Child rape victims are just cranky, says Bishop

My jaw just hit the floor.

Around the Catholic “World Youth Day” week in Sydney roils much discussion of Church-sanctioned child rape and sexual abuse.

Bishop Anthony Fisher is rather pissed off that some people aren’t concentrating on the things the church wants them to concentrate on, like, oh I dunno, pop music.

Clearly fed up to the back teeth with the nation’s singular lack of focus, Fisher blurted this out:

Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying and delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people, and the hope for us doing these sorts of things better in the future, as we saw last night, rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds.


The TV show that triggered this off? It was a Lateline show about a family who lost one daughter to suicide, and another is very ill, after they were both raped as primary school girls by Father Kevin O’Donnell. Their main point was that they wouldn’t accept a Papal apology that wasn’t backed up by positive action.

Guess Bishop Anthony Fisher thinks they should just get over it, eh?

Audio here.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, media, religion, social justice, violence

Tags: , , ,

17 replies

  1. That’s the worst yet. I was just putting together a links post to the various other blogs that have caught clangers from Pell et al the last week or so, but that one takes the biscuit.

  2. The thing is, I have seen various cheerful young people at bus stops and walking to train stations the last few days, and they do indeed look promising and hopeful and well-meaning souls. But what hope do these cheerful young people have of possibly influencing the Vatican hierarchy into “doing these sorts of things better in the future” if the hierarchy is so rigidly one-eyed that a senior figure can come out with that?

  3. Yeah, I love how the church gets to define when something is an “old wound,” as opposed to the people who were actually wounded.

  4. Thanks for breaking my jaw L, I missed Lateline and the Murdoch report. This is perhaps the worst example of it’s kind I’ve heard, and makes a joke of any apology by the Pope. I wonder if the infallible one will stomp on bishop, and whether any journos have the guts to send questions on this to the pope.
    Perhaps suicide and chronic illness are less troublesome than handing out condoms at WCYD?
    I wonder how many “pilgrims” will, during the WCYD time, meet a priest who eventually abuses them.

  5. I really love that the Catholic Church can roll about in its old glories and old money, and yet tell everyone else to just forget the past. Reminds me of John Howard’s history wars on a grand scale, and that’s never a good thing.

  6. On condoms and WCYD, I can’t be the only cynic predicting a Catholic baby boom in 38 weeks. If only the stats were collectable…

  7. It is just so obvious from every word Pell and Fisher have uttered that their main feeling when faced with the horrendous harm of church sexual abuse is irritation and a desire to protect the church’s reputation. The whole pathway to healing process seems primarily oriented towards limiting financial liability and gagging victims with confidentiality agreements.
    It is that whole sidestepping of responsibility that keeps the wounds open and inflicts further pain. Not to mention that the minimization of the harm done to victims and the determined focus on silencing people to protect the church’s reputation are enabling factors for abuse in the first place. They need to sideline the people who cannot or will not ‘get it’.

  8. I’m looking forward to that post of links. Just completely sick of hearing Pell on the radio repeating “Remember we’re talking about a 29 year old”, the rape apologist.

  9. I’m an ex-Catholic. I didn’t just lapse; I left. I have all sorts of irrational impulses about the church, which for me means the Catholic Church.
    Today when I came out of the museum, with my girls, there was a bunch of happy clappy Cathies outside, praising their lord. A young lass offered me a picture of that misogynistic, hierarchilist, authoritarian rule follower, Il Papa, which I politely declined, through gritted teeth. But I could barely hold my tongue when another woman approached. I longed to ask, “So, why is it that you belong to the Paedophile Protection Society?”
    Deborahs last blog post..One

  10. I too am ex-Catholic and the thing about W[C]YD that I strongly suspect, but don’t see many people picking up on, is that there is a strong element of activist-training.
    Between Wednesday 16th and Friday 18th, the pilgrims will undergo three hours of training. The theme is “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.” Sounds like activist-training to me. 9 hours to talk about the things the church really cares about – hiding or justifying the atrocities it has committed and figuring out ways to shape the world in its sexually repressed image.

  11. Am not sure whether a catholic priest ought to be talking about “enjoying and delighting in the beauty and goodness of… young people” LOL.

  12. When I heard this inexcusable clanger my first thought was he was trying to make Pell look good and take the heat off him.
    As for the condom issue, it goes hand in hand with their statement about the lack of good catholic children being born. Am sure they hope there is a babyboom to balance the numbers (you know all those non-christians or worse other religions that are breeding like rabbits).
    another outspoken females last blog post..overheard #1

  13. Yeah, we’ve had these little troubles in our corner of the planet too, and the response from the Catholic executive branch is pretty much the same. “We’re sorry, if it’s even true that–oh, look! It’s the Virgin Mary on a soda cracker! (Here, kid, if I give you a twenty, will you get lost?)”
    I read the quote to my partner, who nodded sagely and remarked, “‘Cranky’? Is that what they’re calling outrage these days?”

  14. This is disgraceful, and horribly damaging. As long as this kind of thinking persists in the church, and at senior level no less, there is little hope for proper reparation. And there certainly won’t be while people don’t care, or don’t care enough to demand accountability.


  1. Highlights from the Hierarchy for WYD at Hoyden About Town
  2. links for 2008-08-02 [] « ? Shut Up, Sit Down ?
  3. Maybe I'm Just Cranky, Maybe We're All Just Cranky | Menstrual Poetry
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