Vatican should consider voluntary celibacy to cut child abuse risk: royal commission final report

Compulsory celibacy among Catholic priests contributed to child sexual abuse in Australia and local church leaders should ask the Vatican to consider introducing voluntary celibacy, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended in its landmark final report.

After five years, 444 days of public hearings and 8013 private sessions, the commission delivered its 17-volume final report in Canberra on Friday and set a six-month deadline for a response from government on 189 new recommendations.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse calls for a systematic overhaul of structure and governance practices which allowed cultures of abuse to flourish.

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Dennis Hart says churches will support for the introduction of a redress scheme following a report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Malcolm Turnbull’s about-face on a banking royal commission has plenty of politicians criticising, justifying and gloating about the decision.

The Royal Commission’s report into sexual abuse has been handed to the government, with talk now turning to implementing recommendations and compensation for victims.

John Alexander and Kristina Keneally are on the ground in Bennelong, rounding up last minute votes with the byelection result tipped to be close.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse calls for a systematic overhaul of structure and governance practices which allowed cultures of abuse to flourish.

The $500 million commission found child sexual abuse occurred in a broad range of institutional contexts, including schools, sporting and dance clubs, defence training establishments and out-of home care services.

It recommended laws requiring mandatory reporting of abuse to child protection authorities be extended to religious ministers, out-of-home care workers, childcare workers, registered psychologists and school counsellors, bringing them into line with police, doctors, nurses and teachers.

It also recommended a new National Office for Child Safety be established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and a minister appointed to oversee child policy issues. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday the inquiry had “exposed a national tragedy” and a national taskforce would be set up in January to act on the recommendations.

Religious institutions loomed large in the commission’s work and “the greatest number of alleged perpetrators and abused children were in Catholic institutions”, the commission found.

The final report makes a series of recommendations to the Catholic Church in Australia, including that church leaders request the Vatican “consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy”.

Justice Peter McClellan, chair of the child abuse royal commission, delivered the final report to government on Friday.

“We also recommend that Catholic religious institutes implement measures to address the risks of harm to children and the potential psychological and sexual dysfunction associated with celibacy,” the final report said.

The commission said compulsory celibacy for clergy, and vowed chastity for members of religious institutes, was “not a direct cause of child sexual abuse” but had “contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse, especially when combined with other risk factors”.

“For many Catholic clergy and religious, celibacy is implicated in emotional isolation, loneliness, depression and mental illness. Compulsory celibacy may also have contributed to various forms of psychosexual dysfunction, including psychosexual immaturity, which pose an ongoing risk to the safety of children,” the report said.

The commission also recommended Australian laws be changed to force clergy to report abuse disclosed in confession, a major departure from canon law.

“In case studies and private sessions we heard that disclosures of child sexual abuse by perpetrators or victims during confession were not reported to civil authorities or otherwise acted on,” the report said.

Reiterating a recommendation made in August, the commission said a new offence should be created for failing to report child sexual abuse to police. This would cover those in religious ministry as well as owners, managers, staff members or volunteers of any institution, and extend to what a person “should have suspected” as well as what they did know or suspect.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher yesterday promised the report would not “sit on a shelf” and “we have to look very carefully and take very seriously what the commission has found in terms of more systemic issues in our culture, hierarchy, practices and beliefs as Catholics”.

But he stopped short of offering support for the commission’s key recommendations on voluntary celibacy and reporting abuse that came to light from confession.

“While we are yet to study what the commission has had to say about that [confession], I think everyone understands that this Catholic and orthodox practice of confession is always confidential,” he said in Sydney.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart agreed the confessional was sacrosanct but said celibacy reforms could be considered.

“With regard to the discipline of celibacy, this is a matter of a different order, it’s a discipline which the church can change,” he said.

The commission recommended any person in religious ministry who was the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse be permanently removed from ministry if the complaint was substantiated “on the balance of probabilities”. Criminal convictions would also trigger dismissal from religious ministry.

The Turnbull government has introduced a bill to establish a national compensation scheme for abuse victims, a recommendation first made by the royal commission in 2015.

The commission estimated 60,000 survivors would be eligible to make a claim under the scheme and suggested payments would range between $10,000 and $200,000 for “the most severe case” of abuse. The average payment would be $65,000, the report said.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said on Friday the maximum payment of $150,000 per person would not be increased.

