Anglican Primate Aspinall’s rise defined by church scandals

The Australian


IN a sense, Phillip Aspinall’s rise in the Anglican Church has been fostered and defined by the sex-abuse scandals that rocked it.

No wonder he voiced his frustration yesterday about foot-dragging by former bishop Keith Slater to deal with victims of historic physical and sexual abuse at a children’s home in Lismore in northern NSW.

Dr Aspinall, 53, had to clean up the mess Peter Hollingworth left behind when he stepped aside as Anglican archbishop of Brisbane to become governor-general in 2001.

Dr Hollingworth had barely settled in at Yarralumla when the clamour caught up with him that he had put the church’s reputation ahead of the hurt inflicted on sex-abuse victims while in charge of the Brisbane diocese, an accusation he denied.

Confronted by the claims, Dr Aspinall dealt with them head-on. He called a board of inquiry that effectively sealed Dr Hollingworth’s fate as governor-general, finding he had let a known pedophile stay on as a priest. He quit in May 2003 after only 23 months.

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