dinsdag, februari 27, 2018

Aanslag op bevolkingsregister in levensgroot stripverhaal: VNG: Haal gezinskaarten van de website

Het Parool
26 - 2- 2018

75 jaar geleden, op 27 maart 1943, pleegde een groep van zes kunstenaars een aanslag op het Amsterdamse bevolkingsregister. 
Met het bevolkingsregister bij dehand was het voor de bezetter in 1943 erg makkelijk mensen op te speuren. Een verzetsgroep onder leiding van Gerrit van der Veen en Willem Arondéus besloot daarom een aanslag te plegen op het gebouw waarin het register huisde.

Verkleed als politieagenten drong de groep, bestaande uit kunstenaars en studenten, het register binnen, dat destijds naast de ingang van Artis zat. De echte agenten werden verdoofd en naar de dierentuin gesleept.

Mede dankzij het lakse bluswerk van de brandweer (ze waren ingelicht over het doel van de brand) lukte de aanslag gedeeltelijk. Uiteindelijk werd slechts 15 procent van de persoonsbewijzen vernietigd. 

Met de tentoonstelling Explosiegevaar! neemt het Verzetsmuseum bezoekers mee terug naar 27 maart, 75 jaar geleden. De zes kunstenaars die de aanslag beraamden, worden geïntroduceerd via een levensgroot stripverhaal dat zich kamer na kamer ontvouwd. 

Bezoekers worden uitgenodigd mee te denken. Bijvoorbeeld over de discussies van de beramers over het gebruik van geweld en over de vraag of de aanslag, waarvoor de bezetters twaalf mensen fusilleerden, het wel waard is geweest.


Explosiegevaar! is te zien van 28 maart t/m 
11 november.

Bon Secours Tuam's St. Mary's Mother and Baby Home

BRON: Technical Report on the Tuam Site
Stage 2: Options and Appropriate Courses of Action available to Government at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway
Delivered to Minister Katherine Zappone, Department of Children and Youth Affairs By the Expert Technical Group


Galway historian Catherine Corless, whose work resulted in the discovery of the remains of hundreds of babies and infants on the site of the former mother-and-baby home in Tuam, has urged members of the public to support full exhumation and DNA testing of the remains.

Galway County Council recently opened the consultation on options for the site following the publication by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone of an expert technical report in December.


That commission was set up in February 2015 after Ms Corless published research that revealed death certificates for 796 children at the Tuam home with no indication of their burial places.

In June last year, the minister appointed an expert technical group to outline to the Government what options were available for the site and for dealing with the remains.
While the technical report outlined five options – from creating a memorial to continuing examinations on the site – the Government has not made a decision on how to proceed.

At the request of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Galway County Council has opened a public consultation, which will close on Friday March 16th.

The five options it has provided on a printed form are: that a memorial be built on the site; exhumation of known human remains; forensic excavation and recovery of known human remains; forensic excavation and recovery of known human remains with further evaluation and excavation of other areas of interest, and forensic excavation of the entire site.

However, Ms Corless has criticised the nature of the process, stating it amounted to a “vote” on what to do with the site. She and many survivors of the home favour a full forensic investigation, exhumation and DNA testing.

“Unfortunately, it has come to this, that a decision will be made by a voting system,” Ms Corless said. She felt this was a “cold and callous” approach.

“However, if we can get enough people interested to fill in the form and show a preference for an all out forensic excavation, exhumation and DNA testing, the result will bring the long awaited justice to the families of the babies buried in this tank”

compleet artikel 

Mother and baby homes investigation too narrow, says UN

Warning that terms of reference may not address ‘the whole spectrum of abuses’

donderdag, februari 22, 2018

met de beste wensen voor een voorspoedig herstel ook van Charles Scicluna


The shocking case that shows how far the Vatican has to go in child protection

Everyone in Rome says they want an end to abuse scandals. 
But will they do what it takes?

Ed Condon is a canon lawyer and a contributing editor of the Catholic Herald.

We canon lawyers, unfortunately, spend a lot of time dealing with tragic, disturbing, sometimes appalling situations. It’s all too easy to become inured. But even among canonists who routinely deal with cases of child sexual abuse, the news that Mgr Pietro Amenta, a senior Vatican judge, has been convicted of possessing child pornography is shocking.

Mgr Amenta was not a minor figure: he was a prelate auditor (judge) of the Roman Rota, the Church’s final judicial court of appeal. (It does not, thank God, have jurisdiction over abuse cases.) He also appears to have been well-known to the police, having been reported for alleged obscene acts and harassment in 1991 and 2004 respectively. (He was not charged.)

If this were an isolated act, it would be one thing. But it suggests a culture in parts of the Church which is still not taking abuse seriously enough. Even a cursory examination would have shown that Mgr Amenta’s appointment should have at least been delayed until matters were properly investigated.

This is not the only case of basic due diligence being skipped. Bishop Juan Barros denies all the allegations that he turned a blind eye to abuse. But in that story, too, we see the same failure to address concerns before appointing someone to a position of authority. The same goes for other cases. Last year, for instance, a Vatican diplomat was recalled from assignment to Washington, DC, after both American and Canadian authorities opened investigations into alleged child pornography offences.

There is still a great divide in the Church’s response to the sexual abuse scandals. Where these scandals have been most public, like the United States, the response has been clear, systematic, and robust. The creation of the Dallas Charter has brought a

["This is a serious issue. We hope the Holy See will be forthcoming with more details. While we don't know all the facts, consistent with our Charter, we reaffirm that when such allegations occur, an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation should begin in cooperation with law enforcement and immediate steps be taken to protect children. The protection of children and young people is our most sacred responsibility."]

new era for the Church in America in which “zero-tolerance” means exactly that – indeed, in some cases the pendulum can be argued to have swung too far the other way. But elsewhere – despite solid and necessary legal reforms by Pope Benedict XVI, especially in the document Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela, which centralised handling of sexual abuse cases and laid out a clear legal procedure to follow – Rome has continued to pursue a policy which in practice often appears little better than “don’t ask.”

Well-intentioned reformers have been baffled and dismayed by this attitude. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, headed by Cardinal O’Malley and finally renewed this weekend, lost one of their high-profile members, the abuse survivor Peter Saunders, back in 2016 in large part over his frustration at Rome’s failure to respond proactively to growing indications of problems in South America, including in Chile.

Another former member of the Commission, Marie Collins, found progress frustratingly lacking when dealing with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which handles all complaints of sexual abuse. While one has every sympathy with Collins, who speaks with obvious authority in the subject of sexual abuse, the CDF has its own legitimate frustrations. Time and again, what they have been offered is structural reform, new processes, working groups and commissions. What they need is manpower and resources, and a clear mandate to be proactive in their work; what they have got is a Vatican-wide hiring freeze since 2014.

Vatican authorities, including the Pope, must demonstrate to the world that child protection is not only about listening to victims. Listening is, of course, necessary, but as important is doing something about what you hear. Ask anyone in Rome and they will tell you they want to see an end to sexual abuse scandals. Suggest the kind of CDF expansion of manpower, resources, and authority needed to make this happen and you will get a far less enthusiastic response.

Mgr Amenta’s case, awful in itself, could have a been a chance to show initiative. Instead of being allowed to resign, and only confirming this to the press when asked, he should have been immediately and publicly removed from the Rota. His canonical trial should now proceed with all possible speed, and he should have the best canon lawyer that can be found for his defence. While respecting confidentiality of process, the verdict should also be properly publicised. It is time the Vatican spoke a little less about justice and did a lot more of it.

woensdag, februari 21, 2018

Ex-Vatican judge 55-year-old Monsignor Pietro Amenta takes plea bargain on molestation, child pornography charges

John Allen

ROME - A former  judge of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s highest appellate court, has accepted a plea bargain in an Italian criminal court for a conditionally suspended sentence of one year and two months in prison on charges of sexual molestation and possession of child pornography.
Based on reports in the Italian media, 55-year-old Monsignor Pietro Amenta was detained by police after an incident in March 2017, in which Amenta allegedly fondled the genitals of a young but over-age Romanian man in a Roman market. The man reportedly then followed Amenta and summoned police, who took Amenta into custody.
An investigation later discovered roughly 80 pornographic images on Amenta’s personal computer, some involving minors, leading to a second charge in the case.
Amenta resigned his position from the Rota last week, according to a Vatican spokesperson.

