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of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Cardinal Pell Admits “False Documents” and “Reprehensible Cover-ups”

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 29, 2013

Barry Pittard. May 22, 2013Subscribe to Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

After all the years of betrayal, and only since the epoch-making advent of a high-powered Royal Commission set up to investigate institutional sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s foremost Roman Catholic official, now admits long years of Church silence and cover-up. The hearing to which I refer below, though, is of a parliamentary committee of the State of  Victoria, Australia. See:  

Cardinal Pell admits  Catholic Church coverup of sexual abuse by priests

Cardinal Pell admits long Catholic Church coverup of sexual abuse by priests

I have earlier (14 November 2013) written of Pell, stating:

“In Australia, both many Roman Catholics and the public more widely regard the head of the Catholic Church in this country, Cardinal Pell, as an arch conservative. In my view, Pell is symptomatic of a grave and untreated problem quite other than the issue of any continuing institutional cover up. Too often, reform does not get to the roots of a problem, and becomes a different sort of cover up – that is to say, there is a covering up of, or of a blindness to, those very problematic roots. One of these roots problems is a focus on institutional survival. This greatly thwarts the addressing of justice and healing issues that relate to sexual abuse survivors. One area in which this occurs is an institution’s lawyer-mediated, miserable out-of-court settlements. Mr and Mrs Foster’s case is one of a great many which show the cruelty of such arrangements. (See video footage): Parents’ harrowing story, ABC News Breakfast, November 13: 2013.”  Australian Royal Commission To Probe Institutional Handling Of Child Sexual Abuse. Posted by Barry Pittard on November 14, 2012

From long experience in dealing with the international Sathya Sai Organization’s profound denial and cover-up, and the tremendous betrayal and hurt many families worldwide, I know too of the culture of cultic secrecy and shrinkage of normal human compassion.  And I strongly recommend my readers to view the ABC (Australia’s national broadcaster) footage of the Roman Catholic family who lost a daughter to suicide and saw their other daughter succumb to binge drinking – outcomes sadly familiar to those who deal with the evil that is sexual abuse.

We have many former Sathya Sai devotees whose testimony is compelling  like that of  husband and wife Anthony and Chrissie Foster.  Click here for Video: Anthony and Christine Foster on Pell’s testimony (7.30). 

Mr and Mrs Anthony and Christine Foster, Roman Catholics who have waged a long battle to expose the Catholic Church cover-up of clergy sexual abuse. The story of their two daughters abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest Father Kevin Dillon of St Mary of the Angels Catholic Parish in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, is most harrowing.

Mr and Mrs Anthony and Christine Foster, Roman Catholics who have waged a long battle to expose the Catholic Church cover-up of clergy sexual abuse. The story of their two daughters abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, Father Kevin Dillon of St Mary of the Angels Catholic Parish in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, is most harrowing. We need to listen, though, with our hearts ….

The background story is that the Foster family’s parish priest, Father Kevin O’Donnell, repeatedly raped Foster’s two daughters, Emma and Katie, in primary school. Emma committed suicide and Katie became a binge drinker who became disabled when a car hit her.

Mr and Mrs Foster’s moving testimony depicts Cardinal Pell as a man who appears to act in a very different way before the very distinguished commissioners to the way he responded when the husband and wife dealt with him before. Mr Foster states that Pell spoke with a “sociopathic lack of empathy” when he showed him harrowing photos of the abused Foster sisters and asked that Church to “go the extra mile” to care for victims. Mrs Foster spoke of Pell’s bullying, unfeeling and legalistic way, cutting across her and her husbands points.

Key points: What Pell told the inquiry

  • Apologised for decades of abuse in Melbourne diocese.

  • Admitted a systemic cover-up of child abuse within the Church.

  • Said former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns destroyed documents relating to abuse cases.

  • Said former Melbourne archbishop Frank Little covered up cases of abuse.

  • Said abuse became widespread because the clergy did not talk about the problem.

  • Defended the Melbourne Response, which he established to deal with abuse cases.

  • Defended maximum compensation level of $75,000 for victims of abuse.

