The gradual, but terribly long-delayed, victory of those activists who have spoken out about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church is happening. Unfortunately, organizations which also have long histories of perpetuating cover up frequently evade scrutiny. The Sathya Sai Organization, with its immense wealth and international outreach, is but one of many.
I commend this Australian material (below) from our respected national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I have excerpted this article of last night, which is accompanied by video footage. No percipient reader in the world can now doubt that the Vatican has been furiously enaged in massive efforts at damage control. It cannot now of course deny its incredibly appalling record.
The notion of ‘coming clean’ – which in certain parts of the Roman Catholic Church is beginning to occur – becomes the more strange when one considers that the dirt and the hiding of the dirt have been endemic for so long. In this light, the notion that we now live in 2010 becomes strange too. Even slight reform is long-time coming when there is the throttling grip of autocracy. It is singular how those very institutions which most preach the virtue of truth-telling, and acting with compassion, are most bereft in this quality.
Just as many have left Sathya Sai Baba because of the widespread and compelling evidence against him – of serial sexual abuse AND other profound spiritual and moral betrayals – so too are many leaving the Roman Catholic Church.
These many religious institutions have abysmally failed to be truthful about, and genuinely responsive to, the widespread sexual and other abuses in their folds. Sathya Sai Baba has long said that he will reform and harmonize all the major faiths before circa AD 2022.
Yet he and his international Sathya Sai Organization are today in serious plight. There has been a great dwindling of foreigners attending his Puttaparthi ashram. We have dependable reports from close up that he has for some time been physically and mentally ailing seriously. He has made a regular serious of gaffes, most embarrassing to his minders. His predictions have often failed. He has made egregious mistakes about science and history. See:
In regard to interface with other religion, one can find no evidence that he has made any notable impact on the various Faiths that he earlier announced that he would reform from top to bottom. Thus, he is increasingly revealed as suffering from megalomania. Thus his so-called ‘Sarva Dharma Chakra (depicting the Faiths he has said he would cleanse and unite) remains at best but a pretty drawing (and pretty offensive to many) and a hollow pretense.
By Stephen Crittenden and Suzanne Smith. ABC, Australia
Archbishop Philip Wilson is widely tipped as a possible successor to Cardinal George Pell. (AAP: Alan Porritt)
- Video: Archbishop under fire over alleged abuse cover-up (Lateline)
- Video: Extended interview: Stephen Kilkeary (ABC News)
- Video: Extended interview: Peter Gogarty (ABC News)
- Video: Archive: Calls for a Papal apology (ABC News)
- Video: Archbishop investigated over alleged abuse cover-up (7pm TV News NSW)
- Map: Newcastle 2300
- Related Link: Document: Letter from Bishop Clarke to Fr McAlinden 1995
- Related Link: Document: Statement against Fr McAlinden 1995
- Related Link: Background Briefing: What is wrong with the Catholic Church?
- Related Link: Archbishop Wilson’s statement to the ABC
- Related Link: Broken Rites
The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, is coming under increasing pressure to explain what he knew about clerical sexual abuse when he was an office-holder in the NSW diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Archbishop Wilson has just been re-elected as chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and is widely tipped as a possible successor to the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, if Cardinal Pell leaves Sydney to take up a senior post in the Vatican.
The Maitland-Newcastle diocese has become notorious as perhaps the epicentre of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Australia. Four serious paedophile priests have been jailed since 1997. Father Vincent Ryan’s crimes led to a $6 million compensation payout to victims – a record for the Catholic Church in Australia so far. Father John Denham is due to be sentenced later this month, and the compensation settlement with his victims is expected to be even larger. Yet another priest, Father David O’Hearn, is due to stand trial in the next two weeks.
Now a victim of convicted paedophile Father James Fletcher, who died in jail in 2006, says Archbishop Philip Wilson was a priest living in the bishop’s house in Maitland when Fletcher was also living there in the late 1970s, and that Philip Wilson should have been aware that he was being sexually abused in Fletcher’s upstairs bedroom.
Peter Gogarty says Philip Wilson regularly saw him in Fletcher’s company as he was being taken upstairs to Fletcher’s bedroom, and after he came back downstairs. At one point, when Bishop Leo Clarke became suspicious, Gogarty was banned from being in the bishop’s house, but Fletcher continued to sneak him in the back door. Peter Gogarty says Philip Wilson should have intervened.
“Jim started sneaking me in the back door in the kitchen in the back of the house, straight past the common room where I would regularly pass Philip Wilson and then up the stairs to his bedroom,” he said.
Conveniently for Jim Fletcher, Peter Gogarty was attending a school right next door to the bishop’s house. He says the abuse would occur at lunch time and many afternoons after school. He says he has spoken to Archbishop Wilson over the phone in recent years about what the archbishop thought was going on.
“I asked now Archbishop Wilson what he thought was happening at the time. Did he know that Bishop Clarke had banned me from the house? His response was, no, he didn’t know anything about that, and that as far as he was concerned Jim was a good bloke and he didn’t think Jim was up to anything untoward,” he said.
Peter Gogarty says he can’t accept this explanation from Archbishop Wilson.
“I think, how could a man living in a house with another man not even be remotely curious as to why his house-mate was taking at least one boy up to his bedroom, and there may have been others……” (Rest of article continues at ABC link above)
Wikiedia. Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Australia (This article indicates updating)
The priests and Catholic church hierarchy who have been questioned by police regarding allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.
Barry Pittard on an assortment of cover ups
The Public Petition
(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization