When the Australian government announced that it would establish a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Cardinal George Pell, Catholic archbishop of Sydney and Australia’s most senior Catholic, objected to his organisation being singled out by the media, claiming that the Catholic Church was not “the only cab off the rank” when it came to the sexual abuse of children.
Leaving aside his turn of phrase, on the face of it, his objections seem to have merit. Day by day it becomes clear that there have been incidents of sexual abuse in almost every type of institution which has any dealings with children. Catholic priests, protestant ministers of every description, Jewish rabbis, schoolteachers, Scout leaders, dance teachers, youth workers, television personalities – the list goes on and on. The Catholic Church is certainly not alone.