Miranda: Catholic Church tied to a past that can’t be undone

The Weekly Times

December 26, 2017

By Genevieve Barlow

THE act by parishioners of removing ribbons placed by survivors and their supporters to mark the institutionalised sexual and other abuse at churches, orphanages, schools and
elsewhere was misguided and insensitive.

Ribbons had been tied to church gates, fences and signs from Ballarat to Shepparton, Sale, Mortlake, Ararat, Sunbury, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Lancefield in a movement called the Loud Fence campaign, which began in 2015.

Then, at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat, the week before Christmas and just days after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuses handed down its report, parishioners took the ribbons down from the cathedral fence.

“It signalled what the Catholic Church has done historically. They just want us to go away. All they wanted was to get them down before Christmas,” said Phil Nagle, who was abused as a boy at St Alipius Primary School in Ballarat.

He reckoned the Ballarat Catholic Diocese should be concentrating on the catastrophic failure of leadership and the Royal Commission’s recommendations instead of removing the ribbons.

Abuse survivors and their supporters reacted predictably and put more ribbons up.

These were taken down. More were put up.

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