zondag, februari 02, 2014

Nipple keet en false kneels Nun calls Church patriarchal, bishops dismissive of child sex abuse claims

The Catholic Church was ''patriarchal'', regarded women as useful for ''cooking the Sunday lunch roast'' but not much else and even today left women feeling ''fairly well overlooked'', a senior nun has told the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry.

A former congregation leader of the Sisters of St Joseph in Lochinvar, in the Hunter Valley, Sister Lauretta Baker, said she was not a feminist because the word was divisive, but she laid bare how a nun felt about the church and its global child sex abuse crisis.

''I think it's true to say the Catholic Church is as good as it is today because of its religious women, not because of its religious men,'' she told the inquiry in evidence made public on Friday. ''We have endured much, put up with much.''
In the 1980s, when child sex allegations emerged in the US, the church had ''little regard for women in general, whom they saw as doing the flowers in the church, washing the altar linen, etc, etc'', she said.

Asked by counsel assisting the inquiry Warwick Hunt if that included ''cooking the Sunday lunch roast for priests'', Sister Baker replied: ''Yes, and never being part of any decision making, even any kind of consultation, collaboration. I'm sure they didn't know the meaning of the word, really, in those days, the 1980s.

''You know, the Catholic Church is basically patriarchal in its organisation and its systems. If you know anything about the Catholic Church and its system, then you know that women are still today fairly well overlooked.''

The NSW Special Commission of Inquiry, headed by Margaret Cunneen, SC, is investigating the Catholic Church and police handling of child sex allegations about the late priests Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher. Its final report is due later this month.
Sister Baker gave evidence in private at Wallsend on April 19. She finished her five-year term as congregational leader of the Lochinvar Josephites last month.
Asked by Mr Hunt if she had any views about systemic obstacles in the past facing nuns or their superiors who had knowledge or suspicions about clerics ''misbehaving with children'', she replied: ''Yes, I do. Have you got all day?

''The major superiors that I knew in the 1980s would have to have been extremely courageous women to have approached the bishop. Nobody believed that a priest in such a position of trust would act like that, act in a way that we've seen some of them did.

''They [bishops] wouldn't have believed it, to start with. My conjecture is that they [nuns] would have been patted on the head and ignored.''

Sister Baker said nuns were ''even further behind the eight ball'' than other women in the church because their vows of chastity, obedience and poverty meant ''many clerics regarded religious women as odd''.
She told the inquiry about a recently completed two-year papal investigation of nuns in the US. It was ordered because of their social justice work with the very poor and disadvantaged. Josephite nuns in Australia did similar social justice work with the very poor and the homeless, she said.

''We work in areas that at times make us work in opposition to the doctrine of the church, and it's a question of doctrine or people,'' she said. ''Women choose people over doctrine. Happily so.''

In the 1990s nuns had become ''more enlightened and outspoken, and I think we have claimed more and more of our identity''.


Geen opmerkingen: