Every true Catholic deplores the grievous sins committed by some priests and religious paedophiles. Yet the mainstream media and the anti-Christian movement at large stigmatise all as inhuman creatures who condone the despicable actions of a relative few.
Cardinal Pell, the highest ranking prelate in Australia, is especially demonised. His "crime" is that he is totally orthodox in Church doctrine and dogma, and properly cautious about accepting at face value every claim of abuse brought before him.
The Weekend Australian on 24 November ran an article headed "Church rethink urged on healing". It told the story of a man abused when an altar boy, who sued the Sydney archdiocesan trustees for damages unsuccessfully. When costs exceeding $750,000 were awarded against him he asked the Church to forgive the debt. It duly did, and has since funded his counselling and other expenses to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars. To any fair-minded person, the Church's actions would demonstrate empathy and compassion, and certainly do not vindicate the shrill accusations that it is callous and evil.
Sadly, a liberal element within the Church is also critical of the Cardinal and of the Towards Healing and Melbourne Response protocols for dealing with sexual abuse.
In an ABC interview on 14 November, retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson said he would break the seal of the confessional and inform the police if he thought a young person was at serious risk of abuse, even if the penitent didn't want him to. He described Cardinal Pell as an embarrassment on the sexual abuse issue, and as unfit to speak for the bishops of Australia.
Four days later, a spokesman for the lay group Catholics for Renewal was interviewed on Channel 10's Meet the Press. Plainly, this group is also dissatisfied with the Cardinal's handling of the matter, and with the protocols in place to help victims.
Whatever became of unity, the first of the four marks of the one true Church?