What Aspinall Said And Did Not Say (Or: Splitting Hairs For Fun And Profit)


Archbishop Phillip Aspinall gets a little confused at times. This week he gave evidence to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, in a hearing focused on Allan Kitchingman (see previous posting) and the North Coast Children’s Home (see previous postings) run by the Anglican Church (known elsewhere as the Episcopalian Church or the Church of England).

Aspinall and his church announced last week, on the eve of the present hearings, that he had appointed the first, and only, female bishop, Sarah Macneil, to replace disgraced ex-bishop, Keith Slater. She will be consecrated later in the year as bishop of the Grafton diocese. Coincidentally, this is the very diocese that was being investigated by the Royal Commission.

Also, coincidentally, since the announcement came on the eve of the hearings, it attracted world-wide coverage, and over-shadowed the first day’s hearings, involving damning evidence from victim, “Tommy” Campion (see previous postings).

There was one problem, though – Ms. Macneil was, in act, the fifth female bishop appointed by the Anglican Church in Australia. This would not have attracted quite as much media attention. The first one, Kay Goldsworthy (pictured below) was appointed over five years ago, in Perth. Aspinall would have remembered the event because he accompanied Bishop Goldsworthy to her first official engagement in her new role, at the school where she once served as chaplain, PerthCollege.

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