The Age (20/12/15) “In 2005, then Archbishop of Sydney George Pell expressed concern about the church’s exposure to “increasingly aggressive litigation and escalating damage claims” because of a failure to take “appropriate protections” when processing sexual abuse compensation claims.
“Although I do not in any way suggest that we should engage in Towards Healing with an attitude of cynicism and self-interest, the aims of Towards Healing are not incompatible with initiatives that assist in reducing the potential risks for the Church in circulating admissions and other sensitive and prejudicial information without the protection of some form of legal privilege,” he wrote.
“To do otherwise puts the Church at risk of significant and unpredictable financial exposure from personal injury claims.”
In 1994, instructions were issued by the Archdiocese of Melbourne for “written comments to be kept to a minimum” during high-level meetings about the sexual abuse problem. Shortly afterwards, minutes of meetings where the church’s “Special Issue” was discussed were no longer recorded.
In the case of notorious paedophile Father Gerard Ridsdale, lawyers for the Diocese of Ballarat vetoed the contents of a letter from Bishop Ronald Mulkearns to the family of one of his victims because it “would be open and possibly produced at any trial … for compensation”.”
The most remarkable and appalling aspect of this sordid affair is that there is no mention of the victims of these paedophile priests and the church’s responsibility to the young children in its care.
Only a concern with protecting the church’s assets and money.
The Catholic hierarchy could not (but probably will not) hang its collective head any lower in shame.