Saturday 24 February 2018

Redress Streams? v.5

from Royal Commission website
UPDATE as scheme launches - how the Commission came about. Tragic reading.

PPPS: Well Done (I think and hope!) to the Tasmanian Anglicans for their proposal on redress. If adopted by their representative body I hope they have success with their government and can implement. I am sorry for the victims, the innocent injured, and the crime and negligence that has brought the situation about.


Retrospective ADDENDUM! 10/3/2018
Good news for NSW and Victoria in the news item about signing up to the national redress scheme now. (I could not verify or find consistent current items from the Government websites - none of the three!)

It is surely a good thing that the Victorian Government is proposing:  to remove the ability of religious institutions to sequester their assets and thus evade financial consequences for child sexual abuse. If assets are "on the table" they may be exposed to legal action through the courts. (Property is held under trust arrangements, including land which may have been originally appropriated - stolen - by Government and then granted to a religious institution.)

I am looking at the media reports:

Surely it would really be best for all entities to sign up to the national redress scheme. That seems obvious (on this, see previous post).

In the meantime, religious bodies who claim the Bible as their text have (should have) no need to be instructed by Government or legal authorities. That text has God saying to God's adherents:
  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24, ESV).
There is commentary from Sydney which explains the ugly means of escape, often known as the "Ellis defence". These comments do not indicate any change in NSW, though it is surely needed.

A 2016 report illustrates the frustrations, but has rather optimistic commentary and headline:

This is very far from a matter which only requires action from the Catholic Church, or only in Victoria. Clearly the Catholic Church has the largest number of potential claimants. The news items are clear that the Victorian Catholic Church was consulted and was supportive of change. What of Sydney? I looked at what the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese website presents and found it a bit confusing.

First, they say, the "Ellis defence" is a myth, and they did right by Mr Ellis:

But, does the Catholic Archdiocese response to the Royal Commission examination of the "Ellis case", as in their very fair report, agree with and support their above stance (which is undated but presumably current):

This may seem to you, as to me, somewhat confusing? Do I detect legal voices anxious to manage the risk of escalating costs? Never easy for mere laymen to know what to make of that kind of talk. (I have not found reports from other states.)

It is clear that no one can avoid responsibility for criminal acts. However, the Commission made clear recommendations for improved accountability in ways the average (paying) customer on a Number 96 tram to St Kilda Beach would expect of church institutions.

I think it would be best for church (and all) institutions to be incorporated and subject to the law. Why should any entity in the community be exempt from generally accepted standards of right behaviour and be able, as ordinary persons see it, to escape consequences? What is it about full transparency and accountability that is so hard?

Church entities have a history of claiming the high moral ground. That is supported in their foundational text (- do a search on "righteousness").  It is clear to me that "treating others fairly" has been a theory subscribed to by all, but contradicted by some, and inadequately supported by practice.

Again, although my post focuses on the news relating to the Catholic Church, I sincerely hope that the same, or greater, requirements will apply to all and I wish to see reports of the wholehearted adoption of the national redress scheme, or better. Who knows, if money and other assets are at stake, the ability to engage in predatory behaviour under the cloak of "church" may be reduced to about zero. I can hope so.

And furthermore: How can taxpayers be expected to fund (subsidise) any part of the liabilities or operation of religious institutions? Can ratepayers be expected to grant exemption to religious institutions from their proper share of rates? Why are activities of religious institutions treated as if they were "not-for-profit"? I think there are carry-overs in our society from the era when "church" was accepted as simply a part of the European/British culture and naturally given public support. We also have another irritating complication due to the separate jurisdictions (local, state, federal) not working in concert. (That should not be so hard to fix, if there is a will to do that.) 

ADDENDUM (No longer accurate re NSW & VIC Governments)
News item from ABC raised possibility of a broader scheme for redress of all kinds of abuse - which seems plainly right - go for it Senator Hinch. The same report also shows our states, by being recalcitrant, have blocked progress towards the establishment of a national scheme. They are frightened of becoming contributor "of last resort", where former abuse entities no longer exist.  To me it is clear that no avenue should remain for ANY religious or other non-government institution to  retain ANY of their assets whilst the redress for one or more victims remains unmet. I wish everyone would lobby their state and the federal governments for the correct action now.
A link to the multi-faceted ABC report:
ADDENDUM: Typical sad consequence in the present of past transgression
v.5 Addendum (made 5/1/2022) Recent news item shows court ("legal first") rejecting evasion approach taken by "Church" (I suppose the work of their risk managers/accountants/lawyers - sad really to see this line still pursued).
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Bible text accessed from

Friday 16 February 2018

Mark +

How does Mark's Gospel compare with John's? (How with Luke and Matthew?) Like this.....
Sample on left is from Mark 15; on right is from John. Both are CEV.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Jesus Film

I have recently learnt that for smart devices there is a free App called the "Jesus Film Project".