The International Sathya Sai Organization Is No Different

It is the same craven silence and cover-up we see in the international Sathya Sai Organization. For decades, they too have stood aside and shut up. Indeed, all the while, they have striven for acceptance within mainstream communities around the world as good and ecumenical citizens. Leaders outright lied to Sathya Sai sect members stating that those who raised questions were simply disgruntled and untrustworthy, and other such outrageous untruths which many members knew perfectly well were inconsistent with those persons’ behavior over many years.

A number of us are now intent on ensuring that the Royal Commission is well-advised of the appalling failure of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization to show duty of care to victims. 

Sathya Sai Baba devotees, Roman Catholics, and many other religionists believe:  Act truthfully and God will come to your aid. But no – they put their faith in silence, inaction and cover-up.

One of the items in the Sathya Sai Organization’s ‘Code of Conduct’ is:

‘Not indulging in talking ill of others, especially in their absence’

But far too often, their talk is hypocritical. They do not walk their prayers, nor all their fine talk about truth, righteousness, peace and love. Witness the incredible, distortions and hateful internet attacks on former Sathya Sai Baba devotees, some of whom spent decades of the utmost dedication.

To this day – despite the huge amount of exposure of their guru and cult – Sathya Sai Baba devotees stand by and let their more vociferous fellows cause untold suffering for those sexually and in other ways abused. And distress and hardship, moreover, for those who have spoken out. These so-called ‘spiritual’ devotees revile and shun those who have sacrificed much to expose the terrible Sathya Sai Baba’s terrible abuses and those of others in his organization. 

These devotees proclaim themselves dedicated to  truth, righteousness, peace and love. They do not like to be called a cult, yet they summarily evict from their organization anyone who raises the simplest questions about the sexual abuse and other allegations from so many people from around the world. The Sathya Sai Organization refuses to institute those very processes of transparency and duty of care which responsible organizations properly adhere to.

For but a few examples of the Sai cult’s treatment of those long known as truthful and decent human beings, see:

              Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion

Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam

Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba

Reply to a Sathya Sai Devotee’s Note re: David and Faye Bailey

Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia

The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba

(Late) Ron and Peggy Laing: Deeply Alienated From Sathya Sai Organization

Alaya Rahm’s Testimony – Some Key Statements
the full statement of the Rahm family and the International JuST Group is here 

The ‘Sai-lencing’ of Conscience-raised Voices

U.S. Psychologist Shirley Pike’s Moving Challenge To Sathya Sai Baba and His Organization

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Updated Tue May 28, 2013 8:27am AEST

From ABC PM News Report

Video: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-27/cardinal-george-pell-sorry-for-church-abuse/4716132

Video: Pell apologises on behalf of Catholic Church sex abuse (7.30)

Photo: Cardinal George Pell told the Victorian Government inquiry into child abuse he was “fully apologetic and absolutely sorry” about decades of child sex abuse within the Church. (AAP: Joe Castro)

Related Story: Pell admits cover-up of Church sex abuse

Related Story: Victims demand truth about church abuse

Map: Melbourne 3000

The father of two girls who were abused by a Catholic priest says apologies by Australia’s most senior Catholic, George Pell, are meaningless unless they are followed up with actions.

Yesterday Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse that he was “fully apologetic and absolutely sorry” about decades of sexual abuse within the church.

During his evidence he admitted the fear of scandal led to the cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Church.

Key points: What Pell told the inquiry

  • Apologised for decades of abuse in Melbourne diocese.

  • Admitted a systemic cover-up of child abuse within the Church.

  • Said former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns destroyed documents relating to abuse cases.

  • Said former Melbourne archbishop Frank Little covered up cases of abuse.

  • Said abuse became widespread because the clergy did not talk about the problem.

  • Defended the Melbourne Response, which he established to deal with abuse cases.

  • Defended maximum compensation level of $75,000 for victims of abuse.

In its submission to the inquiry, the Catholic Church said at least 620 Victorian children had been abused by its clergy in the past 80 years.

During sometimes tense exchanges, Cardinal Pell insisted individuals were to blame for what had happened, not the Church structure itself.

“I’m certainly totally committed to improving the situation. I know the Holy Father [Pope] is too,” he said.

