Australia: The High Court and Cardinal Pell

Cardinal Pell

Religions for Peace Australia has not taken one side nor the other about the legal processes Cardinal George Pell has been involved. Visitors to this website will be aware that we took a multifaith approach to the Royal Commission and covered the progress and investigations of the Royal Commission into all religions. We have 105 articles on the Royal Commission from a multifaith perspective on this website.

The Chair of Religions for Peace Australia, Emeritus Professor Desmond Cahill presented evidence on the impact of clerical culture to the Royal Commission itself and as part of World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2018, gave an appraisal on Clerical Culture, Religious Organisations and the Royal Commission Report.

Prof. Cahill also presented “And What Would God Think, Rebuilding Pastoral Health and Integrity after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse” to the Health and Integrity Conference conducted by the major religious orders and clerical groups in Melbourne. At present Prof. Cahill is working on a book on the Theology of the Child. We take no side on the decision of the High Court of Australia regarding Cardinal Pell. In this article, we share the observations of the ABC’s Religious Affairs reporter, Noel Debien.

Read moreAustralia: The High Court and Cardinal Pell

‘A long time coming’: These Muslims are bringing sex abuse by sheikhs out of the shadows

Women in MosqueOver the past two to three years, scholars and advocates say, North American Muslims have risen up in an unprecedented movement to openly confront sexual and spiritual abuse perpetrated by Muslim religious leaders.

Read more‘A long time coming’: These Muslims are bringing sex abuse by sheikhs out of the shadows

Pope Francis abolishes ‘pontifical secret’ in clergy sex abuse cases

Pope Francis preaching in RomePope Francis has abolished the “pontifical secret” used in clergy sexual abuse cases, after mounting criticism that the high degree of confidentiality has been used to protect paedophiles, silence victims and keep law enforcement from investigating crimes.

Read morePope Francis abolishes ‘pontifical secret’ in clergy sex abuse cases

Australia: 2019 Human Rights Day Oration

Australian Human Rights Commission LogoThe Hon Peter McClellan AM QC delivered the 2019 Human Rights Day Oration. His co-orator was Ms Chrissie Foster, mother of two girls who experienced child sexual abuse. “I cannot comprehend how any person, much less one with qualifications in theology and very often further qualifications from recognised universities, could consider the rape of a child to be a moral failure but not a crime,” The Hon Peter McClellan said.

Read moreAustralia: 2019 Human Rights Day Oration

Brisbane: Safer Churches Conference 2019

National Council of Churches Safe Church Program logoThe 9th biennial Safer Churches Conference will be the first conference held by the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) Safe Church Program since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations were released in December 2017. The theme for the conference, “Transforming Cultures: Listening, Reflecting, Acting” will provide the framework across the two-day event, at the Mercure Hotel, Brisbane on 16-17 September 2019.

Read moreBrisbane: Safer Churches Conference 2019

Pope Francis orders bishops to report sex abuse, allows direct complaints to Vatican

Pope FrancisPope Francis introduced sweeping changes in Catholic Church law on Thursday local time to hold bishops accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up, making reporting obligatory for clerics and allowing anyone to complain directly to the Vatican if needed.

Read morePope Francis orders bishops to report sex abuse, allows direct complaints to Vatican

Victoria: Healing Pilgrimage For the Innocents

For the Innocents invites you to come on pilgrimage to espouse the National apology – to all those who experienced Sexual Abuse as children in an Institution – by the Prime Minister. Our pilgrimage will gather at 11.30 at the Healing Remembrance Garden of St Patrick’s College, 1431 Sturt St Ballarat on Saturday, 20 October, 2018.

Read moreVictoria: Healing Pilgrimage For the Innocents

Buddhism: Pema Chödrön apologizes for dismissing allegation of sexual assault from young woman

On Saturday, famed Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön released a statement responding to an allegation that she once dismissed a woman’s report that she was raped by a Shambhala Center director.

