Voice Speaks on Clergy Sex

By Russell Robinson
Herald Sun [Melbourne]
June 24, 2003

AN influential pressure group formed in the wake of the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal is to set up in Melbourne.

Voice of the Faithful, which has more than 30,000 members across the US, believes the problem of pedophile priests is just as great in Australia.

It is critical of the Catholic church's attempts to shield perpetrators by moving them around unsuspecting parishes.

President and co-founder Jim Post is in Melbourne this week.

He will address a public meeting on Friday night, at Melbourne University's St Mary's College.

Mr Post told the Herald Sun yesterday Voice of the Faithful not only supported abuse victims but also priests of integrity.

He is pushing for more lay Catholics to be on committees set up to review the credentials of relocated priests.

"Hundreds if not thousands of children ought never have been abused if the predators had been taken out of circulation right away," he said.

Mr Post, 59, said he was aware many Australians were dissatisfied with the church hierarchy's approach to abuse by clergy.

For the former Washington lawyer, his work with Voice of the Faithful is honorary. He is a professor in business management at Boston University.

The group was started just a year ago by 25 people in the Boston archdiocese who were alarmed by the extent of clergy sex abuse and the church's attempts to hide it.

The exposure of the scandal in Boston made world headlines and saw the US's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Bernard Law, resign as archbishop.

The Boston archdiocese has cleared the way to file for bankruptcy protection to limit compensation claims by more than 450 victims of pedophile priests.

Mr Post, a father of three, said the church often saw victims as adversaries rather than members of the community.

"In the church there is a legalistic and risk management approach that says where you can contain the cost of a complaint, you can contain the problem," he said.



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