According to reports, Amenta has previously faced charges of obscenity in 1991 and sexual molestation in 2004, though neither of those charges led to convictions. In 2013, Amenta himself made a complaint to police of being robbed by two transsexuals.
The Feb. 14 conviction in the Amenta case came just two weeks after the Vatican’s chief prosecutor, Gian Piero Milone, revealed that other such investigations are also underway and said that the Vatican is “determined” to prosecute such crimes.
“The inquiries underway are in their preliminary phase, and are conducted conscientiously, with the greatest discretion, out of respect for all the persons involved,” Milone said.

Amenta’s sentence from the Tribunal of Rome does not rule out the possibility that he could also face either criminal charges or canonical sanctions before a Church court.
The outcome in the Amenta case comes at a time when Vatican prosecutors are also looking into charges against Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, a former official of the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., who faces charges in Canada after allegedly using a computer in Windsor to download and
distribute pornographic material, including child pornography.
The charges against Capella were relayed to the Vatican embassy in Washington by the U.S. State Department, and Capella was recalled to Rome to face a Vatican criminal probe. According to reports, he’s currently living under a form of house arrest at the Collegio dei Penitenzieri, the same location where Archbishop Józef Wesołowski, another Vatican diplomat, died in 2015 after facing charges of child abuse during as assignment in the Dominican Republic.
Amenta is one of 22 “auditors,” or judges, of the Roman Rota, and was appointed to the position by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in 2014. Though the Rota can hear disputes involving any aspect of Church law, the majority of its caseload is devoted to annulment procedures from around the world.
Prior to his current assignment, Amenta had served as a lawyer in Italian ecclesiastical tribunals, as a university professor of Church law, and as a judge in the tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome for several years.
From 1996 to 2012, Amenta also served as an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
“Those were 15 years in which I was able to come to know the unique and complex world of the Roman Curia, and where I was able to learn the practice of the law,” Amenta said in a 2013 interview.

ARTE L’Église face aux scandales pédophiles

Arte 20 -21 -2 
Arte 20/21 -2 

Indringende documentaire over misbruik vanavond op Arte

maandag, februari 19, 2018

Frankly speaking...

To keep you informed of meetings, activities and developments related to the Royal Commission regular updates will be posted here by the staff and members of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council

National redress scheme a slow train coming
Francis Sullivan 16 February 2018

The slow train that is national redress continues to chug along. Another COAG meeting and another disappointing outcome for survivors, whose hopes have been pinned on the redress scheme. Even with the Prime Minister cranking up enthusiasm and urging the states to get on board, the COAG meeting was a fizzer when it came to real commitments from our political leaders.

No wonder victims and survivors are sceptical. The Royal Commission’s recommendation for national redress has been known since September 2015. Yet it was only in the middle of 2017 that the Commonwealth rolled its sleeves up and began designing the scheme. The state governments have kept their powder dry and still do!

By July a scheme of

Press Release of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors


Pope Francis has confirmed Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap. as President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] and named sixteen (16) members to this advisory body, including nine new members.

The new members are: Prof. Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Ethiopia); Sr. Arina Gonsalves, RJM (India); Hon. Neville Owen (Australia)  [crispina   TJHC]
Ms. Sinalelea Fe’ao (Tonga); Prof. Myriam Wijlens (Netherlands); Prof. Ernesto Caffo (Italy); Sr. Jane Bertelsen, FMDM (UK); Ms. Teresa Kettelkamp (USA) and Mr. Nelson Giovanelli Rosendo Dos Santos (Brazil).