Chödrön is a Buddhist nun, best-selling author, and senior teacher in the Shambhala community. She is a member of Shambhala’s “Transition Task Force,” the temporary committee appointed to appoint a new Shambhala board after the previous board resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct by leaders in the community.

Read moreBuddhism: Pema Chödrön apologizes for dismissing allegation of sexual assault from young woman

Rebuilding Pastoral Health and Integrity after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

“… And What Would God Think?”
Keynote address presented at the Health and Integrity Conference held in Melbourne at the University of Divinity on 27th – 29th August 2018 after the December 2017 release of the Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sponsored by the University of Divinity, three Catholic religious orders (Franciscans, Redemptorists and the Passionists), the Yarra Theological Union and Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers.

Read moreRebuilding Pastoral Health and Integrity after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

National Apology to Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The government has announced when it will deliver the national apology to survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 22 October.

There are only 800 places, with 400 going to organisations that support survivors, and the other 400 open to a ballot. A website has been created for people to join the ballot for places at the National Apology

Read moreNational Apology to Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

Royal Commission: Catholic Church must reform canon law in wake of child sex abuse royal commission

Amid international media hype and confusing reporting, Australia’s Catholic leaders delivered their official response to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse last week.

So, has the Australian Catholic Church “rejected mandatory reporting“, as Al Jazeera published? Or did The Hindu get it right with their headline: “Australian Catholic leaders vow to end abuse cover-up“?

The devil is, as always, in the detail. And there is a lot of detail.

The joint response from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), which represents nuns, sisters and brothers, monks and friars, says bishops and religious leaders accept most of the recommendations of the royal commission.

Simultaneously, the long-awaited Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) report, a self-analysis commissioned by the ACC and the CRA, was made public — it’s a bitter medicinal pill Catholic leadership themselves had paid for and asked to be administered.

The bottom line is that the diverse and independent parts of a complex Catholic Church in crisis have managed — for better or for worse — to pull themselves together and form a coordinated response.

Read moreRoyal Commission: Catholic Church must reform canon law in wake of child sex abuse royal commission

Royal Commission: exploring the task of rebuilding and renewal for Australia’s Christian churches

The conference Health and Integrity in Churches and Ministry calls for a ‘reformation’ of Australia’s churches following Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Participating churches were the Catholic Church (and Catholic Religious Orders), the Anglican Church, the Uniting Church, Churches of Christ and members of the Salvation Army along with representatives of other Christian denominations.

Read moreRoyal Commission: exploring the task of rebuilding and renewal for Australia’s Christian churches

Royal Commission: Catholic Church will not break seal of confession


The Catholic Church has not accepted the royal commission’s recommendation to break the seal of confession regarding child sex abuse, arguing it impinges on religions liberties. Almost nine months after the findings were handed down, the Catholic Church has delivered its formal reply rejecting one of the commission’s key recommendations.

Read moreRoyal Commission: Catholic Church will not break seal of confession

Buddhism: Sexual Misconduct leads to closure of Centres

The leadership of Against the Stream Meditation Society sent a letter to its community announcing that founder Noah Levine was found to have “more likely than not” “violated the Third Precept of its own Teacher’s Code of Ethics, namely, “to avoid creating harm through sexuality,” with multiple women, and that the organisation’s centers would be shutting down.

Read moreBuddhism: Sexual Misconduct leads to closure of Centres

Pope Francis condemns church sex abuse in response to new revelations in US

Pope Francis has issued a letter to Catholics around the world condemning the “crime” of sexual abuse committed by priests — and its cover-up — and demanding accountability.

The Vatican issued the three-page letter on Monday in response to new revelations in the US of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.

The Pope begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-up.

Read morePope Francis condemns church sex abuse in response to new revelations in US

A Rabbi writes: An open letter to my Roman Catholic friends



You, my Catholic friends, deserve the good church. So does the world.” Rabbi Jeff Salkin on the new report of three hundred Roman Catholic priests sexually abusing a thousand children – and how Roman Catholics can hold onto their faith.

Read moreA Rabbi writes: An open letter to my Roman Catholic friends