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February Letters to the Editor


Readers share their views and thoughts following the acquittal of Archbishop Philip Wilson in December.

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Not guilty

It is a wonderful outcome that Archbishop Wilson has been found ‘not guilty’ of the basic and raw charge of being a liar.

Sadly the outrage that this legal saga has engendered will not go away for a long time. Meanwhile it is up to prayer and time for the public at large to forget or forgive both the Catholic Church and the Archbishop. The complainants in particular will find this challenge extremely difficult.

What next?

The Catholic Church of laity, clergy, bishops, deacons, Religious and the Curia of Rome need to take stock and act. They all need to understand fully the role that Philip Wilson has played in an event which evolved into a serious attack on him and the Church. He, as an individual, has been the vanguard of defence of a veritable non-defendable situation of Church child abuse. By inference and in the minds of many, he has been labelled a child abuser.

The next step!

The door is now wide open for ‘Our’ Church to step up to the plate, recognise the need to act, utilise the skills of a brilliant man, and restore his dignity.

He is not a liar and he is not a paedophile.

He is a huge asset for the Church at large.

Rome cannot afford to be myopic leaving him languishing in an Australian backwater. Rome needs to feel the rancour and personal vilification that has been experienced by a first-line soldier. Put the man to work in a job where he can excel.

Utilise the asset.

Graham Spurling, Brighton


Prayers answered

I read with interest your editorial regarding the outcomes suffered by Archbishop Wilson. Thank God he has had charges dropped and is a free man.

If the Church is foolish enough to become a ‘legal entity’, these ignorant social and political law suits and besmirchings will never stop. The media absolutely revel in ‘bashing’ any Church or individual Christian without any regard for fair or responsible reporting.

Christ’s Church consists of all believers in Him. ‘We’ are not guilty. ‘We’ did not do any of those things. ‘We’ do not ever condone those things but ‘we’ did not do them. ‘We’ are not guilty!

If I were you, my primary emphasis would have been the powerful Lordship of Christ in overruling this heinous process and making sure His innocent servant became a free man.

My second emphasis would have been to publicly champion the fact that God answers prayer today, answered Philip’s prayers and answered the prayers of the thousands who were praying for his vindication, including mine.

My third emphasis would have been aimed at the Pope for his acquiescence in not defending publicly his own senior man at the start of this episode. The history of popery in defending the innocent has been appalling. Fortunately I am a student of Church history, not Church mystery.

Peter K Lugg, Goolwa


Trial justified

Bishop Greg O’Kelly’s 2018 Christmas message and the editorial of The Southern Cross December 2018 seem to be at odds with Pope Francis’ 2018 Christmas Message to the Vatican Bureaucracy (Sunday Mail December 23 2018).

Bishop O’Kelly speaking of the acquittal of Archbishop Phillip Wilson said:

“How pleased and relieved we are for Archbishop Wilson. He has had to endure such a drawn out and painful process that was not at all justified.”

Pope Francis, on the other hand, said that 2018 had been ‘a year of devastating revelations of sexual misconduct and cover-up around the globe has shaken his papacy and caused a crisis of confidence in the Catholic hierarchy’.

He added: ‘Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes.’

How then can Bishop O’Kelly say that the five year trial of Archbishop Wilson was ‘not at all justified’?

Jenny Brinkworth in her editorial ‘Seeking justice in the public sphere’ trivialised the media coverage of the trial.

Pope Francis, on the other hand ‘thanked the media for giving them (victims) a voice’ and issued a stark warning to abusers: ‘Convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice’.

Clearly, Bishop O’Kelly and The Southern Cross are out of step with Pope Francis’ views on the need for the Church to ‘spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice’ any Church official who has covered up abuse. Rejoicing in the fact that Archbishop Wilson was acquitted is no excuse for saying that the five year trial was a ‘drawn out and painful process that was not at all justified’ and that the media coverage of the trial was some sort of vendetta aimed at bringing down Archbishop Wilson.

Ray Ham, Grange




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