Ozanam Lecture Part 1: Introduction

Catholic Outlook

May 29, 2018

“How does the Catholic welfare sector continue with ‘good works’ post the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse?”


Dear friends,

I would like to pay my respect and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this meeting takes place, and also pay respect to Elders both past and present.

Thank you for the invitation to speak at this forum and to have the opportunity to share the podium with a very distinguished Catholic woman. Two months ago, I was in Rome for a conference on migrants and refugees. It took place at the same time as the Voices of Faith International Women’s Day Conference at which Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland gave a powerful speech on women and the Catholic Church. I was particularly struck by the image she uses to describe the state of the church. She said – practically within the Pope’s earshot – that the exclusion of women from decision-making roles “has left the church flapping about awkwardly on one wing”. And if that wasn’t enough, she went on to say that “the church has long been the primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny.” Whoa! Talk about pulling no punches. I hope Geraldine Doogue is going to be a bit gentler to me than Mary McAleese was to Pope Francis.

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