The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has focused more public attention on the Catholic Church in Australia than on any other organisation subject to this investigation. It is a cathartic moment for the Church. Public disillusionment and a deep distrust within the community about the way the Church has handled clerical sexual abuse cases could prove more damaging – or more transformative – than any findings from the Commission itself. This book examines the public discussion around the child abuse issue and its construction as a problem of Catholicism. It considers what the Australian Catholic response to the greatest crisis in its history will mean in the long term for: • the Australian Church’s credibility, • the reputation of its schools, hospitals and welfare organizations, • and for its future cultural and political influence.
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