The seven returning members are: Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco (Philippines); Bishop Luis Manuel Alí Herrera (Colombia); Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ (Germany); Prof. Hannah Suchocka (Poland); Sr. Kayula Lesa, RSC (Zambia) Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS (South Africa), and Mons. Robert Oliver (USA).

Cardinal O’Malley stated: “Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has given much prayerful consideration in nominating these members. The newly appointed members will add to the Commission’s global perspective in the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. The Holy Father has ensured continuity in the work of our Commission, which is to assist local churches throughout the world in their efforts to safeguard all children, young people, and vulnerable adults from harm.”

The Holy Father has chosen these eight women and eight men from a multi-disciplinary field of international experts in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from the crime of sexual abuse. Representatives from several new countries will now offer their insights and experience to the Commission, reflecting the global reach of the Church and the challenge of creating safeguarding structures in diverse cultural contexts.

Victims/survivors of clerical sexual abuse are included among the members announced today. Since the Commission’s foundation, people who have suffered abuse and parents of victims/survivors have been members. As has always been the Commission’s practice, the PCPM upholds the right of each person to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly or not to do so. 

The members appointed today have chosen not do so publicly, but solely within the Commission. The PCPM firmly believes that their privacy in this matter is to be respected.

As decided by the founding members at the September 2017 plenary, the new PCPM membership and staff will begin its term by listening to and learning from people who have been abused, their family members, and those who support them. This “victim/survivor first” approach continues to be central to all the Commission’s policies and educational programmes. The PCPM wishes to hear the voices of victims/survivors directly, in order that the advice offered to the Holy Father be truly imbued with their insights and experiences.

The opening session of the April plenary meeting will begin with a private meeting with several people who have experienced abuse. The members will then discuss various proposals to foster on-going dialogue with victims/survivors from around the world. Discussions have been underway for some months with a view to creating an “International Survivor Advisory Panel” (ISAP), a new structure shaped by the voices of victims/survivors and building on the experience of the Survivor Advisory Panel of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission in England and Wales.

Baroness Hollins, a founding member of the Commission, has chaired the working group to research and develop a proposal on the ISAP and will lead the presentation to the April plenary meeting. 
(crispina: niet herbenoemd )
The goals for this panel include studying abuse prevention from the survivor’s perspective and being pro-active in awareness raising of the need for healing and care for everyone hurt by abuse.

The specific task of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is to propose to the Holy Father best practice initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults from the crime of sexual abuse and to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches for the protection of all children, young people, and vulnerable adults. Inculturating abuse prevention and protection into the life and action of local churches remains the PCPM’s future goal and greatest challenge.

Over its first four years, the PCPM has worked with almost 200 dioceses and religious communities worldwide to raise awareness and to educate people on the need for safeguarding in our homes, parishes, schools, hospitals, and other institutions. The members would like to thank all those who have embraced this call and to thank the Holy See for supporting and encouraging these efforts.

For more information onthe PCPM members,current and founding,andon the work of the Commission,visit our website (now available in English, Italian and Spanish)at:

vrijdag, februari 16, 2018

1 -3-3-4-5 klits klats kladdere

Zaterdag 17 februari 2018 - 21.20 uur - NPO 2

Alleen op de wereld
Adriana, Rita en Bob. Alle drie zijn ze rond de tachtig jaar. En alle drie komen ze uit verscheurde gezinnen. Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog werden ze opgenomen in een weeshuis of kindertehuis. De verhalen verschillen in detail, maar niet in teneur. De kinderen van toen voelen nu - ruim 70 jaar na dato - nog steeds het gebrek aan liefde. Andere Tijden laat zien hoe treurig het gesteld was met de jeugdzorg in de periode voorafgaand aan 1945.
 Bekijk en lees meer over weeshuizen in Nederland:
- Propagandafilm kindertehuis, 1932
- Vier dames herinneren het weeshuis, 1986
- Adriana, Rita en Bob over harde straffen, 2018
- Amsterdam krijg nieuw burgerweeshuis, 1960             

en hunne zielen ...als wasch gekneed¨ - Fontaine, Starrenburg, Westerwoudt en het Aloysius

Rapenburgstraat 171 

Dit pand was van 1861 tot 1943 een weeshuis voor joodse meisjes.

"1861 Het grootbrengen van Weesmeisjes behoort tot de goede daden"

Een kwart eeuw later bleek het huis te klein en in 1889

werd het buurpand er bijgevoegd.

"en zij voegden een huis aan een huis toe 1889"

In 1926 werd het huis ingrijpend verbouwd, maar de regentenkamer bleef 

intact; daar is nu het café gevestigd.

Honderden joodse meisjes vonden hier voor korte of langere tijd hun huis.

Op 10 februari 1943 werden de meisjes en hun begeleidsters

weggevoerd en via Westerbork naar het vernietigingskamp

Sobibor gebracht om daar hun einde te vinden.

De gevelstenen en de belettering werden zestig jaar later door de bewoners in 

hun oorspronkelijke staat hersteld.

10 februari 2003 / 5763

The Age What the Church is really worth "...we have what we believe is the most comprehensive media assessment of the church’s wealth anywhere in the world."

The Age

12 -2-2018

Sydney Morning Herald 

How we revealed the Catholic Church's wealth


A tiny new levy introduced in the wake of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires was integral to The Age’s unlocking of a long-held and closely guarded secret - the wealth of the Catholic Church.
The 2013 Victorian Fire Services Property Levy imposed a small tax on the value of all Victorian, properties including those owned by religious institutions.
For the first time, government authorities had a reason to value the thousands of cathedrals, churches, monasteries, schools, offices and residences owned by all churches in Victoria.
Our interest as investigative reporters had been sparked by the church’s horrendous record of child sexual abuse, cover ups and, in particular, its miserly approach to compensating abuse survivors for their suffering.
The wealth of the church in Australia, as it is in much of the world, had long seemed unknowable. Could the treasures it had built up over millennia even be valued?
We had tried to investigate over a number of years, but had run into insurmountable obstacles.
Then in mid-2017 we noticed an old story in a suburban newspaper in which the church had complained about paying the fire services levy.
If the church was paying the levy, it seemed likely that councils were valuing its property. We followed up the story to confirm that professional valuers engaged by councils now routinely valued church property.
It was this knowledge that allowed us to undertake a long and complex investigation, in which we:
  • Identified the many names under which church properties are owned;
  • Made 40 freedom of information (FOI) and other information requests to local councils seeking the valuation data;
  • Pored through church directories and consulted multiple sources across the state to help identify and confirm what were church properties;
  • Gained exclusive access to a database of more than 10,000 properties to help with cross-checking; 
  • Submitted FOI requests for federal government data on the value of church school assets;
  • Combed dozens of financial reports of church entities including internal banks, school administrations, an insurance and investment business, charities, hospitals and nursing homes;
  • Scoured through hundreds of pages of church authority minutes and other records, and
  • Unearthed multiple financial documents in royal commission files.
After initial success with a small pilot run of FOI requests to councils,The Age hit two major research hurdles: lawyers and the church itself.
Local councils, who seemed increasingly anxious about upsetting the church, sought advice from specialist FOI lawyers. Many decided they could not, or would not, release the data we needed.
In the case of the Melbourne City Council, senior officers chose to consult the church about the FOI and the possible release of values for often historic, inner city properties. Acting on the advice of the church, the council then refused to release it through FOI.
We entered extensive negotiations about other ways the council might find to release the information.
Melbourne City Council was not the only one. Negotiations with councils took months and included warnings from some that they would take of legal action to withhold data. Eventually, however, most co-operated.
Only four refused to provide the information: Cardinia, Mornington Peninsula, Baw Baw and Swan Hill shires.
After much wrangling, we put together a database of more than 1800 properties owned by the church in Victoria, taking in most of metropolitan Melbourne and key regional cities including Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
We then painstakingly worked through it, often identifying properties that had been missed, and returning to the councils for additional information. Slowly we compiled a database that we were confident was the basis to calculate the value of the church’s property assets in Victoria.
From there we were able to extrapolate, using conservative assumptions and detailed data about church congregations, the number of schools, parishes and the like, to estimate the value of church assets for the rest of Victoria and, ultimately, Australia-wide.
As a result we have what we believe is the most comprehensive media assessment of the church’s wealth anywhere in the world.

The Age

12 -2-2018

Catholic Inc. 
What the Church is really worth

The Catholic Church in Victoria is worth more than $9 billion, making it the biggest non-government property owner in the state and much wealthier than it has admitted in evidence to major inquiries into child sexual abuse.

A six-month investigation by The Age has found that the church misled the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by grossly undervaluing its property portfolio while claiming that increased payments to abuse survivors would likely require cuts to its social programs.
Figures extrapolated from a huge volume of Victorian council valuation data show the church has more than $30 billion in property and other assets, Australia wide.
Based on these figures, the church is clearly the largest non-government property owner, by value, in the state, and close to the largest in Australia, rivalling giant Westfield, with its vast network of shopping centres and other assets.

The church also has extensive non-property assets including Catholic Church Insurance and its own internal banks – often known as Catholic Development Funds – which have total assets of several billion dollars, including more than $1 billion in Melbourne.
And it has other investments, including in superannuation and telecommunications. A church-owned fund manager has more than $1.4 billion under management.
Asked specifically to nominate a value for the assets of the church and its associated entities, Melbourne archdiocese communications director Shane Healy said such information was “not available”.
Results from the investigation come in the wake of the royal commission, and four years after the tabling of the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into abuse.
They raise serious new questions about the church’s decades-long bid to avoid or minimise compensation payments to abuse survivors.
The royal commission reported that payments averaged just $35,000 under the Melbourne Response, the compensation scheme established by the then archbishop George Pell in 1996, a total of $11.3 million to 324 survivors of child sexual abuse.
In 2015, the Melbourne archdiocese paid $39 million - more than three times the total compensation amount - for new premium offices, the heritage-listed Industry House in East Melbourne, near St Patrick’s Cathedral.
“These figures confirm what we have known; there is huge inequity between the Catholic Church’s wealth and their responses to survivors,” said Helen Last, chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation, which supports abuse survivors.
“The 600 survivors registered for our foundation’s services continue to experience minimal compensation and lack of comprehensive care in relation to their church abuses. They say their needs are the lowest of church priorities.”
Healy said the church's meeting the claims of survivors whose complaints of abuse were upheld was “amongst its highest priorities”. He said that since that report the church had paid an extra $17.2 million to survivors.
The Age’s investigation also calls into question the privileges the church enjoys, including exemptions from nearly all forms of taxation and billions of dollars in government funding each year to run services - $7.9 billion for its Australian schools alone in 2015.
It involved obtaining property valuations from 36 Victorian councils, including most of the Melbourne metropolitan area, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, many under freedom of information.
It identified more than 1860 church-owned properties with “capital improved value” (land plus buildings) of just under $7 billion.

What they’re worth

Browse the gallery below to see the value of some of the church’s most iconic properties.
Source: Council valuation
While the property portfolio features many churches, presbyteries, schools and hospitals, it also includes offices, residences, car parks, conference centres, tennis courts, mobile phone towers and a restaurant.
The church would find it difficult to realise the value of St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne, but a large proportion of its properties can be bought or sold, and smaller churches and other properties regularly are.
The Age has used the property and other financial data to extrapolate to wider Victoria, and nationally, arriving at a conservative estimate of more than $9 billion in Catholic Church-owned wealth for the state, and more than $30 billion across Australia.

