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Lawyers claim Pell inquiry damaged by media leaks


As the head of the inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by Sydney Archbishop Dr George Pell considers his findings, the legal teams acting for both sides are assessing the damage caused by leaks to the media.

The lawyers acting for the respective camps who make up the inquiry agree on at least a few points - leaks to the media have been damaging to all parties, and a complete release of transcripts from the closed hearing could enable members of the public to reach their own conclusions.

Richard Leder, a lawyer acting for Archbishop Pell, is in favour of releasing the transcripts.

"The Archbishop has nothing to hide and he would have no objection to the full transcript being released," Mr Leder said.

Lawyer Peter Ward, acting for the complainant, claims leaked transcripts reported in a Melbourne newspaper last week have delivered an injustice to his client.

"If prejudicial partial release has prejudiced my client, perhaps then it would be better if all the transcripts were released," Mr Ward said.

It is not known when the head of the inquiry, Alec Southwell QC, will deliver his findings.

SOURCE
ABC


CARDINAL EXPECTS VATICAN WILL GRANT US CHURCH WAIVER TO ENACT HARD-LINE SEX ABUSE POLICY

An American cardinal said yesterday he expects Pope John Paul II will grant the US Church a waiver from church law so it can implement its new clerical abuse policy without conflicting with canon code.

The comments by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who was in Rome on Church business this weekend, bolster suggestions by senior Vatican officials that the Holy See was leaning toward accepting the policy on an experimental basis.

American bishops adopted the policy in June after a wave of sexual abuse allegations against priests that followed revelations that the Archdiocese of Boston moved accused priests from parish to parish. The bishops want Vatican approval so their policy has the full weight of Rome behind them. A rejection would be an embarrassing blow to US bishops who are struggling to restore credibility in the wake of the scandal.

The provisions in the new policy include requiring diocese to remove all guilty priests from church work, and, in some instances, from the priesthood itself.

SOURCE
Boston Herald


CANON LAW GROUP VOTES TO CREATE SPECIAL TASK FORCE ON SEX ABUSE

Members of the Canon Law Society of America voted in their business meeting last week to create a task force to study ways that the group can help the church best address the crisis of sexual abuse by clergy.

The group determined that such a task force would be the best vehicle for studying how the US bishops' norms on abuse, approved in June in Dallas, can be applied within the framework of canon law.

The bishops adopted two complementary documents - the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and "Essential Norms" - as their national policy to fight and prevent child sexual abuse by clergy.

The canon law group's resolution came in the wake of an 8 October "presidential hearing on clergy sexual abuse," a closed-door session in which members discussed ways they might be of help in the wake of abuse allegations in so many Catholic dioceses.

SOURCE
Catholic News Service


NEW JERSEY ARCHBISHOP BANS LAY GROUP

Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark this week banned the group Voice of the Faithful from archdiocesan property as he called the organisation "anti-Church and, ultimately, anti-Catholic."

Writing in the diocesan newspaper, Archbishop Myers said VOTF's true purpose is to undermine the Church's teachings and the authority of bishops by surreptitiously advocating the ordination of women, marriage for priests, and changes in the Church's teachings on sexuality.

VOTF was formed this year in a wealthy suburb of Boston in response to the ongoing scandal of clergy sex abuse. A few thousand members attended the group's first convention in the US summer.

Other bishops who have banned VOTF from diocesan property, although some of the bans are not complete, include Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Camden, New Jersey, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York.

SOURCE
Catholic World News

LINKS
Leaks force decision on Pell inquiry (The Advertiser 12/10/02)
No absolution for defaming clergy (The Courier Mail 12/10/02, payment required
Pell accuser reacts to 'selective leaking' (11/10/02)
Pell case outrage (Herald-Sun) (payment required)
Complain for gain (Herald-Sun 10/10/02) (payment required)
Outrage over leaking of Pell inquiry transcript (Sydney Morning Herald 10/10/02)
Complaint lodged over Pell inquiry leak (ABC)
Vatican response to Dallas policy due next week (9/10/02)
Vatican expected to back US bishops on abuse strategy (25/9/02)
US Conference of Catholic Bishops | Restoring Trust: A Response to Sexual Abuse | Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (US Bishops)
Vatican set to pronounce on US bishops' abuse strategy (23/9/02)
Rome expected to reject Dallas norms (National Catholic Reporter)
Canon Law Society of America | Statements Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Some Clergy
Voice of the Faithful


14 Oct 2002