John Menadue. Keep trucking!

At the hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Melbourne last week, Cardinal George Pell is reported as saying that if the driver of a (trucking company) sexually assaulted a passenger they picked up along the way ‘I don’t think that it is appropriate for the .. leadership of that company be held responsible’.

As a citizen I was angered as most people were by these comments. As a Catholic I was ashamed.

If any trucking company, or indeed any organisation, had a record of sexual abuse like the Catholic Church I would expect that the leadership would either resign or be sacked. Responsibility cannot be avoided as Cardinal Pell suggests

The Catholic Church faces a systemic problem that Cardinal Pell seems unable to come to grips with. In a submission with colleagues to the Royal Commission, we focused on that systemic problem, including the way bishops are chosen, church structures and an unaccountable male clerical culture. The problems go far beyond the individual truck driver or priest. This submission can be found by clicking on the website at the top left hand of this page, then clicking on religion, and then clicking on the submission of November 2013.

It is hard going in the Catholic Church these days. For months the ugliness of the Church has been on display. But there is also great beauty, the saints, the art and particularly, the selfless service of the nuns day in and day out all around the world. The Catholic Church has kept the Christian faith alive despite its many blemishes. In my mind it is still the greatest influence for good in the world.

Whilst the Catholic Church celebrates the Eucharist, I will be there.


John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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