Cardinal Pell denied the Church’s assets were hidden in trusts to avoid paying compensation to victims and said the Church would pay whatever lawmakers decided it should pay to victims of child sexual abuse and their families.

Cardinal Pell was the Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 until 2001, and one of the lead architects of the Melbourne Response, the Church’s response to abuse.

Anthony and Chrissie Foster’s two daughters were repeatedly raped in primary school by their parish priest, Father Kevin O’Donnell.

Emma Foster later committed suicide and her sister, Katie, took to binge drinking and was left disabled after being hit by a car.

Audio: Pell admits fear of scandal led to child-abuse cover up (PM)

Mr Foster says he hopes the inquiry leads to legislative changes to compel the Catholic Church to better look after victims.

“We hope that we will get the right recommendations out of this inquiry,” he said.

“Then we’ll get action by this government to change the legislation, to force the Catholic Church to look after victims, to enable victims to get true justice, and so that then there will be consequences for anyone who tries to do this sort of covering up in the future.”

Calls for greater compassion and support

Video: Anthony and Christine Foster on Pell’s testimony (7.30)

Mr Foster has previously told the inquiry his family was unsatisfied with the way Cardinal Pell dealt with his daughters’ case.

And after the hearing he said his feelings remained unchanged.

He said Cardinal Pell’s apologies were delivered with a “sociopathic lack of empathy” and called on the Church to “go the extra mile” to try and look after victims.

“They don’t do that,” Mr Foster said.

“In our case, part of our settlement was that once we had the money, they would provide no more care for Emma.

“So they are not about going the extra mile, and they need to be about that.”

Mr Foster said in response to evidence given at the enquiry, the Government needed to make legislative changes to enable victims to receive much greater compensation.

“Which will have two effects: one, it will help restore the lives of victims, and it will make sure that the Catholic Church has a real interest in this not happening again,” he said.

“I think [Cardinal Pell] failed to address the whole issue of compensation, [he was] very defensive, saying that the compensation was based on the same as the Government victims of crime system, where there is no comparison.

Audio: Foster says Pell didn’t say what he wanted to hear (PM)

“He tried to draw comparisons between trying to say that the Catholic Church was not responsible for many of these victims’ injuries.

“I think we all know that the Catholic Church is responsible for all 300 of the victims that they’ve acknowledged, never mind the thousands of others that are out there, which he admitted today they have failed to systematically investigate and try to find.”

Priest backs increased support to abuse victims

Watch Cardinal Pell’s full testimony

  1. Part 1

  2. Part 2

  3. Part 3

Father Kevin Dillon of St Mary of the Angels Catholic Parish in Geelong has been critical of the Church’s response to victims of sexual abuse.

After the hearing, Father Dillon told the ABC’s PM program Cardinal Pell’s comments were similar to previous Church leaders who have given evidence at the inquiry.

“Which has perhaps been disappointing insofar as maybe people were hoping for some radical shift, to be able to ensure that people who have been abused can have a little bit more hope to believe in,” he said.

“But nonetheless I think it’s had its role in the whole inquiry, and ultimately it’ll be when that inquiry gives its findings later in the year – I think at the end of September – that perhaps the real import of both today and the previous months will really be felt.”

Father Dillon said the Church’s leadership needed to do more to support and address the needs of abuse victims, their family and supporters.

“I’d like to see a lot more emphasis put, on all levels, on what can be done for the people who are damaged, hurting, wounded, and we know who they are,” he said.

“More of them have come forward as a result of these inquires and the Royal Commission to come, and we can do something about them.”

Audio: Geelong priest disappointed with Pell’s approach (PM)

Father Dillon said Cardinal Pell’s admission that he believes the Church should face the same calls for compensation as any other organisation was “helpful”.

“I think we should face the same calls for compensation, more so, simply because of what we stand for, and simply because a greater degree of trust has been placed in Church personnel than would have been placed in members of other organisations where people perhaps have their guard up,” he said.

“But for many decades, the amount of trust placed in Church personnel has been enormous, and that’s been part of the problem, and that’s why those who’ve offended have been able to get away with as much as they did.”

