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By Chris McGillion, Geraldine Doogue

Why Catholicism in Australia has did not preserve its relevance regardless of common facts of a starvation for that means, values and a renewed experience of group.

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Extra resources for A Long Way from Rome: Why the Australian Catholic Church Is in Crisis

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Questioned about the institutional culture that could allow suspected offenders simply to be shunted around in this fashion, Brother McDonald told the commission that more could scarcely have been done, since nothing substantial had been proved against Evans. The fact that no proper investigation of his behaviour appeared to have been undertaken either by Church authorities or by the Wollongong police remained a moot point. Moreover, McDonald said, the Church had learned much about the nature of paedophilia in a short time.

In crucial ways, the future health of the Church depends on them. The report, however, documented the ‘pain and anger’ Catholic women felt at their sense of subordination and dismissal within official Church structures and noted that, as a result, many of them had left the Church or were contemplating leaving it. This report was based on a two-year consultation the bishops had held with women around the country, starting in 1996. All of the Australian bishops who attended the Vatican meeting that produced the Statement of Conclusions had to be aware of the urgent problem they had on their hands to contain, let alone ameliorate, this sense of alienation.

Even after Brother McDonald moved Evans out of Wollongong, he was still permitted to work at a retreat centre in Sydney. And no attempt was made to inform authorities at the University of New England about why Evans had been stood down as headmaster of Edmund Rice College when he successfully applied for a position with the university, supervising the construction of a new campus at Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales north coast. Questioned about the institutional culture that could allow suspected offenders simply to be shunted around in this fashion, Brother McDonald told the commission that more could scarcely have been done, since nothing substantial had been proved against Evans.

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