The church is notoriously secretive about, and protective of, its wealth. Church leaders have repeatedly publicly underestimated church assets and resisted greater financial accountability.
In 2013, the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations requested on notice details about church assets from Archbishop Denis Hart and his executive director, Francis Moore.
The Age can reveal that, despite the committee writing to Hart and Moore reminding them of their obligations to the Parliament, the information was never provided.
“The value of the church’s assets is a question that remains unanswered,” said Liberal MP Georgie Crozier, who chaired the parliamentary committee. “It is a question I would still like answered.”
“It appears,” Ms Crozier told Cardinal George Pell in 2013 in his appearance before the inquiry, “that the leadership within the Catholic Church has been misdirected and geared towards the protection of the church and its assets”.
Asked about the value of church assets Pell responded: “One, I do not know. Secondly, it would depend a bit how you define them — you know, what value is there in a church building?”
The Melbourne archdiocese was again quizzed about its assets by the royal commission in 2014.
This time it provided a report of its main financial arm, the Roman Catholic Trusts Corporation, which valued its properties in the Melbourne archdiocese at just $109 million.
This, despite it owning hundreds of schools, churches and other assets.
In fact, The Age investigation has found the archdiocese owns about $115 million in property in the working-class, south-east suburban Melbourne municipality of Greater Dandenong alone.
The fine print of the report reveals the properties disclosed to the royal commission were valued at “historical cost” – that is the amount paid for properties when they were originally acquired, often in the 1800s or early 1900s.
Many, presumably, would therefore be valued at nothing, because they were government land grants. The fine print discloses other investments in shares, convertible notes and what appears to be commercial property of $72.9 million.

Healy did not respond to a question about whether it had grossly undervalued the property assets of the church.
He defended the use of historic cost accounting and said it was approved by its auditors. But he confirmed the archdiocese insured its property on commercial - not historic - terms.
Catholic Church finances are complicated by an ancient, disaggregated structure that has allowed church leaders to sidestep questions about overall wealth, and made it notoriously difficult for abuse survivors to identify a defendant to sue for damages.
The church includes 28 administrative dioceses and dozens of religious orders across the country.
But the Catholic church also often presents itself as a single institution.
In an internal research paper on employment published in November, the church is described as “one of Australia’s largest employers” with a staff of 220,000 people across 3000 agencies.
Many researchers have attempted to estimate the wealth of the church in Australia and globally, but the efforts have been stymied by a lack of reliable financial data.But in 2013, in response to the Black Saturday bushfires, the Victorian government introduced a fire services levy that applied to all landowners including, for the first time, churches. Properties affected have to be valued to ascertain the appropriate levy.
In evidence to the royal commission, the church repeatedly warned that boosting compensation payments to victims could lead to cuts to social programs.
Mr Healy said the church had borrowed money to pay sex abuse survivors “which will be repaid from asset sales’’ and the church would continue to meet the cost of claims from its own resources rather than parish assets.
“As a significant contributor to society the archdiocese will continue to fund programs that support the vulnerable and needy and meet its legal and reporting obligations to the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission) and other regulatory authorities to which it is subject,” he said.

How we did the calculations

  • Obtained council valuation data for 1860+ properties in 36 municipalities through freedom-of-information
  • These valuations totalled $6.9 billion in capital improved value in church-owned property.
  • The data is now two years old so we assumed a highly conservative increase in property values of the consumer price index (CPI) since then.
  • We used conservative assumptions to extrapolate for 41 rural councils and two outer metro councils to arrive at more than $7.7 billion in church-owned property in Victoria.
  • The Church in Victoria has other significant assets including more than $1 billion in deposits in a Church run-bank to arrive at total wealth of more than $9 billion.
  • We extrapolated the property assets of the church in Victoria across the nation by using a church database of the number of parishes, schools, social welfare, hospitals and nursing homes in each state.
  • We then used conservative assumptions to arrive at total property wealth of between $25.7 billion to $29.6 billion.
  • We also detailed the non-property assets of a number of national church entities (such as insurers, hospitals) totalling more than $4.3 billion.
  • We arrived at total Catholic property and other wealth in Australia of at least $30 billion.