which was tendered to the child sex abuse royal commission, states that bishops have a responsibility to protect the reputation of individuals and the image of the church as a whole.
It states that bishops and major superiors must have regard to the welfare of any complainant, victim and accused, and safeguard individuals’ reputations and their right to privacy.
“They must safeguard the good name of the church as a whole and act to prevent or remedy scandal,” it said. “They must have a pastoral solicitude for those involved in criminal behaviour, mindful of the words of the Lord who came ‘to seek out and save what was lost’ (Lk 19:10).