Read more:

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Cardinal George Pell has confessed to creation of false documents and ‘reprehensible’ cover-ups of child sex abuse

CARDINAL George Pell has confessed false documents were created and priests took part in “reprehensible” cover-ups of child sexual abuse

The most prominent Catholic in Australia was grilled by a Victorian parliamentary committee for 4 1/2 hours about systemic failings by the church to deal with abuse.

Cardinal Pell said the fear of scandals drove much of the reaction to rampant abuse in the 1970s and ’80s, but that a concern about money was also involved.

“I am fully apologetic and absolutely sorry,” he said.

“I would agree that we’ve been slow to address the anguish of the victims and dealt with it very imperfectly,” the cardinal said.

In a victory for victims, Cardinal Pell said he would ask the Vatican to send all documents it holds on Victorian sex abuse accusations to the inquiry – a promise he had also made to the federal royal commission into abuse.

Cardinal Pell defended the church’s compensation scheme, saying it abided by the “law of the land”.

But he opened the door to greater compensation for some victims saying a $27,000 payment to a man raped 10 times was “miserable”.

Abuse victims at the hearing said they were unconvinced by the cardinal’s apology. Some walked out soon after he began speaking.

Anthony Foster, whose daughters, Emma and Katie, were abused by Melbourne priest Kevin O’Donnell in Oakleigh in the 1980s, said he wasn’t satisfied.

Cardinal told Hell awaits him

Pell defends capped compensation for victims

‘It’s time to stand down’, victims say

“It’s another apology. It’s the same words again. It’s just not backed up with the actions that we need.

“What we need is real care for victims,” he said.

Mr Foster also hit out at Cardinal Pell’s repeatedly saying he was not responsible for changing the church structure and was not the “Catholic prime minister of Australia”.

National MP David O’Brien said letters showed that one abusing priest should “submit a resignation as parish priest on health grounds”, and asked if that was further evidence of church cover-ups. “Yes, it is,” Cardinal Pell said.

Cardinal George Pell has confessed to creation of false documents and ‘reprehensible’ cover-ups of child sex abuse

Cardinal George Pell

Parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse in Victoria. Picture: Mike Keating Source: Herald Sun

CARDINAL George Pell was told that Hell awaits him after he finished four hours of evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into child abuse yesterday.

He didn’t seem fazed: he has, after all, had almost two decades to perfect his explanation for what he describes as the Catholic Church’s “imperfect” response to paedophile priests.

Cardinal Pell played chess as a kid. Through the afternoon he struck the pose of a master pondering his next move – elbows on the arms of his chair, fingers steepled in front of him.

Yet his opening play was the obvious one, a thoroughly modern tact adopted by corporations keen to be seen to accepting responsibility for perceived wrongdoings.

Cardinal Pell may have been refused his request to give an opening statement, but he gave an abbreviated form anyway – he offered his “full apology” for the Catholic Church’s failings in handling child abuse cases.

From there, his was a measured performance, almost relaxed in contrast to the tensions before he turned up at 1.34pm. Female attendees queried the heightened security.

In the press to get a seat, priests were accused of pushing into the line. An overflow room was arranged for the expected rush. Five minutes before Pell turned up – his head stooped as always, as though he is embarrassed by his height – news filtered through that the overflow room had overflowed.

Cardinal Pell was free of the lapses of flippancy that marked Archbishop Denis Hart’s appearance last week. Yet it was dulled of its revelationary impact in part because of Hart’s evidence.

Like Hart, and in a tone similar to a seasoned politician, Cardinal Pell spoke of “regrets” and “errors” and “cover-ups”.

Cardinal Pell was forced to weaken his defence of Archbishop Frank Little. He was subdued when he agreed the evidence showed Little’s actions were “reprehensible”. That’s one conclusion from the past week’s evidence – Little’s lifework may have to be rewritten to include some terrible errors of judgment.

Yet he seemed comfortable enough with his beliefs and thinking. Most telling, perhaps, was when the inquiry’s David O’Brien lectured Cardinal Pell about the trustworthiness of the Catholic Church.

Not that O’Brien offered up the advice itself – many in the community might have been cheering him on – but that Cardinal Pell, the most senior church member in the country, appeared to receive the de facto sermon so humbly.

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