by Greg Spearritt
Alexander Downer is not against a royal commission into child sexual abuse. He warns, however, that it seems to be “an excuse for atheists to let loose against Christianity and sectarians to attack the church's beliefs and traditions”.
Unbelievably, Downer laments that public commentary has singled out the Catholic Church. He’s right, of course, that there is child abuse in other churches, religions and institutions. The evidence is strong, though, that the problem has been particularly rife within Catholicism.
The response of that Church, to boot – a Church which publicly preaches compassion and moral rectitude – has been hypocritical in the extreme. The effect of that response has been twofold: victims continue to suffer and those who damage children have been allowed to continue doing so.
Certainly it is to be hoped that the royal commission will leave no significant stones unturned, be they Hindu, Catholic or atheist. But a failure to focus on a particularly widespread and systemic source of abuse would be as morally bereft as the cover-ups perpetrated by a some of those in the Catholic hierarchy.