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Turnaround needed

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 Contents - Nov 2008AD2000 November 2008 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: All Saints Day and All Souls Day - Peter Westmore
Victorian abortion law threatens Catholic hospitals - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
Human rights: Religious persecution in China, India, Vietnam - Fr John Flynn LC
Dissent: Business as usual at South Brisbane's rebel church - Michael Gilchrist
History: Cardinal Stafford on Humanae Vitae: how dissenters tore the Church apart - Cardinal Francis Stafford
Anima Women's Network: giving 'heart' to women of faith - Anna Krohn
Foundations of Faith: God's gift of sex: building a civilisation of life and love - Catherine Sheehan
What happened then: what matters now - Swithun Wells, martyr of England - Rosemary Lucadou-Wells
Letters: Rebel church in South Brisbane - Bob Osmak
Letters: South Brisbane parish - Catholic or not? - Richard Stokes
Letters: Turnaround needed - John Schmid
Letters: Tribute to Bob Ward - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: From India - Fr S. John Joseph
Poetry: The Latest Equation - Bruce Dawe
Books: THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD: Essays Catholic and Contemporary, by John Haldane - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: A STORY AND PAINTINGS by Don Gallagher CFC - Michael Gilchrist
Books: Books available from AD Books
Reflection: Purgatory: hope, mercy, love - Bishop Peter J. Elliott

In recent years we have heard much about paedophile abusers in the Church who, despite being under suspicion, were often moved on to other parishes or schools and so were able to continue their abusive activities.

While such cases of abuse are abhorrent, what is sometimes overlooked is the spiritual abuse that has occurred over the same period and on a much wider scale.

Our Lord (Luke 12:4-6) tells us who to fear most: 'I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear; fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell: yes, I tell you, fear Him'.

Not every physically abused person, however scarred, despairs and gives up the faith. In the end, the worst form of damage to a person is spiritual as the above Scripture quote indicates.

Here we have found the same cover-ups, protection and non-action that allowed paedophile activities to continue for many years to be evident in the case of defective religious materials, false teachers and dissenters enjoying the Church's official patronage in some dioceses.

We have had ample evidence of this in AD2000 over the years and in Michael Gilchrist's latest book Lost!.

Of course I am not accusing all or even most bishops of inaction, but we have only to see the latest figures on church attendances to realise that something is terribly wrong.

In many cases the shepherds who have the responsibility to guard their flocks have not done so where the salvation of souls is at stake.

Large payouts have been given to victims of Catholic paedophiles, whether they be priests, religious or laity. This is only fair and just.

But when will we hear of action taken on behalf of parents who see their children give up the faith within a year or so of leaving Catholic schools?

We expect bishops to be aware of what is being taught at schools and in parishes and to make sure things are done correctly.

In recent years Cardinal George Pell, Bishop Peter Elliott and others have given a lead in this regard, but more Australian bishops need to act similarly so that hopefully we will see a future turnaround in the health of the Church in this country.

Boronia, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 10 (November 2008), p. 14

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