The scheme requires buy-in from the states and territories, and Mr Porter said he expected “most state attorneys-general and ministers responsible will be giving … some kind of indication in the next couple of days” about their position. NSW and Victoria had shown initial “positive” signs, he said.

The commission said state and territory governments should pass laws i to hold institutions such as schools, residential out-of-home care facilities and juvenile detention centres legally responsible for institutional child sexual abuse even if it was the result of a deliberate criminal act by a person linked to the institution.

The recommendation is aimed at removing impediments faced by child abuse survivors in seeking redress in court. The report noted Australian courts have been reluctant “to impose vicarious liability or a non-delegable duty on an institution” and contrasted this with developments in the law in Britain and Canada.

“In both those jurisdictions, the law has accepted that an institution will be vicariously liable for the criminal acts of its members or employees that cause harm to children, either because the act causing harm was so closely connected to an employee’s employment that it is fair and just to hold the employer liable, or because in the operation of its enterprise the employer created or significantly increased the risk of their employee causing harm,” the report said.

The chair of the royal commission, Justice Peter McClellan, warned the sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past, with children continuing to be abused in institutions today.

“The sexual abuse of any child is intolerable in a civilised society,” he said at the final sitting of the hearing on Thursday.

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit

See Also : www.smh.com.au

Compulsory celibacy among Catholic priests contributed to child sexual abuse in Australia and local church leaders should ask the Vatican to consider introducing voluntary celibacy, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended in its landmark final report.

After five years, 444 days of public hearings and 8013 private sessions, the commission delivered its 17-volume final report in Canberra on Friday and set a six-month deadline for a response from government on 189 new recommendations.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse calls for a systematic overhaul of structure and governance practices which allowed cultures of abuse to flourish.

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Dennis Hart says churches will support for the introduction of a redress scheme following a report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Malcolm Turnbull’s about-face on a banking royal commission has plenty of politicians criticising, justifying and gloating about the decision.

The Royal Commission’s report into sexual abuse has been handed to the government, with talk now turning to implementing recommendations and compensation for victims.

John Alexander and Kristina Keneally are on the ground in Bennelong, rounding up last minute votes with the byelection result tipped to be close.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse calls for a systematic overhaul of structure and governance practices which allowed cultures of abuse to flourish.

The $500 million commission found child sexual abuse occurred in a broad range of institutional contexts, including schools, sporting and dance clubs, defence training establishments and out-of home care services.

It recommended laws requiring mandatory reporting of abuse to child protection authorities be extended to religious ministers, out-of-home care workers, childcare workers, registered psychologists and school counsellors, bringing them into line with police, doctors, nurses and teachers.

It also recommended a new National Office for Child Safety be established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and a minister appointed to oversee child policy issues. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday the inquiry had “exposed a national tragedy” and a national taskforce would be set up in January to act on the recommendations.

Religious institutions loomed large in the commission’s work and “the greatest number of alleged perpetrators and abused children were in Catholic institutions”, the commission found.

The final report makes a series of recommendations to the Catholic Church in Australia, including that church leaders request the Vatican “consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy”.

Justice Peter McClellan, chair of the child abuse royal commission, delivered the final report to government on Friday.

“We also recommend that Catholic religious institutes implement measures to address the risks of harm to children and the potential psychological and sexual dysfunction associated with celibacy,” the final report said.

The commission said compulsory celibacy for clergy, and vowed chastity for members of religious institutes, was “not a direct cause of child sexual abuse” but had “contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse, especially when combined with other risk factors”.

“For many Catholic clergy and religious, celibacy is implicated in emotional isolation, loneliness, depression and mental illness. Compulsory celibacy may also have contributed to various forms of psychosexual dysfunction, including psychosexual immaturity, which pose an ongoing risk to the safety of children,” the report said.

The commission also recommended Australian laws be changed to force clergy to report abuse disclosed in confession, a major departure from canon law.

“In case studies and private sessions we heard that disclosures of child sexual abuse by perpetrators or victims during confession were not reported to civil authorities or otherwise acted on,” the report said.

Reiterating a recommendation made in August, the commission said a new offence should be created for failing to report child sexual abuse to police. This would cover those in religious ministry as well as owners, managers, staff members or volunteers of any institution, and extend to what a person “should have suspected” as well as what they did know or suspect.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher yesterday promised the report would not “sit on a shelf” and “we have to look very carefully and take very seriously what the commission has found in terms of more systemic issues in our culture, hierarchy, practices and beliefs as Catholics”.

