Former trainee priest exposes Vatican secrets and Pope Francis’ challenge Confirmed: Kieran Tapsell outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney after giving evidence about the secrets of the Catholic Church.
Trainee: Kieran Tapsell on the far right as a trainee Catholic priest. He left before he was ordained.
Groundbreaking: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse chair Justice Peter McClellan.
Final: The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down in December. Picture: Jeremy Piper/Royal Commission.
TweetFacebookNational Catholic Reporter, Mr Tapsell said the commission’s finding of “catastrophic institutional failure” by the Catholic Church was damning, but the church “can be fixed”.
Mr Tapsell said the church had to adopt recommendations abolishing a “pastoral approach” to child sex offender priests which allowed them to “live a life of prayer and penance” rather than be dismissed and prosecuted; a statute of limitations restrictingthe acceptance of abuse cases; an “imputability” test that allowed paedophile priests to use their paedophilia to overturn disciplinary proceedings; the removal of a standard of proof on disciplinary proceedings that is comparable to the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt, and the establishment of Australian church disciplinary tribunals to hear complaints rather than Vatican tribunals.
Opinion: The Royal Commission’s road map to the future
The royal commission found 61.8 per cent of survivors who said they were abused in a religious institution were under the care of the Catholic Church.
It found the church’s slow, “cumbersome, complex and confusing” disciplinary process meant Australian church authorities were reluctant to use it.
“The result was that more children were abused than would otherwise have been had the abusers been quickly weeded out,” Mr Tapsell said.
“The Royal Commission found that the church was seriously out of step with community standards in dealing with child sexual abuse, and that it suffered a catastrophic failure of leadership.”
Mr Tapsell predicted a strong political response in Australia if Pope Francis does not accept the royal commissionrecommendations.
The reaction “may very well be the same” as that of former Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, whose speech to Parliament in 2011 after the publication of a damning Irish report into church abuseled to a dramatic public shift in attitude towards the church.
“When it comes to the protection of the children of this state, the standards of conduct which the church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic,” Mr Kenny said.