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John 13:34

love one another as I have loved you

John 13:34

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ballarat hearing, video evidence, the Loud Fence movement, Frankly Speaking and more

Welcome to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council eNewsletter

February 2016
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Third part of the Royal Commission's Ballarat Case Study starts

The third part of the Royal Commission's 28th case study which is looking into child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the Ballarat region started on Monday. It is expected to run to the end of the week in the Ballarat Magistrates Court and then move to Sydney for three days to hear Cardinal Pell's evidence via video link from Rome.

This week's hearing follows hearings in March 2014 in Ballarat and in December 2014 in Melbourne.

Gail Furness' opening statement to the hearing

Follow the hearing online

Read daily hearing room updates from the TJHC

Cardinal Pell to give evidence from Hotel Quirinale in Rome

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Frankly speaking...


Its been quite a week. Victoria's Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird put himself forward as a defendant in historical sex abuse cases, providing moral leadership on this issue.

And the Royal Commission is in Ballarat this week to hear the third part of Case Study 28. This time it's looking at allegations of child sex abuse by clergy and religious focusing on the Christian Brothers. And next week Cardinal George Pell will provide evidence for Case STudies 28 and 35 via video from Rome. 

Not surprisingly, the Cardinal's inability to attend in person has unleashed a visceral response from many in the community. But its important he's afforded procedural fairness and that the Royal Commission can get on with its work.

Latest from the Council

Cardinal Pell, survivors to visit Rome, a satirical song and the Royal Commission

Last week saw much controversy over plans by the Royal Commission to have Cardinal Pell give evidence by video link from Rome.

A satirical song, crowd funding to raise money for survivors to travel to Rome and supporters and detractors of Cardinal Pell filling the airwaves created a media frenzy that hasn't been seen since the very early days of the Commission.

Late last week the Cardinal's office issued a statement saying he stands ready to meet with survivors if they travel to Rome, this is good news.

Fr Frank Brennan appeared on the ABC's The Drum (interview starts at 11.30 mins)  outlining some of the very real problems the Commission might encounter as it tries to accommodate survivors in Rome and the ABC's 7.30 gathered a range of key players to give their views.

Head of the Australain Catholic Bishop's Conference and Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, also issued a statement as did the TJHC.

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Loud Fence movement growing

Hundreds of ribbons going up on the fence at St Mary's Church in Buderim are about making a loud statement against child abuse.

The ribbons have been put there by local parishioners like Patricia Hamilton who have joined national movement, Loud Fence, to show support for the many abused within the church community.

MacKillop Family Services has also joined with many other Catholic churches, schools and agencies to show its support for the victims and survivors of child abuse by participating in the Loud Fence Movement.

CEO Micaela Cronin said that through MacKillop's work we witness the ongoing impact of trauma and abuse.

"We recognise the importance of reflection as an agent for growth and change. Therefore we felt it was important to show our support for the survivors of sexual abuse, their families and communities," she said.

If you or your parish or organisation are part of a Loud Fence project please let us know by emailing


Ballarat Bishop to stand in as defendent in CSA civil claims and local school working with abuse survivors

Last week Ballarat Bishop Paul BIrd made the public announcement he would stand in as the defendant in historic child sexual abuse civil claims made against the diosese. The move has been greated by survivors in Ballarat.

Also in Ballarat St Patrick's College has been working with survivors to create a pioneering program aimed at teaching children protective behaviours to empower future generations.

TJHC Media Release

Read The Courier article

Allegations against Cardinal Pell

Late last week the Herald Sun in Melbourne ran a story relating to the Victorian Police's operation Sano alleging an number of pepole have made a range of allagation against Cardinal Pell.

Read Sun Herald Story

Read Cardinal Pell's response

George Pell leaks could undermine royal commission, says Frank Brennan
The Guardian 22 February 2016

Cardinal Pell calls for investigation into leaks
Statment - 22 February 2016


Every Cardinal should watch 'Spotlight' says former Vatican abuse prosecutor

The Catholic Herald reports every bishop and cardinal must watch the film Spotlight, the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases has said, so they realise reporting abuse, not silence, will save the Church.

The film underlines the key problem of "omerta" or a code of silence, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta said, according to the Italian daily La Repubblica.

Catholic Herald
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Royal Commission looking at Defence

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would like anyone who has information regarding child sexual abuse within the Australian Defence Force Cadets to contact the Royal Commission.

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