|Catholic Church leaders buried their heads about clergy abusing children in |
Ballarat and should have made victims a priority, a convicted priest
has told the child abuse royal commission
Catholic Church leaders buried their heads about clergy abusing children in Ballarat and should have made victims a priority, a convicted priest has told the child abuse royal commission.
Paul David Ryan, 66, told the commission he could not explain how so many notorious pedophiles came to operate in Ballarat diocese at the same time.
The priest proposed the culture of the diocese may have given rise to pedophilia, as well as protecting the offending clergymen in hopes of avoiding a scandal.
|Ryan claims Bishop Ronald |
Mulkearns knew about him but did
not revoke his priestly faculties
'Probably a gross misdirection of who should be supported, for a start: in other words, victims weren't made a priority.
Obviously, the reputation of the church was the priority, even if it was grossly hypocritical.
'Certainly burying their head about their responsibilities and seeing if, `OK, let's try and avoid making this a scandal', and all that type of thing.'
Ryan said Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew about him in 1977 but did not revoke his priestly faculties until 1993.
'I'm sure he must have known about others,' he said.
'I don't know whether he buried his head in the sand, but it would have been like an elephant in the room that we don't acknowledge, sort of thing, to him. It must have been.'
|Australia's worst pedophile priest, Gerald Francis Ridsdale, |
will give evidence to the commission's Ballarat public hearing
'The clergy like myself should have come last; it was the other way around.'
Ryan was jailed in 2006 for 18 months after admitting three charges of indecent assault against one victim between 1990 and 1991.
Australia's worst pedophile priest, Gerald Francis Ridsdale, will give evidence to the commission's Ballarat public hearing via videolink from jail for at least two days from Wednesday.
|Paul David Ryan said the church tried to avoid scandal and |
protect its clergymen-such as Mr Ridsdale-over their victims
'The phoenix must rise from the ashes and unfortunately those ashes are the bodies of people who have suicided,' Mr Blenkiron told reporters.
'We must take some lessons from it and make sure it never happens again.'