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Tasmanian Archbishop's plea to accept Monsignor's guilt

Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has released a statement stressing that while Monsignor Philip Green will not be serving a prison sentence for sex abuse, Catholics must be careful not to minimise the seriousness of what has happened.

"Everyone, including all Catholics in this Archdiocese, must accept that Philip Green committed the offences which he acknowledged in court with his plea of guilty," Archbishop Doyle (pictured) said in the message to all Tasmanian Catholics that was quoted in the Mercury newspaper on Wednesday and read in churches last Sunday.

The paper describes Green as "Tasmania's second most senior Catholic", and said he was held in such high regard that some Catholics have refused to accept his guilt.

The guilty plea, and a three-month suspended jail term, came as a result of an incident in 1977 when Green indecently touched the man as he was comforting him over the death of his sister.

Critics have accused the church of failing the victim, charging Archbishop Doyle with being slow to take action against the man who has been his childhood friend and close associate all their lives.

The scandal, which emerged in the media in 2003, led to a campaign against Archbishop Doyle, calling for him to resign over his handling of the scandal.

Plea on Green's guilt (The Mercury 14/12/04)

Archdiocese of Hobart

Suspended sentence for Tasmanian monsignor (CathNews 10/12/04)
Tasmanian priest on sex charges (CathNews 10/6/04)
Politician urges Hobart archbishop to step aside for inquiry (CathNews 10/11/03)
Tasmanian archbishop's remorse for complaints handling (CathNews 30/10/03)
Tasmanian archbishop backed on sex abuse stance (CathNews 27/10/03)

Pope sacks paedophile priests (BBC 16/12/04)
US bishops praised for efforts in overcoming sex scandals ( 16/12/04)
Mahony's testimony in sex scandal clashes with earlier statements and reality (LA Weekly 17/12/04)
Pope dismisses two Irish priests ( 16/12/04)
Decision over sex abuse charges expected today (Ballarat Courier 16/12/04)
2004: Clergy sex abuse fallout and debate on Catholics in politics (Catholic News Service 14/12/04)

17 Dec 2004