The Roman Catholic Church had “extensive knowledge dating back to the 1950s” of the sexual abuse of children by the pedophile priest Denis McAlinden which continued over four decades on children as young as four and five, an Australian investigation has heard.
The church downplayed and covered up the seriousness of the priest’s behavior and said “the problems are over now.” One boy was even made to do penance for the “sin” of being abused. The priest admitted his “pedophilic tendencies” and was recommended for treatment, but no evidence exists that he sought or obtained it. The priest was moved from place to place.
McAlinden was even charged in Western Australia in 1992 with indecently dealing with a 10-year-old girl, but was acquitted.
In 1993 he was removed from the priesthood after admitting that he had abused children, but he never faced charges. He died in Western Australia while New South Wales police were seeking to have him extradited.
When police with arrest warrants for McAlinden came to the church to arrest him, they were told that the diocese did not know where he was, or that he was out of the country. In one case, the victim submitted a statement in writing documenting McAlinden’s abuse in 2002, but the statement was not passed on to police until 2005. By then, McAlinden was dying of cancer.
The current Bishop made an unreserved apology to the victims and their families during the inquiry calling McAlinden and another priest “sexual predators,” who repeatedly committed acts of sexual abuse against children.” He also said church leaders “exacerbated” the problem and caused lasting harm.
Meanwhile, Cardinal George Pell is being criticized for failing as a moral leader. A petition by a clergy sexual abuse victims’ group said in a petition that ‘‘Cardinal Pell is a spiritually impotent leader, a leader who presents no empathy, no moral judgment and no felt deep concern for victims, a leader who is avoiding responsibility for the immorality and sodomy that has been breeding in his house of God.” The petition has been sent to the papal nuncio Archbishop Paul Gallagher. “It is time for the Roman Catholic Church in Australia to change,” said the petition, “and the starting point is for Cardinal George Pell to stand down. He is part of the problem, not the solution.” The petition said the church continued to focus on “damage control rather then fundamental reform.”
Another petition is circulating calling on the church to “tackle the scourge of sexual abuse. It already has 80,000 signatures and is just a few weeks old.
‘‘He… fails to understand that things have changed. It’s a culture that says the church can do no wrong, and must be protected above all else – a mediaeval doctrine that has no place in modern society.’‘
“…All will be unmasked…” Great Controversy, page 606