But he stopped short of offering support for the commission’s key recommendations on voluntary celibacy and reporting abuse that came to light from confession.

“While we are yet to study what the commission has had to say about that [confession], I think everyone understands that this Catholic and orthodox practice of confession is always confidential,” he said in Sydney.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart agreed the confessional was sacrosanct but said celibacy reforms could be considered.

“With regard to the discipline of celibacy, this is a matter of a different order, it’s a discipline which the church can change,” he said.

The commission recommended any person in religious ministry who was the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse be permanently removed from ministry if the complaint was substantiated “on the balance of probabilities”. Criminal convictions would also trigger dismissal from religious ministry.

The Turnbull government has introduced a bill to establish a national compensation scheme for abuse victims, a recommendation first made by the royal commission in 2015.

The commission estimated 60,000 survivors would be eligible to make a claim under the scheme and suggested payments would range between $10,000 and $200,000 for “the most severe case” of abuse. The average payment would be $65,000, the report said.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said on Friday the maximum payment of $150,000 per person would not be increased.

The scheme requires buy-in from the states and territories, and Mr Porter said he expected “most state attorneys-general and ministers responsible will be giving … some kind of indication in the next couple of days” about their position. NSW and Victoria had shown initial “positive” signs, he said.

The commission said state and territory governments should pass laws i to hold institutions such as schools, residential out-of-home care facilities and juvenile detention centres legally responsible for institutional child sexual abuse even if it was the result of a deliberate criminal act by a person linked to the institution.

The recommendation is aimed at removing impediments faced by child abuse survivors in seeking redress in court. The report noted Australian courts have been reluctant “to impose vicarious liability or a non-delegable duty on an institution” and contrasted this with developments in the law in Britain and Canada.

“In both those jurisdictions, the law has accepted that an institution will be vicariously liable for the criminal acts of its members or employees that cause harm to children, either because the act causing harm was so closely connected to an employee’s employment that it is fair and just to hold the employer liable, or because in the operation of its enterprise the employer created or significantly increased the risk of their employee causing harm,” the report said.

The chair of the royal commission, Justice Peter McClellan, warned the sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past, with children continuing to be abused in institutions today.

“The sexual abuse of any child is intolerable in a civilised society,” he said at the final sitting of the hearing on Thursday.

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit

Compulsory celibacy among Catholic priests contributed to child sexual abuse in Australia and local church leaders should ask the Vatican to consider introducing voluntary celibacy, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recommended in its landmark final report.

After five years, 444 days of public hearings and 8013 private sessions, the commission delivered its 17-volume final report in Canberra on Friday and set a six-month deadline for a response from government on 189 new recommendations.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse calls for a systematic overhaul of structure and governance practices which allowed cultures of abuse to flourish.

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Dennis Hart says churches will support for the introduction of a redress scheme following a report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Malcolm Turnbull’s about-face on a banking royal commission has plenty of politicians criticising, justifying and gloating about the decision.

The Royal Commission’s report into sexual abuse has been handed to the government, with talk now turning to implementing recommendations and compensation for victims.

John Alexander and Kristina Keneally are on the ground in Bennelong, rounding up last minute votes with the byelection result tipped to be close.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse calls for a systematic overhaul of structure and governance practices which allowed cultures of abuse to flourish.

The $500 million commission found child sexual abuse occurred in a broad range of institutional contexts, including schools, sporting and dance clubs, defence training establishments and out-of home care services.

It recommended laws requiring mandatory reporting of abuse to child protection authorities be extended to religious ministers, out-of-home care workers, childcare workers, registered psychologists and school counsellors, bringing them into line with police, doctors, nurses and teachers.

It also recommended a new National Office for Child Safety be established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and a minister appointed to oversee child policy issues. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday the inquiry had “exposed a national tragedy” and a national taskforce would be set up in January to act on the recommendations.

Religious institutions loomed large in the commission’s work and “the greatest number of alleged perpetrators and abused children were in Catholic institutions”, the commission found.

The final report makes a series of recommendations to the Catholic Church in Australia, including that church leaders request the Vatican “consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy”.

Justice Peter McClellan, chair of the child abuse royal commission, delivered the final report to government on Friday.

“We also recommend that Catholic religious institutes implement measures to address the risks of harm to children and the potential psychological and sexual dysfunction associated with celibacy,” the final report said.

The commission said compulsory celibacy for clergy, and vowed chastity for members of religious institutes, was “not a direct cause of child sexual abuse” but had “contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse, especially when combined with other risk factors”.

“For many Catholic clergy and religious, celibacy is implicated in emotional isolation, loneliness, depression and mental illness. Compulsory celibacy may also have contributed to various forms of psychosexual dysfunction, including psychosexual immaturity, which pose an ongoing risk to the safety of children,” the report said.

The commission also recommended Australian laws be changed to force clergy to report abuse disclosed in confession, a major departure from canon law.

“In case studies and private sessions we heard that disclosures of child sexual abuse by perpetrators or victims during confession were not reported to civil authorities or otherwise acted on,” the report said.

Reiterating a recommendation made in August, the commission said a new offence should be created for failing to report child sexual abuse to police. This would cover those in religious ministry as well as owners, managers, staff members or volunteers of any institution, and extend to what a person “should have suspected” as well as what they did know or suspect.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher yesterday promised the report would not “sit on a shelf” and “we have to look very carefully and take very seriously what the commission has found in terms of more systemic issues in our culture, hierarchy, practices and beliefs as Catholics”.

But he stopped short of offering support for the commission’s key recommendations on voluntary celibacy and reporting abuse that came to light from confession.

“While we are yet to study what the commission has had to say about that [confession], I think everyone understands that this Catholic and orthodox practice of confession is always confidential,” he said in Sydney.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart agreed the confessional was sacrosanct but said celibacy reforms could be considered.

“With regard to the discipline of celibacy, this is a matter of a different order, it’s a discipline which the church can change,” he said.

The commission recommended any person in religious ministry who was the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse be permanently removed from ministry if the complaint was substantiated “on the balance of probabilities”. Criminal convictions would also trigger dismissal from religious ministry.

The Turnbull government has introduced a bill to establish a national compensation scheme for abuse victims, a recommendation first made by the royal commission in 2015.

The commission estimated 60,000 survivors would be eligible to make a claim under the scheme and suggested payments would range between $10,000 and $200,000 for “the most severe case” of abuse. The average payment would be $65,000, the report said.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said on Friday the maximum payment of $150,000 per person would not be increased.

The scheme requires buy-in from the states and territories, and Mr Porter said he expected “most state attorneys-general and ministers responsible will be giving … some kind of indication in the next couple of days” about their position. NSW and Victoria had shown initial “positive” signs, he said.

The commission said state and territory governments should pass laws i to hold institutions such as schools, residential out-of-home care facilities and juvenile detention centres legally responsible for institutional child sexual abuse even if it was the result of a deliberate criminal act by a person linked to the institution.

The recommendation is aimed at removing impediments faced by child abuse survivors in seeking redress in court. The report noted Australian courts have been reluctant “to impose vicarious liability or a non-delegable duty on an institution” and contrasted this with developments in the law in Britain and Canada.

“In both those jurisdictions, the law has accepted that an institution will be vicariously liable for the criminal acts of its members or employees that cause harm to children, either because the act causing harm was so closely connected to an employee’s employment that it is fair and just to hold the employer liable, or because in the operation of its enterprise the employer created or significantly increased the risk of their employee causing harm,” the report said.

The chair of the royal commission, Justice Peter McClellan, warned the sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past, with children continuing to be abused in institutions today.

“The sexual abuse of any child is intolerable in a civilised society,” he said at the final sitting of the hearing on Thursday.

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit

Vatican should consider voluntary celibacy to cut child abuse risk: royal commission final report The Sydney Morning Herald Compulsory celibacy among Catholic priests contributed to child sexual abuse in Australia and local church leaders should ask the Vatican to consider introducing voluntary celibacy, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual … Final report handed down into child sex abuse Daily Telegraph Marist College, St Edmund’s College apologise after Royal Commission findings The Canberra Times Royal commission: Now it’s time to act on our national shame The Age NEWS.com.au – The New Daily – SBS – Yahoo7 News all 162 news articles >>

Compulsory celibacy among Catholic priests contributed to child sexual abuse in Australia and local church leaders should ask the Vatican to consider introducing voluntary celibacy, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual