The Only Example

This was written from a number of sources in Oceania.

Richie JS.

The only example that was given to the Synod delegates was ….. “bad behaviour at a Vestry meeting” fifteen years ago.

Perhaps a better example would have been domestic violence, the high-level coverup of sexual abuse, or the bullying and silencing of abuse victims.

What is this about? Read on.

Jeremy Johnson (then the Chancellor of Christchurch Diocese) was explaining proposed
drastic reforms to Title D – the canons that govern the maintenance of professional standards amongst ministers of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, and the associated formal complaints process. He was appearing in a video to be played to General Synod 2020 participants so that they could provide feedback, and eventually vote, on the proposed changes.

It was the most significant overhaul of Title D that had occurred in decades. It was also
2020, the year when the pandemic and its associated chaos began to rage. General Synod had been moved to Zoom and the proceedings shortened from a whole week to a single day, both unprecedented moves. Yet the reforms were urgent – the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care had already begun, and it was already abundantly clear that Title D wasn’t fit for purpose. It needed to be changed. As Jeremy rightly pointed out,

‘Title D is important externally because it is through our disciplinary processes that we can inspire public confidence in our Church.’

Consequently, a video was made to inform Synod participants and explain the proposed
reforms – which can still be viewed on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpHTaNfrUkE

In the video, Philip Richardson Archbishop of Tīkanga Pākehā, Jeremy Johnson and Bruce
Gray the Chancellor of Auckland Diocese all appear to explain the changes. They give an
assurance that the changes had been worked on for a very long time, and all implications
thoroughly considered. They explain how the reforms would improve the process, and how
the improvements would be real and impressive.

Prior to the 2020 Title D reforms, a bishop had the power to throw out any Title D complaint for any reason (as per clauses C6.4, D1.1.2). A bishop had the power to ignore the findings and recommendations of any Title D Determination Tribunal (as per clauses D3 8.1, 9.1).

A bishop was responsible for resolving complaints at the same time as being responsible for the pastoral care and support of the defendant. In most cases, a formal complaint could not be laid against a bishop unless it was supported by at least four clergy (as per Canon II 3.1).

It is not hard to see what problems could, and did, arise from such a system.
There is no question that the decision to move all complaints to a centralised Ministry
Standards Commission (much like the Roman Catholics’ National Office of Professional
Standards) was a good move. In the more serious cases, complainants are now guaranteed
legal support, and – in theory – complaints are dealt with by those with the expertise to do so.

But to many survivors of clergy abuse, these reforms are utterly worthless and insulting.
Why? Because of Canon III.B14 – the Limitations Clause.

It is completely new, and very few Anglicans are aware of it. Even many of the clergy who attended the General Synod in 2020, who had voted on the reforms, were totally unaware that they had voted the new Limitations Clause into existence. Jeremy Johnson, Bruce Gray and Philip Richardson never actually mentioned the Limitations Clause in the entire 30-minute video. Jeremy did hint at it at one point (at about the 11:45 mark) when he said

the reforms that had been introduced provided ‘greater clarity on certain issues such as
when complaints can be summarily dismissed.
For example, if an issue arose too long ago –
say, 15 years – and somebody’s complaining about somebody’s behaviour at a Vestry
meeting. In that case, of course, the complaint would not necessarily proceed.’

That was the entirety of what was said on this point. Just one example – bad behaviour at a Vestry meeting 15 years ago. And from the way Jeremy phrased it, it seemed very much flexible – ‘the complaint would not necessarily proceed’ – so perhaps it still could?

The fact is that this is an entirely misleading characterisation of the effect of the Limitations Clause. It goes much further than what one would think from hearing the example that Jeremy gave.In fact, the Limitations Clause prevents almost all complaints about conduct that occurred more than three years ago. If the Registrar gives special permission, that can be extended up to six years, but no further.

The only real exemption from this time limit is for complaints regarding sexual misconduct committed by a minister complained against after he/she received a bishop’s license.

There is no exemption for complaints regarding domestic abuse, or any other form of abuse such as physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual.

There is no exemption for complaints regarding the coverup of abuse, enabling of abusers, or intentional silencing of abuse victims – not even in cases of child sexual abuse.

What this means in real terms is

A minister or priest may terrorise and beat his wife and children for years on end.

A bishop can knowingly ordain a paedophile, and just move him to a new parish whenever a complaint is made.

A priest may bully an abuse survivor into silence, refuse to pass on their complaints and tell them that the abuse was their fault.

A licensed lay minister may knowingly write a dishonest reference for an abuser so that he can be ordained.

And no one could possibly lay a formal complaint against those ministers – if it happened more than three to six years ago. That is the true effect of the new Limitations Clause.

Before the 2020 Title D reforms, despite all the deficiencies in the process, it was possible for any abuse complaint to be laid down and considered. Now that has been taken away.

Now it is quite literally impossible for a Determination Tribunal to be convened to consider the cases outlined in the above paragraph – no, not even if a bishop should so wish to do.

There may be those who wonder whether this sort of offending really happens in the New
Zealand Anglican Church, but be assured that it most definitely does. The testimonies that
survivors have given to the Royal Commission have made that clear.

Moreover, I have been in contact with a number of abuse survivors who state categorically that they have been excluded from making complaints concerning the abuse they have suffered solely because of this new Limitations Clause.

So the vital questions are:
What is the point of improving a complaints process whilst simultaneously excluding
many, many abuse survivors from accessing that process?
Is this going to ensure a safe Church?
Is this going to ensure that the Church is trustworthy in the eyes of wider society?

In the video discussed above, Jeremy Johnson said that the most important factor affecting
the timing of these Title D reforms is the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

In December 2021, the Royal Commission released their interim report on redress, entitled
From Redress to Puretumu Torowhānui. https://www.abuseincare.org.nz/our-progress/reports/from-redress-to-puretumu/

The Royal Commission condemned the Church’s track record of dealing with abuse and
wrote about ‘processes to suit the institutions’ own needs, not those of survivors, and as a
result, have added to survivors’ harm and trauma.’

Interestingly enough, the Church’s recourse to ‘limitation defences’, when faced with complaints in the civil law courts, was also specifically condemned. And now the New Zealand Anglican Church has inserted just such a clause into Title D!

Also contained in the redress report was testimony from Archbishop Philip Richardson, in
which he explained the 2020 Title D reforms. He agreed that the reforms were by no means final, and even listed some problems with the new Title D that would need to be amended in further reforms. However, no mention was made of the Limitations Clause – in fact, as far as is known, no representative of the Church has mentioned the Limitations Clause to the Royal Commission at all.

Nor is there any mention of it on any provincial and diocesan safeguarding websites. It is as if it does not exist – and cannot actually be discovered unless someone happens to read
through the fine print of Title D canons themselves, or if someone lays a complaint and is
informed that their complaint must be ‘summarily dismissed’..

Another important document that is relevant to this is the Anglican Church’s Submission on Redress to the Royal Commission. This document is available to read on the Anglican
Church’s website:


It is a form-based submission, containing answers to preset questions. Many of the
questions are about a proposed independent redress scheme that would allow abuse survivors to seek redress outside the institution in which they were originally abused.

Question 3 asks: ‘What types of abuse should be included in a redress scheme?

For example, a) physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse? b) neglect? c) all of those types of abuse? d) only one or some of those types of abuse? e) only abuse that results in serious mental or physical harm to the survivor? f) other types of abuse?

The Anglican Church’s answer is:
‘The redress scheme should cover physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual and psychological
abuse and neglect which results in serious mental or physical harm to the survivor.’

Therefore, if the Anglican Church in New Zealand agrees that the independent redress
scheme should receive complaints about all these forms of abuse, why is it that the Anglican Church itself has just changed its complaints process to do the exact opposite of this?

Almost all complaints that could be made to such an independent redress scheme, would not be accepted by the Anglican Church’s Ministry Standards Commission – unless such offending occurred within the last three to six years.

This is incredibly important.
The independent redress scheme is about providing redress to the survivor. But regardless of how it is set up, it would have no authority whatsoever to impose any disciplinary penalties on Anglican ministers.

That form of accountability is in the hands of the Anglican Church,and it alone. And in the Anglican Church, the avenue for imposing disciplinary penalties is the Ministry Standards Commission, and Title D. As Jeremy Johnson rightly said,

Title D should show ‘that we do believe very much in what we say and that we try and act consistently and with a high regard for the care of all people,as the Gospel calls us to do.’

But there is no consistency between the Title D Limitations clause and the Anglican Church’s submission on Redress.
Make no mistake.

There are ministers who are currently in active ministry in New Zealand who have (allegedly) perpetrated abuse and/or enabled abuse. There are ministers who (allegedly)have covered for abusers and silenced survivors. There are ministers who are accused of such things and have faced no consequences whatsoever.

And they are immune to Title D complaints, because of the Limitations Clause that was
approved in General Synod 2020.

This is known to survivor advocates because survivors’ networks have been approached by a number of abuse survivors in this situation. In a number of cases, the abuse survivor in
question actually reported the offending at the time but was silenced. And now their
complaint will not be heard because too much time has passed – ‘too much is more than three years.

The New Zealand Anglican Church is not the first Province to go through this experience of
canonical reform, to bring professional standards processes up to modern standards. Of
course, the Australians went through their own Royal Commission.

What most people do not know about is the gruelling process of canon law reform that followed, and the set up of systems to maintain professional standards and ensure accountability for ministers.

Valuable lessons can and should be learned from the Australian experience.A real-life example of this was in the news recently:


On December 13, 2021, in Australia Archbishop Roger Herft was defrocked. His offending?
While he was Archbishop of Newcastle, he repeatedly and knowingly failed to act on
complaints against ministers regarding the sexual abuse of children. Many children were put at risk and harmed as a result of his willful and deliberate inaction.

You can read the Episcopal Standards Board Judgement on Mr Herft here. https://anglican.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/ESB-Determination-Herft-8-December-2021.pdf

But there is more – before Roger Herft was a bishop in Australia, he was Bishop of Waikato.
Did he act similarly when he was Bishop of Waikato?
Did he cover for paedophile priests there too?
That is not known, but if he did, he would now be immune to any Title D complaint
regarding such behaviour.

If Roger Herft had acted in such a manner when in New Zealand, no formal complaint could be laid against him, solely because of the new Limitations Clause. But because he did what he did in Australia, he was held accountable. That in itself should give pause for reflection on what was done at General Synod 2020.

There are other similar examples. In recent years the case of Maurice Dagger was in the news in New Zealand – a man who indecently assaulted a thirteen-year-old girl who was in his care.


He was later ordained, despite the fact that his offending was well known to the bishop and to the Diocese. Dagger’s victim laid a complaint in December 2019 – before the 2020 Title D reforms came into force when Dagger was still in ministry. Had she tried to do so more recently, no Title D complaint could now be laid against any of those involved in Dagger’s selection and ordination.

Many other stories such as this have been, and are being told, to the Royal Commission, and when the independent redress scheme is set up, more of those stories will be made known.

The now virtually unknown Limitations Clause may well appear in the news media. Because some of those abuse survivors will say to the independent redress panel –

I tried to lay a complaint with the Anglican Church, but they would not hear it, because of their new limitations Clause.”

This should give pause to anyone who identifies as Anglican. What has been written above shows the nature of the problem? How to solve it?
The only way to solve it is via the same means it was originally created in the first place, – an amendment to the Title D canons must be made at General Synod/Te Hinota Whānui.

General Synod occurs only every two years and was scheduled to happen during 7-12 MayIt has now been postponed to an as-yet-unannounced date. Meanwhile, the very same people who put the 2020 reforms through are now working on further amendments to Title D.

Abuse survivors have raised the issue of the Limitations Clause with them – and indeed they raised the issue before the 2020 reforms were put through, but that was not heeded. To survivor groups, no assurance has been given that the Limitations Clause will be amended, only that it will be “taken into consideration”.

What can you do about this?
You can educate your clergy and lay synod representatives regarding this issue, and make
sure your feelings are known about it. You can email your Diocesan Chancellor.

You can email the Archbishop’s office. (Email addresses and contact forms can be found by searching here: https://www.anglican.org.nz/Directory

Anyone who has the privilege of attending General Synod can use their voice to press this
issue. Everyone can demand that every abuse-related complaint against an Anglican minister must be heard.

Everyone can demand that every Anglican minister must be held accountable via Title D for any abuse, any coverup of abuse, any enabling of abuse and any silencing of abuse survivors.

Anything less is a betrayal of the Gospel to which we are called to be witnesses.

The challenge now is: what are you going to do about it?

A prayer for survivors of abuse in the Church:

This prayer is from the Statement from Archbishop
Kay Goldsworthy AO, Archbishop of Perth
responding to the deposition from holy orders of Mr Roger Herft former Archbishop of Perth,
Bishop of Newcastle, and Bishop of Waikato Aotearoa/New Zealand.

God of healing and hope,
we pray for victims of abuse,
and especially for people whose trust was betrayed
by members or leaders of the Church.
Thank you for the strength and courage of survivors
who have spoken up,
telling their stories and calling for justice.
May their journeys of suffering
be transformed by your grace
into journeys of healing and restoration,
through the love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
++Kay Goldsworthy, Archbishop of Perth


Comment from another source

Canon IIII.B14 the Limitations Clause is a direct attempt to severely limit any abuse complaints in the New Zealand Anglican Church & renders any positive statutory reform as useless window dressing. It needs to be rescinded.

It is clearly evident that for many survivors of abuse that it often takes years to make a formal complaint, because of the psychological damage and circumstances of that abuse. Statutory Limitations have been wound back in many jurisdictions because they recognise this very fact.

Canon IIII.B14 is institutional protection. Further reforms of institutions cannot ignore past victims. This Canon must go.



Picture Credit:  Richard Tommy Campion.

Wilson Case Day 1

Systemic Opinion

( On the Systemic Defences of the Institutions)

It seems the institutions have at their core a self-replicating gene that signals a defensive response every time their reputation is attacked and buffeted in the Cyclone of devastation when Survivors and their legal advocates together with the Media and the tsunami of Public opinion ,threaten the bedrock foundations of their  house of straw.

The Legal Advocates, the PR spinners with the bucket loads of Institutional wealth propping up their desiccated primordial toxic sludge of defensiveness produces a bacterium  slime mould of dirty tactics that display  an absolute cynicism and contempt for the public and any skerrick of ethics  or morality.

Every dirty rotten trick that a gold-toothed rat faced Legal Attorney can scrape from the bottom of a toxic barrel of dissimulation minimisation avoidance and outright misrepresentations of the truth  can be used, all in the defence of their particular brand of Religion.

The Business as Usual approach by the Institutions, lip service and a quick dodgy paint job and bogged up panel beating does not hide the fact that the Vehicle is a virtual write off.

After four years of the Royal Commission a mountain of evidence 6000 Private Testimonies, 1000 Witness statements, thousands of hours of transcripts, years of research the institutions when threatened  go back to status quo ante.

They have learnt bloody nothing. What they have learnt is the best possible ways of minimisation deflection and avoidance.

Concepts such as Truth Justice compassion for victims come last. What comes first is a Titanic struggle to protect at all costs the reputation of the Churches, they’re scarred battle weary complicit Leaders with  the complicit Laity that allowed the Systemic Abuse of Generations of Children to be ignored.


Personal Opinion on the Revelation of New Medical Evidence on the First Day of a Trial into Charges of  “Failure to Report Knowledge of Child Sexual Abuse to the NSW Police” Sec 316A 316B Crimes Act NSW. AB Philip Wilson Archbishop of Adelaide.

At the Risk of Sub Judice, all I can say is that for many Survivors the Medical diagnosis of AB Wilson in its timing and its eleventh-hour presentation at the doors of the Court give the appearance of a massive failure in Public relations and honest open communication.

The eleventh hour contested Medical evidence in regard to Capacity of witnesses could be seen to be problematic.

AB Wilson’s Guilt or innocence is up to the Magistrate  to make a  fair verdict or if the Medical evidence is compelling then he may have to discontinue the matter.

Sadly Day One was for  many Survivors across Australia  difficult traumatising and bitter.


Newcastle Herald “The Alzheimers working diagnosis on the eve of a Landmark Catholic Church Trial. Joanne McCarthy. NH Herald

9 News     Archbishop Philip Wilson fails to front child sex abuse concealing trial

ABC ONLINE  Philip Wilson: Adelaide Archbishop accused of covering up child sexual abuse has trial delayed


.            OPINION of AUTHOR Richie JS.



The Forgiveness Debate from Private Discussion Area of Survivors and Friends

(Image Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius (sp)  Forgiving the Barbarians from Wikipedia)


Preparations for Survivor /  Institutional Reparations/Reconciliation  Mediations 2018.


In long form  5-day intensive Mediations and Conferences with Institutions, grappling with “Forgiveness conceptual frameworks”, while the Institutions are still in denial obstructive and Continuing Legal battles, could be a pointless exercise in futility.

Understanding of the conceptual framework may assist in a “healing process” but has to be survivor driven. It also allows for demolition of avoidant “forgiveness before “reconciliation” arguments for long-term planning.

Clear boundaries and a non-negotiable bottom line have to be established to wall off the peacemaking and forgiveness requirements within theological mindsets when oppositional to Criminal justice and reparations requirements.

Without a clear boundary, mediations may collapse causing a  further flow effect when trying to achieve the goals required for achieving positive change (win the strategic ground ) in an internal institutional hearts and minds campaign.

One of  the “Survivors and Friends Foundations” possible plans in advocacy for internal change within institutions based on the Royal Commissions investigations and findings are   proposed meetings  with institutional leaders and survivor groups and individuals 

A long form reconciliation and reparation series of meetings 


Forensic  Psychological methods are used  to reduce resistance by exposure to the evidence of case studies and face to face testimony from Survivor advocates.

It would include hard-edged Forensic details of multiple crimes and include deidentified testimony from Professionals in Criminology, Forensic Pathology, Coronial Reports and exposure to multiple survivor and advocate accounts over 16 – 24 hours in total followed by negotiations towards Change management. over another 16 – 24 hour period.

A  5-day commitment in a Secluded environment with Professional support and ongoing communications and debriefing.

The secondary wounding experiences when the institutions ignored rejected disbelieved intimidated and failed to provide support compassion care redress and restoration will be the theme also of these proposed Seminars.

Combining survivors and institutional members where all have equal power helps to require institutional insiders to  “face the past”.

This also means with Churches the sometimes toxic forgiveness concepts will need to be revealed analysed and discussed from a secular perspective.

With offenders, trying to force a “Restorative Justice” framework into victim-offender justice processes is from a main stream criminological perspective absolutely fraught with danger.

It is also re abusive to force a possibly outmoded criminological and forensic model onto victims where “Restorative Justice” initiatives are used for the benefit of offenders.

It seems sometimes that well-meaning people’s “intellectual ecosystems” can make survivors  lived experience into a “theoretical academic, heartbreakingly theological exercise”.

A trauma-informed victim centred response is now possible due to the investigations of the Royal Commission into Justice responses.

Without the active intervention of the Royal Commission, some “Restorative justice ” principals have been co-opted by institutional power brokers to hide perpetrators and manipulate survivors.

Victim/survivors heartbreakingly have experienced terrible interactions with sometimes “pro-offender” institutional protectionist Restorative Justice acolytes as shown in the evidence of the RC across numerous case studies.



Kate Gleeson

Gleeson, Kate — “The Money Problem: Reparation and Restorative Justice in the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing Program” [2015] CICrimJust 4; (2015) 26(3) Current Issues in Criminal Justice 317
“Discussing reparations, Walker distinguishes between orthodox ‘corrective justice’ (in which compensation to make good a victim’s loss is central, conceptualised in terms of a ‘metric of loss’) and restorative justice, which also emphasises material and practical amends that address victims’ losses and needs (2006:384). But, ideally, reparations in a restorative framework should also play instrumental and symbolic roles in repairing relationships, including by ‘adding weight’ to gestures such as apology (Walker 2006:385). Approaches to justice for historical clerical child sexual abuse may have the most to learn from restorative treatments of historical injustice, such as mass political violence. Increasingly, discussions of reparations reject corrective justice focused on metrics of loss as the appropriate primary category for reparations involving groups or large numbers of individual victims of injustice. Instead, it is argued that reparations should emerge in a restorative context from a practice of communication centred on the needs and understanding of the victims as well as ‘wrongdoers’ deepened understanding of the nature and meaning of the victims’ loss and of the nature and extent of their own responsibility’ (Walker 2006:385). Walker cautions that reparations must be politically feasible, but ‘neither can they appear as cheap buyouts or fail to address victims directly and to validate their experience of suffering and specific experience of injustice, lest they add further insult to moral and material injury’ (2006:380).


Walker Walker MU (2006) ‘Restorative Justice and Reparations’, Journal of Social Philosophy 37(3), 377–95.

Any continued attempts at RJ in the context of historical clerical child sexual abuse should aim to abide by established standards and consider the role of reparations foremost in the context of RJ aims and ideals, which operate according to an ethos fundamentally different to corrective justice. However, so long as capacities for civil justice remain stymied in Australia, the ‘voluntariness’ of any compensatory or restorative program will be corrupted and undermined.”


Walker Walker MU (2006) ‘Restorative Justice and Reparations’, Journal of Social Philosophy 37(3), 377–95.



A Chaplain an Elite School a Timeline and an Ethics Centre. WA DOP Hutchinson Trial. Systemic. Anglican.

TW Graphic Evidence.


On a Sunday 8 am mass in 2013 a member of the Professional Standards Board a Registered Clinician in the State of WA stated ” Frank is my Parish Priest and he has a right to a defence. Two hours of a mans life should not cost him his career, he only met the victim once for two hours. 

“I am sorry what happened “( referring to another case not Sheehan/ Hutchinson)  …… “back then we didnt know what we were doing.”

I replied ” This will not go away and it does not end here. I have always kept going and this is not over.”

This was after being asked to leave a Mass in a Church as I may ” shout out something in protest” Fr Sheehan was said to have had a ” difficult week” and does not deserve to be “challenged”.

This person had a direct conflict of interest and remains on a Professional Standards Board.

From Perth Now Article

As reported in The Sunday Times, a former Christ Church Grammar School student last week told the court he had been sexually abused by Mr Hutchinson and had told the school’s chaplain and director of ethics Frank Sheehan.

The former student alleged Canon Sheehan told him to “forget about it and put it behind me and … that I need to get on with my life”.

Mr Sheehan is expected to be called as a xxxxxx witness later this week.

Sheehan’s response as written in consultation with Media PR Firm

OVER recent days I have found myself the subject of claims in media reports about the trial of a former teacher.
Given my role as a provider of pastoral care, and the need to maintain the trust of the community whom I serve, I feel compelled to set the record straight.
In 1991, the father of a man who was a former student of the School contacted me. He spoke to me about concerns a former music teacher, Lindsay Hutchinson, had abused his son.
The father told me of another former student who, like his son, had also been assaulted by Hutchinson more than five years before. I will not name the father because in doing so I would identify his son who rightly deserves to have his privacy protected.
The father was, in effect, acting as an advocate for both his son and this other former student, seeking to have Lindsay Hutchinson prosecuted for his abhorrent behaviour.
I fully supported the efforts to expose Hutchinson, and the father asked me to meet with this second former student. I understood the specific purpose of my meeting with the young man was to provide pastoral care in the sure knowledge that others were acting to ensure the perpetrator was rightly brought to justice.
At the time, the young man was in his early 20s and I met with him at my home, rather than my office, specifically to protect his privacy. My wife was upstairs at the time. It is this man who has brought the case against Lindsay Hutchinson, which resulted in the convictions today.
During the meeting it was obvious that he was in great mental anguish and understandably, extremely angry about his treatment by Hutchinson.
My firm recollection is telling him first and foremost that I believed he was telling the truth and reassuring him that he had done the right thing in speaking out.
I was especially conscious of the need to offer a listening ear and do whatever I could to help this stricken young man regain his dignity and sense of worth.
We talked about the fact that, given the horrific nature of his ordeal, his mental recovery would take time and I anticipated the need to be available to provide ongoing support.
At no time did I ever say or infer that he should forget about what had occurred to him.
On the contrary, I noted that he had shown great courage in speaking out about his ordeal. The meeting ended with the young man thanking me for listening to him and we discussed talking again soon.
I had a phone number by which to set up another meeting but despite repeated attempts thereafter, I was unable to speak again to the young man.
Over the next two months, I made repeated attempts to call the number with no success. Attempts via other avenues also failed to draw any response.
Throughout this period, it was my understanding that the father of the other former student was in discussion with police so as to actively expose Lindsay Hutchinson for his disgraceful crimes. I was prepared to support the victim in any way.
That was all I heard of the matter until three years ago, when the police came to see me and asked for my assistance in their investigation of complaints made by this former student about Lindsay Hutchinson.
I provided every assistance possible to police and was willing to be called as a prosecution witness.
My heart goes out to the man at the centre of this terrible ordeal and any other former students who suffered. They rightly deserve our every support and sympathy.
I had hoped to be provided the opportunity to confirm my discussion with the victim in 1991 as a prosecution witness during the trial of Lindsay Hutchinson. Despite my willingness to appear, I was not called to give evidence.
My life over these past 28 years has been dedicated to the pastoral care of students and the wider community, and I am anxious to ensure that others will accept that I speak only out of a desire to protect the integrity of my role, in order to be allowed the privilege of continuing to serve.
The sexual abuse of vulnerable people by those in authority is something I abhor. I have never and will never hesitate to actively assist in providing support to victims in exposing such horrible crimes.
Canon Frank Sheehan

Originally published as Canon Frank Sheehan responds to claims

christ church



Hutchinson. Music Teacher.

Teacher jailed for 12 years for sex offences

Natasha Boddy, The West Australian April 19, 2013, 12:34 pm

A former music teacher at an exclusive boys school has been jailed for 12 years for the perverted and depraved sexual abuse of a teenage student thirty years ago.

Lindsay William Hutchinson will have to serve at least 10 years behind bars after he was sentenced this morning for 15 offences relating to the sexual abuse of a teenage student in the 1980s.

The victim, who was a student of Hutchinson’s at Christ Church Grammar School, cried and hugged family and his supporters after the sentence was handed down.

He declined to comment as he left court this morning.

Hutchinson was the music teacher at Christ Church Grammar School from 1981 to 1985 and an organist at St George’s Cathedral.

The District Court was told the victim was sexually abused as a 13 and 14-year-old schoolboy on a school camp, country hotel rooms on music tours, the St George Deanery and Hutchinson’s own home.

District Court Judge Patrick O’Neal said the offences, which had included violent rapes and oral sex, showed a “high degree of perversion and depravity” and Hutchinson deliberately chose to work at boys’ schools so he could sexually abuse boys.

Judge O’Neal said Hutchinson’s offending was brazen, premeditated and involved a breach of trust.

He also said Hutchinson facilitated opportunities to be alone with the boy he wanted to abuse.

During sentencing submissions this morning, State prosecutor David Davidson argued Hutchinson sexually abused the victim with no remorse and for his own sexual gratification.

Defence lawyer Mara Barone said it was accepted Hutchinson was in a position of trust and authority when he sexually abused the victim.

“This is a grave, serious and repeated breach of trust,” she said.

She said a psychiatric report found Hutchinson was at a “low to moderate risk of reoffending” but Judge O’Neal rejected this, saying he believed the risk was far higher.

Ms Barone argued the court should impose a sentence which would take into account that prison would be slightly more onerous for Hutchinson because his family was in Victoria and because of his age.

The court was told Hutchinson abused a schoolboy while working at a British school in England’s north and that he was convicted in the 1990s of molesting a male student in South Australia.


Music teacher guilty of raping young teen

  • Kaitlyn Offer
  • PerthNow
  • February 14, 2013 8:27PM

A FORMER Christ Church Grammar School teacher has been found guilty of the repeated sexual abuse of a teenage student more than two decades ago.

It took a District Court jury today four hours to convict Lindsay William Hutchinson, 63, of the sexual abuse crimes, including rape, from 1983 to December 1985.

Hutchinson, a former music director at the prestigious school, was charged with six counts of carnal knowledge against nature, six charges of indecently dealing with a child, and three charges of unlawful and indecent assaulting a young student at the school between 1983 and 1985.

He had initially pleaded guilty to some of the charges but denied the more serious allegations of rape and oral sex with the teenager, which happened on school camps, on school grounds, in St George’s Cathedral deanery in Perth and Hutchinson’s home at the time.

During the trial, Hutchinson admitted he sexually abused the victim to gain the “experience” but repeatedly denied he had intercourse.

He told the court his first sexual contact with the victim was at a music rehearsal camp in 1984 when he walked from the cottage he was staying in – with his wife and baby daughter – to the dormitory where the boy was asleep on a bunk bed, where he masturbated him.

Hutchinson said he left the room and came back 40 minutes later to do the same, before carrying the boy to a staff bedroom where he again masturbated him before taking him back to his bed in the dormitory.

He admitted to also masturbating the boy on the second night of the camp but denied doing any other sexual acts.

When asked by his lawyer Mara Barone why he abused the boy, he said he “found him sexually appealing”.

The victim told the court last week he did not know how to stop the man’s abuse.

“I didn’t know what to do,” he said.

The victim, flanked by his wife, parents and supporters, was in court to hear the verdict this afternoon.

Hutchinson is due to be sentenced on April 5.

Featured paragraphs from Journalist Emily Moultons Report for The Sunday Times 13 April 2013.

The fact Hutchinson went on to abuse another boy after he left Perth is something that troubles his WA victim, more so because when he was 21 he finally found the courage to reveal his ordeal to Christ Church Grammar Schools chaplain Canon Frank Sheehan in 1991, a few years before (the Adelaide incident).

The man and another former student who was also allegedly abused by Hutchinson, and that boys father, approached the school with their claims. But no action was taken by Christ Church.

Canon Sheehan has said that he thought the other boy’s father was pursuing the matter with police to expose Hutchinson.

But the WA victim believes Cann Sheehan, who he claimed during the trial told him to “forget about what happened”- which Canon Sheehan denies – should have done something

He believes it could have prevented the Adelaide boy from being abused.

He also questioned why Hutchinson was able to move from each school without raising a red flag.



“No Action has been taken either by the School or the Diocese to investigate further these allegations in regard to F Sheehans failure to report these matters either to the CCGS School Board, the Police or the Diocese. The school instead chose to believe Canon Sheehans denials. The possibility exists that if the School had taken action against Canon Sheehan choosing to validate and believe the survivors testimony to the District Court made in sworn evidence the Insurance policy that covered the School would have been invalidated and the school itself would have had to use its own Trust Funds to pay any claims. At the same time no action has been taken by the DIocese or the Professional Standards Board to examine these claims or the risk factors that F Sheehan presents. F Sheehan is still in active Ministry and no sanction has been made. “



Melbourne Press release shows unconscious bias in one paragraph. How to do some Epic fails in PR. Anglican Church CS 52 42 .



AB Freier’s spinner or Media Officer needs some hasty education in transformation Renewal and Facing the Past Building a Healthy Future.

For those following the Royal Commission, this Press release speaks volumes

Dr Freier said his prayers and those of the Church were with Roger Herft and his family, the clergy and people of the dioceses of Perth and Newcastle, and all those affected by clergy sexual abuse.”  (1)

The order of prayers is such a wonderful example of the “unconscious bias” that seems to be affecting the Church. Sadly these were Philip Freire’s own words quoted.

Interestingly sources say Senior Leader Herft is moving to Melbourne after his “retirement” due to his performance in the Hot Zone of the Royal Commission.

Advocates survivors and many sympathetic allies within the Houses of Laity and Clergy will be lobbying hard to make sure Herft is placed immediately on the National Register after Final Findings are released into case Study 42. This should effectively de-license him until new Statutes are written to commence Deposition Hearings.

For those interested in the cross-examination of Roger Herft by His Honour Justice Peter McLelland and SC Naomi Sharpe, the transcripts are part of CS 42 the Anglican Church Case Study available from the Royal Commission website. (2).

For those interested in the cross-examination of Philip Freir by His Honour Justice Peter McLelland, the transcripts are part of CS 52 the Anglican Church Systemic Case Study.(3)

The spectres of State Charges for complicity in Case Study Forty Two ( Leader R Herft Leader Appelby amd Leader Holland )  hang slowly in the wind which can have a bitter chill like the chill that went down a few Leaders spines when they observed their collegiate Senior Leaders carefully scripted Defence strategy in the Box quitely demolished, as the rumble of  a freight train of forensic cross examination and public disdain roared down the tracks.

Next Leader to be put through some PR examination is …………  who in their Synod Statement Church Media  Article and Sermons attempted to do damage control by avoiding the issue … stay tuned on that one as the timing of those revelations are dependent on some other matters that are hidden in the dust raised in the aftermath of the Newcastle revelations that may never see the light of day or be revealed publicly.

The Diocese of Antarctica is currently needing a number of Leaders. Sounds like a great place for some selected …. to chill for a bit.


Picture Credit Richard Tommy Campion. Antarctica Series. “Icebreaker”.

Top Image under Cartoon. “Gold Coast Series” Richard Tommy Campion.

(1) http://tma.melbourneanglican.org.au/news/archbishop-herft-stands-aside-101016

Primate Philip Freier’s  Press Release.


compassion for all caught in the storm of the Royal Commission.




Rev Dr Peter Stuart Dissolving the Parish Council at Newcastle Cathedral 11 Sept 2016 ( CS 42 Anglican between Hearings August and November)

newcastle anglican cathedral



Official Link Anglican Diocese of Newcastle


In a few minutes we will move across the road to the Hall where two experienced consultants, Gill Fletcher and Tim Dyer, will facilitate a structured process to help us understand what needs to be done to move forward as a community of faith. We will find them to be people of deep faith with amazing wisdom, sensitivity and skill. I am confident that we will be grateful for their ministry among us.

I recognise that there are people here who have come with anxiety or anguish about the conversations that will unfold. It has taken a lot to be here. I suspect that many of you are asking, ‘why is this happening?’ Some of you are personally disappointed and angry with me

[because in response to a request from the Dean I have dissolved the parish council].

You see me as having hurt your friends. Others of you are upset and concerned about the actions of fellow parishioners. In reality, we won’t finish today with every question answered or every matter resolved. My hope and prayer is that we will feel we have made a healthy start and that we are able to do more work together in the coming months.

In the next few minutes I am going to touch on some things that may bring to the forefront of your mind some difficult memories. If you need to distract your thoughts for a moment lookaround at the beauty of the windows or take in afresh the artistry of the banners.


It is not my plan to dwell on any one thing for too long.

Much of the context of our conversation today is affected by the case study underway into our life by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

I know that the Commission’s work has generated many thoughts and emotions for people across the Diocese. Some people are bewildered, angered, and saddened. There is information that has come out recently that is new to them and very confronting.

There are other people who are thankful, relieved and grateful as they see light being shone on what has been their darkest experience.

The Commission will resume its work in Sydney from 16 November.

Like many others, I have been involved in assisting our Church to respond to the Royal
Commission over the last 3½ years. This is the third case study for which I have prepared formal responses. I was also part of the leadership teams of the Dioceses of Tasmania and Adelaide that held independent inquiries which reported in 1998 and 2004.

Over the last 20 years, we have learnt a lot about how we as a church should respond to the reality of abuse in our midst. For me, the most significant and recurring learning has been that the survivor of abuse should be placed first in our thinking. They are to be to us like the lost sheep and the lost coin of this morning’s gospel. Our passion and compassion should be for them. As I speak today I recall the names, faces, conversations and writing of these brave people.

As I have grown in my understanding I have learnt something of what is means to place the survivor first. These women and men have the right to be believed, the right to be treated with dignity, respect, sensitivity and understanding, the right to privacy and confidentiality and the right to exercise control over decisions affecting them. In a vivid sense these practices become markers of our character or signposts to our values. They communicate to present and future children that we have learnt and that we want them to be safe.


Our church, the Anglican Church of Australia, has been on a journey of change. By 2004 we were deeply aware of our failures. We said through our General Synod, “We apologise unreservedly to those who have been harmed by sexual abuse perpetrated by people holding positions of power and trust in the Church. We apologise for the shameful way we actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse. We are ashamed to acknowledge that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.”

Over the succeeding decade, we have done many things to make our church safer, to try and assist survivors, to prevent abuse from happening or recurring, and to respond appropriately and fairly to those accused of abuse and negligence.

In 2009 all of this came very close to the Cathedral. People with deep connections to this
community stood accused of professional misconduct including child abuse. I lament that the processes of parish recovery that we are now using across the Diocese were not in place at that time. Some of the deep separation, lack of knowledge and anguish we are struggling with may have been avoided, at least to some extent.

For a variety of reasons people here, including some key leaders, knew and gave greater weight to what was said by those who stood accused.

People here questioned the integrity of the diocesan processes even when fellow parishioners were bringing their considerable professional skill to those processes.

The loudest lay voices of this community said or seemed to say that survivors would not have first place in this community’s thinking.

It is vital that we realise that there are survivors of sexual abuse and those who support them who do not see this community as safe or as one that will welcome them. There are survivors of sexual abuse and those who support them who do participate here but at times do so with great difficulty.


The Cathedral is the ‘mother church’ of the Diocese. It receives strong support from the
parishes and is a place that Anglicans and people in the wider community look to as a spiritual home.

It is of great concern if this is a place that some or many do not see as being safe or as a community that is not caring for survivors of abuse. This is particularly profound when there has been so much harm done within the church.

The Cathedral is seen as being out of step with a Bishop and his Diocese as they seek to
acknowledge the reality of abuse and address a culture that permitted the abuse to happen.

Those who lead your parish and exercise public ministries on behalf of the parish must be people who embrace the safe welcome, belief and support of survivors as an urgent and profound responsibility. These practices are markers of our character and signposts to our values. They communicate to present and future children that we have learnt and that we want them to be safe.

For nearly a year Gill and Tim who are working with us today have been engaged in offering support to this community and the Cathedral Council. As part of that work they have heard a desire of the Council to be reconciled with the bishops who because of some very harsh sentiments expressed to them do not feel welcome in this space. The sharp division between  our Bishop and this community was made plain in the letter that leaders from this community sent to the Royal Commission which questioned the Bishop’s credibility and integrity.

Ref Exhibit XYZ CS 42.

The pain that is present now is not the end of the story for we are a Christian community. Our call is to recognise the crisis we are in and set our faces to addressing it. If we do this work well none of us will be the same at the end. In the power of the Spirit, we can experience the deep transformation and healing of the reign of God.

For me, there are some significant steps we can take. First, we can acknowledge that no one needs to be left behind or excluded. No matter where we began we can be on a journey together. Together we can RECOGNISE the pain that is present, we can REPENT of our part in causing that pain and we can set about REPAIRING the harm that has done when and where that is possible.

In many ways, the Cathedral community can fashion this journey and how long
it must take.

This Cathedral is a sacred place for me but also one of anguish.It is not without some
considerable anxiety that I am speaking with you and spending time in the meeting that will follow.


I am committed to my part in and pray that together we may shape a healthy future.

Ref 1 ( to be added )

Click to access Bishop-Peter-cathedral-address-11-sep-2016-final.pdf


Christchurch_Cathedral_Newcastle 2




Redefining risk factors across a spectrum of Theological positions .




Sectarianism Clericalism, From Evangelical to Liberal Anglican to Anglo-Catholicism. Risk Factors for Abuse. Redefining risk factors across a spectrum of Theological positions


Advocacy and the Royal Commission has produced some stark statistics. For survivors outside the Church, this debate may be articulating ” how many angels are dancing on the heads of a pin” but for those interested in the Systemic issues surrounding risk factors the Royal Commission hearings in Case Study 50 Roman Catholic Church and case study 52, Anglican Church produced some startling results.

Firstly here is Profesor Patrick Parkinson speaking on Anglo-Catholicism at Case Study 52.

Parkinson on Anglo-Catholicism

5 PROFESSOR PARKINSON: The response in different dioceses
16 and over generations has taken many different forms. But
17 one of the observable features of the reports which have
18 been done – and I particularly focused on Adelaide and
19 Brisbane because we have reports of what had happened in
20 those dioceses going back some years – what one sees in
21 that is a very strong culture of protection of the clergy.
22 In Adelaide, those who challenged the issues, those who
23 tried to raise the issues above the parapet were attacked
24 for doing so. I think we have heard from Bishop Thompson
25 some very similar patterns in Newcastle.
27 That culture of protection of the clergy, that culture
28 of dealing with things internally in a way that makes
29 people discouraged from going to the police – that
30 self-facilitates abuse, because somebody who has a tendency
31 or an orientation towards the abuse of children is going to
32 make a risk calculation. What happens if it is disclosed?
33 If the risk of consequences is low, one is much more
34 encouraged to do that than if the risk of consequences is
35 high. So the culture of the church, in terms of how it
36 will deal with these issues, if it comes out, is itself
37 causative, or at least facilitative, of some sexual abuse
38 in church communities.

.17/03/2017 (260) 26651 PANEL 1.1

PROFESSOR PARKINSON: I fear saying something
20 controversial, but it’s not the first time I have ever done
21 so. If you look at the issues in the Anglican Church,
22 there are three dioceses which stand out. They are
23 Brisbane, they are Adelaide and Newcastle. And then there
24 is the CEBS data, which is a separate set of issues,
25 I think, with particularly high figures in Tasmania and in
26 Adelaide.
28 Now, that is quite a clear pattern, and it raises
29 issues as to whether there are patterns in
30 Anglo-Catholicism which are in some ways similar to the
31 patterns in Catholicism.
33 It must be remembered that the Church of England was
34 not, in some ways, a break from the church of Rome. It was
35 in terms of governance, but the Church of England continued
36 the traditions and ways of governance of the church prior
37 to the reformation, but for some significant areas in which
38 reform theology came in. So, for example, the theology of
39 the mass or holy communion is different in the Anglican
40 Church, and there are other differences. But, essentially,
41 the Church of England was a continuation of Catholicism
42 within the boundaries of the British Isles, and the
43 Anglo-Catholic tradition in the church has continued that
44 parallelism.
46 So I draw attention to that because I do think that we
47 see in these figures a disparate picture of child sexual
1 abuse by clergy in the Anglican Church of Australia.
MS FURNESS: Perhaps you can make that a bit clearer for
4 us. You have referred to there being a pattern. What is
5 the “pattern” in respect of those first three dioceses?
7 PROFESSOR PARKINSON: Others may be better able to comment
8 but, essentially, one would think of Brisbane and Adelaide
9 as being largely Anglo-Catholic in their orientation, their
10 churchmanship, as we say; Melbourne, rather mixed; Sydney,
11 rather solidly evangelical; Newcastle, again,
12 Anglo-Catholic; Tasmania, mixed, but has had a history,
13 I think, of a strong Anglo-Catholic tradition – that’s
14 changing. The others I can’t comment.
16 It’s an issue. It’s an issue.

Parkinson on the Culture of Clericalism

21 PROFESSOR PARKINSON: I think that when you start drawing
22 attention to the parallels with the Catholic Church –
23 obviously, celibacy is not an issue in the Anglican Church,
24 but clericalism is, and the work I have done on this area
25 does suggest to me that certainly in Adelaide, where there
26 is a big inquiry, to some extent in Brisbane where we have
27 the benefit of an inquiry about 12 years ago, that one sees
28 similar patterns of clericalism or protection of clergy in
29 those dioceses. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened
30 elsewhere, I’m sure it has. But I see some parallels.
32 MS FURNESS: There has been a deal of evidence about
33 clericalism in the various Catholic hearings, but just for
34 the purpose of this hearing, can you define what you mean
35 by “clericalism”?
37 PROFESSOR PARKINSON: Different people give different
38 definitions, but what I’m drawing attention to is
39 a theological belief system that the clergy are different
40 from the laity; the clergy are in some sense brothers, in a
41 male sense, have responsibilities to each other, and there
42 is a distinction between the clergy and the laity.





Trying to distill Professor Parkinson’s groundbreaking work and draw conclusions from it can allow for a degree of Secularism or Sectarianism to enter into the conflict zone surrounding this issue.

In my discussions across the spectrum of Theological positions within Anglicanism from different group members, I have pushed a strong Advocacy line that “Anglo-Catholicism” is a Risk factor for abuse.

I perhaps should instead say “Clericalism”. I still have concerns about extreme Anglo-Catholicism which is now only found in isolated pockets of the Anglican Communion.

On Evangelicalism and Sydney Diocese again if a Culture of ” Clericalism” develops within Evangelical wings of the Church then this too may be a risk factor.

GS suggested this concept

“To reform the Church and gain best practise Child protection   a  critical sectarianism could be replaced with an understanding that those “company men or women” who would rather protect the Church, remain in denial of the Royal Commission findings, and become a reactionary force in the way of needed reform from any branch of the Church are a danger to reform reconciliation and redress.”


In Christian Theology we understand the Church to be made up of many parts making a whole.

In other spiritual and religious traditions, different strands of thought and practise combine together to make a whole.

In Japan Zen Buddhism and other Buddhist traditions combine together with Shinto to make a whole.

In Politics parties and groups combine together. It is only by bringing together different viewpoints do we create meaningful change.

If reformation transformation and renewal is to occur within institutions as a response to the Royal Commission it is vital that we combine together and not divide.

I will still passionately advocate and call out all parts of the whole in regard to the process of change but sectarianism like in Ireland Syria and other conflict zones may not lead to the needed changes required.

The significant data sets on risk factors within “Anglo-Catholic” and “Catholic” theological styles provides evidence that a toxic culture of “Clericalism”, “Denialism”  rampant “disassociation” , extreme lack of any form of “empathy”  or care for Children and the powerless laity by hierarchies in the upper echelons of Institutions has created  a “toxic culture” demonstrated by a cadre of Leaders who in their evidence to the Royal Commission showed that ” I don’t recall”, and “it wasn’t of much interest to me” and other dissembling avoidant responses is callous disregard to all the good honest “Church Workers” and  the Australian public who like Tim Minchin may decide  that those respondent leaders are dishonest “scum”.

Also, risk factors within both Houses of Laity and Clergy remain when alliances to power brokers and reactionary defence mechanisms as demonstrated in Newcastle and elsewhere both in  Catholic and Anglican Churches alienate survivors.

Protective screens are used to deny obscure or minimise the statistics and individual testimony.

With respondent Leaders across Australia looking at internal depositions and external State trials, only properly resourced parish recovery teams and best practise change management within the Executive Leadership teams (often appointed by respondent Leaders) will prevent old guard denialist reactionary elements  frustrating diluting and resisting  the required Legislative changes as well as practice and procedural changes within the institutions.


“Whistleblower insiders” Michael Elliot, John Cleary and Greg Thompson in Newcastle have all commented that legislative change on its own will not effect hearts and minds.

Link to CS42 Transcript and CS 52.

Likewise within the Roman Catholic Church change agents within the Episcopate as well as outside such as Francis Sullivan face daunting opposition from protectionist reactionary elements.

ref AUS Murdoch Francis Sullivan)


The good faithful people who honour an “Anglo-Catholic” tradition in their spiritual journey have been betrayed by the Leaders who chose a  toxic culture of Clericalism over the needs of the victim/survivors their families and the community.


Post Scriptum

Respondent Leader R Herft in a defensive statement to media carefully crafted by the best PR and Legal Team Institutional money could buy stated this to the Media and the Australian Public.

I’ve become aware that the sacred trust that the people of this region placed upon me, I have let them down,” he said.

“I let them down badly.

“[I have] let down the survivors in a way that remorse itself is a very poor emotion to express.”

Roger Herft thanked the royal commission for holding him “personally accountable” during the hearing, which stretched over two weeks in the New South Wales city.

At the time he described how he had developed a “much more realistic view” of the priesthood in recent years.

“I had a very high view which has been questioned within the last several years,” he said.

Respondent Leader R Herft Anglican CS42 PR Statement


The Anglo-Catholic Tradition in Australian Anglicanism Dr David Hilliard
Reader in History, Flinders University Adelaide, Australia.


Parkinson Report  2009 Anglican Church

study of reported child sexual abuse in the Anglican church may 2009 full report

Wikipedia Anglo-Catholicism


Coverage CS42.

Newcastle’s ring of evil: abuse in Catholic, Anglican churches.

HighMass (1)
Adamstown Parish Newcastle ” Anglo-Catholic” Parish in Newcastle where accused deposed “defrocked”  perpetrators worship.
 ( see CS 42 evidence Elliot  Farren and  Appellby CS 42 ) ( links to be uploaded).
Rev Christopher Bird.
SSC  concerning denialist tendencies and protective of  Perpetuators Lawrence Goyette and possibly other unidentified persons of interest. Rev Christopher Bird.
CS 42 Evidence: Michael Elliot Retired Detective and Professional Standards Director Newcastle Diocese states that when investigated in regard to a Safe Ministry Order Rev Bird appeared aggressive hitting a wooden plank from a pew against a Rubbish bin and breaking the plank while staring at Elliot in a confrontational manner. Rev Bird was resistant to upholding a Safe Ministry Order in regards defrocked ex-Priest Lawrence and  Goyette deposed musician.
Wikepedia SSC

“The fortunes of SSC have waxed and waned since the early days of the Catholic Revival, but for its members, it has always been an important source of priestly formation, discipline and fraternity. Priests of the society can be recognised by the small gold lapel cross that they generally wear. On it is inscribed the motto of the society, In Hoc Signo Vinces (“In This Sign Conquer”).

There is also a section of the society, the Pusey Guild, for ordinands and approved candidates for training for the priesthood.[1]

SSC Rule

SSC The Rulebook

“. The Brethren shall do all in their power to support other priests in their ministry, avoiding criticising them or in any other way compromising the priesthood.”

i. The Brethren must love the Church and have a profound respect for her institutions and mission,”

“The Society’s first Object aims at the sanctification of its members”.


Appendix Notes and Research points from Hilliard ” The Anglo-Catholic Tradition in Australian Anglicanism”

Hilliard pp 16 re changes to Diocesan Theological viewpoints

Since the 1950s, as Australia’s links with Britain have weakened, the idea of an English national Catholicism has lost whatever appeal that it had to an earlier generation,

“the new value placed on ‘community’ and spontaneity sits uneasily with the traditional Anglo-Catholic emphasis on hierarchy and formality in worship.’

Hierarchy and formality in worship could be seen as an underlying risk factor or indicative of a possible rise in clericalism.

See CS 50 RCC Tom Doyle. ( link and amplification required)

ED Note Hilliard here is writing on the Anglo-Catholic form within Anglican Churches, not English Catholicism within the Roman Catholic Church which is a minority, given the roots of the Roman Catholic Church since Invasion/ Colonisation, 1788  were predominately Irish before immigration waves 1860 – 2017. ( Ed opinion unsourced).

“New research in history and theology has made it harder
for Anglo-Catholics to be as definite as they once were about such things as the
apostolic succession and the inherent Catholicism of the English Reformation.” (the 1960s.)

Interesting factoid above for a PHD Theology Student . 

The charismatic movement has had a deep influence in the Anglo-Catholic rural dioceses of Bunbury and North Queensland, whereas ‘extreme’ Anglo-Catholicism has flourished only among clergy in the diocese of Ballarat, under Bishop John Hazlewood (1975-93). In
the capital cities since the 1960s many parish clergy and professional
theologians who had been reared in the Anglo-Catholic tradition moved
towards radical theology, while retaining the framework of sacramental religion.
And in the early 1980s Anglican Catholic Renewal, which had been intended to
forge a new identity, was fatally weakened by division among its members over
the issue of women priests. However, the divisions among Anglo-Catholics are no greater than among Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Whatever form it
takes in the future, there will continue to be a Catholic dimension to Anglicanism
in Australia.





“The New Scapegoats” Muriel Porter. Review: Possibly Defamatory “Toxic Sludge” that needs to be refuted. “Do not buy this book”

(written to gain maximum web attention the textual criticism  will be more restrained)

The first paragraph is click bait designed to get this website ranked in Google so as to allow a critical analysis of Dr Porter’s book to gain prominence.


“The New Scapegoats: The Clergy victims of the Anglican Church sexual abuse crisis.” Morning Star Publishing 2017.

Dr Muriel Porter.

Do Not Buy This Book.

“Toxic sludge”, the possibly defamatory exegesis of an “obscurantist denialist” who uses obvious proveable “fake” arguments , self-protecting “smoke screens” in an  attempt to undermine national Professional Standards Legislation.  Ms Porter refights old prosecutions in the light of a bias against so-called “New Puritans”. Heavily slanted  “biased” arguments in  defence of K Slater and other Clergy from Defrocking and other sentences from Professional Standards Investigations.

(written to gain maximum web attention the textual criticism  will be more restrained)

The first paragraph is click bait designed to get this website ranked in Google so as to allow a critical analysis of Dr Porter’s book to gain prominence.


Edited for Legals.


Letter to a New Zealand Friend “The Australian Royal Commission Investigation”

Picture Credit Richard Tommy Campion ( Copyright RTC).

Friday, May 19, 2017


Dear “Wormwood”

The situation in Australia and I imagine New Zealand is that the Institutional Response is so terrible in all aspects it reflects a deep cultural malaise that goes to the heart of the Church. Without all members of the houses of Laity Clergy and Bishops uniting together to make the needed changes and face radical transformation, extreme scrutiny and State intervention is inevitable. The complete structure of the Churches has to be destroyed and bulldozed , the new structure built with transparency and State outside audit with laser like scrutiny built in.

Currently,  the Churches are like the Titanic sinking before the tsunami of Public scrutiny.

A Royal Commission must happen in New Zealand.

You in New Zealand will have the same deep soul searching that has happened in Australia when your Royal Commission is established. When that day  comes the statistics and revelations will be as earth shattering as they are now in Australia.

The suicides and traumatised lives of thousands upon thousands of Survivors and families created a deep volcanic fury within the secular world that has near totally obliterated the last vestiges of goodwill the Churches held in the scant regard of a post-modern populace.

While power corruption and lies are used to defend reputational or financial assets transformation and reformation is impossible.


 The power structure in Australia is in denial. It may take years to change the built in cultural mindsets and twisted theological defence mechanisms possibly decades.  while the temptation of  Clergy or Laity is to minimise, blame shift, obscure and outright deny the truth of 4500 hours of evidence.

Complete cultural change in the structure and theology of the institutions is vital otherwise the small seeds of hope and compassion planted in the dark heart of Institutional protectionism will wither, die away leaving nothing, except the void of empty pews and a blighted leadership defending the indefensible.

All investigations are now being recommended to be done Independently and mandatory state reporting is in place.

The Anglican Church lost six Bishops to adverse findings and the leadership structure has been exposed as fatally flawed. By 2018 the ACA faces deposition trials in four states and likely criminal charges of those complicit in cover up and misprision of a felony in NSW and Victoria.

The Australian Royal Commission has been a world first in its breadth and vigor.

A few good people stand up for Survivors but the reactionary forces are still in place and the intimidation  continues , slashing tyres, stealing household pets, phone calls in the cold hours of the morning.

Investigators have been forced into hiding, moving addresses, the silencing continues.

Whistleblowers and  sympathetic Clergy in certain States are still being intimidated and silenced.

One partner of an Anglican church worker wrote this:

“And the light does shine. Always has. Always will. I love a line from Leonard cohen “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. If only the church hierarchy could understand this, and allow the light to get in rather than being in denial.”

Damon Screwtape






The average age of victims was 11 years old, 75 per cent were men and the average time taken to report the abuse was 29 years.

The Anglican Church says it is ashamed that between 1980 and 2015 there were 1,082 complaints of child sexual abuse, with 22 of the 23 dioceses reporting at least one complaint.

The Diocese of Brisbane (371) received the most complaints followed by the Diocese of Adelaide (155).

Counsel Assisting the inquiry Gail Furness said the number did not include all complaints of abuse associated with the church’s institutions.

“Many survivors face barriers which deter them from reporting abuse externally or to the institution in which the abuse occurred,” she said.


“Not every Anglican diocese has robust child protection measures, with Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies telling a royal commission the lack of national consistency is ‘extremely disappointing’.”


Guest Author XYZ. Reflection on UTAS. Calls for University of Tasmania to act and kick sex offender from PhD studies


Calls for University of Tasmania to act and kick sex offender from PhD studies

A  CONVICTED sex offender and former schoolteacher is central to a complaint made to the State Ombudsman against the University of Tasmania.

The university has now been asked to provide a “better explanation’’ to the Ombudsman as to why it did not terminate the offender’s PhD study following reports to police and the university last year about his conduct in the Unigym.

Tasmania Police said they spoke to the man after receiving two complaints about his behaviour in the gym at the Sandy Bay campus.

The 63-year-old was convicted and jailed last year for producing child exploitation material on Facebook while doing his taxpayer funded PhD.

He had also been jailed in 2011 for maintaining a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 17, being a student in his care at a school, and of possessing child exploitation material.

University deputy vice-chancellor Brigid Heywood acknowledged the university had received expressions of concerns last year about the man’s “presence at Unigym’’.

“Having been made aware of these concerns [he] gave up his membership to the facility and has also voluntarily agreed not to frequent social spaces on campus, such as cafes,’’ Professor Heywood said.

“These measures supplement a university request that he focuses his time on campus only in the facilities where his studies are based.’’

Prof Heywood defended the university’s decision not to terminate his PhD study.

“There is nothing in the university or government rules governing PhDs which precludes [him] from continuing his research,” she said.

“But we have taken appropriate steps and will continue efforts to balance interests across the campus community.’’

Documents obtained by the Mercury reveal an investigation officer from the Ombudsman’s Office issued the university with a please explain this month regarding the man’s “ongoing enrolment as a student”. The mother of the man’s school victim, who withdrew from her university studies because of the offender’s presence on campus, wrote to the university asking why he was not removed and lodged the complaint with the Ombudsman.

“[This is] despite the fact he has been charged and jailed for an offence during his PhD candidature at UTAS, and he has been reported to police for intimidating students,’’ the mother said.

The mother has written to Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, whose department re-sponded, saying the university had discretion in the matter.

“The University of Tasmania is not obliged to continue to provide a student with a scholarship simply because it is funded by the Government and the university has the authority to terminate a PhD student position,’’ the department noted.

Beyond Abuse spokesman Steve Fisher said the university should have terminated the man’s PhD enrolment.

I am absolutely honoured to share VWX s piece. The writing is just fantastic, brilliant and magnificent. It is one of the finest written “Survivor based” pieces I have ever seen.

The article below links to the Tasmanian Mercury Article on the University of Tasmania.



It is fascinating to me that all in a matter of weeks, a select few controversial events in the entertainment and arts industries, though offering no new insight into cultures and practices that long predate them, have been met with such an immediacy and scope of outrage. One of these is, of course, the much debated Hermann Nitsch exhibit planned for Dark Mofo.




Dark Mofo
Pronotional Image dark Mofo ( Courtesy ABC Online )


I am fascinated not so much by the controversies themselves as the very specific, public breed of outrage they have afforded because of the direct, unavoidable nature of the platforms on which they’ve been presented.

The type of outrage I’m referring to is not one born solely out of general, self-realised moral distress (though that may be a component), for it is the product of lifelong conditioning that encourages conformity to the mentality of a larger group. It is thus usually harboured without a second thought, especially given that it is a means by which to steer the blame of widely perceived failures away from oneself and one’s own shortcomings. Consider: the witch hunts driven by the false persecution of heresy in the early Middle Ages, or the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, which was permeated not so much by a strength of political strategy as a gross insistence of moral superiority.

The problem with outrage of this kind, aside from being at the mercy of the frequent and often flippant changes in popular opinion, is it hungrily feeds off and glorifies any and all supporting contributions. Among these are personal claims of oppression and being “triggered” at the hands of the less popular “other”. Such accounts are quick to be classified as evidence of the other’s evil, before their validity is verified. Unknowingly or otherwise, we praise the exaggerated and the false, thereby trivialising the cases that are in fact true and worthy of genuine outrage.

This muddying of the distinction between fact and fiction means that truths lose traction just as easily as lies if they are attached to a cause that is abandoned when public outrage changes course. Think of feminism; one of the most important and worthy causes, now so often misinterpreted because a few self-proclaimed representatives whose public indulgences of personal petty drama have reduced it to a tool of self-promotion, thus pulling focus away from and insulting the truly oppressed.

By disregarding veritable truth and thorough moral analysis, ultimately we create an environment of all or nothingness; pitch blackness against blinding whiteness; founded on false constructs of absolute right and absolute wrong, wherein any healthy questioning is considered the near equivalent to supporting the opposing side. In such a climate we fall into hypocrisy by denouncing the hatred and wrongdoings of the supposed oppressor via an equally unproductive extremism often described oxymoronically as the “good fight”. This too descends into a kind of hatred, the only difference being that it is awarded the seal of acceptability by the forces that dictate the fashionable cause. And so, instead of being viewed as a mutual necessity, success is rendered achievable only if the opposition loses. Very quickly, the goal of unity becomes impossible as the pursuit of progress assumes the form of a competition.

We fiercely reject the arguments of those that threaten our own, yet are so easily upset when they retaliate with equal force. These crippling dichotic cultures of hypercriticism and hypersensitivity do far worse than force a social stalemate: they erode the middle ground that yields the opportunities necessary to forge relationships and effective compromise. Worse still, each is amplified in its ability to stifle progression by a growing tendency to overvalue the average uninformed opinion, at the cost of the lessons offered by wisdom and expertise. The result is such a strength of emotionally-charged belief that we are right, that the reevaluation of how and why we arrived at it dissolves into pointlessness. Reason and objectivity are rapidly exhausted in the face of overbearing zealotry.

And just as we make little effort to truly understand our own beliefs, we make little effort to understand those of the people we disagree with. We surrender ourselves to the conviction that they are simply stupid and ignorant, only to have them accuse us of stupidity and ignorance in return. We descend into futile, senseless games of finger pointing and yelling, yet don’t understand why no one will listen.

The sudden uproar over the idea of a public slaughter of a bull is if nothing else a perfect symbol of our limited capacity to comprehend enduring social failures: “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”. In place of the proposed performance could be a live rape (which has been done before), a scene of domestic violence, a malnourished child of the third world drinking unsanitary water, or any horrific thing imaginable that will continue to happen every day after its time in the spotlight of outrage has expired.

But while outrage is warranted in these cases, it is a useless tool on its own. Because without patience and a willingness to listen and learn from one another, even when the outrage itself dies, the foundations of divisiveness remain, ready to assume the same ruthless modes of defense that have become second nature to us. Each time the gap between two opposing schools of thought grows wider, and the time it takes to assign unquestionable blame to the “other” gets shorter.

For these reasons, I have been wary of sharing articles and posts of this nature too frequently. In the grand scheme of things, I am aware that they are in danger of falling onto the growing heap of “cries for attention”, which become less and less valuable in accordance with the law of diminishing returns.

Certainly, I have shared details of my personal story before, and been humbled by the positivity of many responses. But personal reinforcement, though appreciated, is not what I seek. Isolated reassurance of the individual does not solve the larger issue. Perhaps it is better understood if I put it like this:

Because of the aforementioned problems inherent in classifying right and wrong as absolutes, making progress on social issues isn’t possible if we reduce them to simple matters of “good vs bad”. In doing so they become fixed in a cyclical discourse driven by those who can’t accept the complete innocence of the victim, and in turn those who will write off such people as unhelpful when in reality everyone should be included in the discussion. It’s not that we shouldn’t ask questions, it’s that the questions should be better. To cast immediate judgments is foolish, regardless of the truth of the circumstances. Indeed, the ignorance of rape culture, in particular, is such that it is, in fact, damaging to both sides of the dialogue that fuels it. For example: the persistent need to ask what a victim was wearing not only gives weight to the idea that rape is welcome upon invitation, but implies that all people are animals lacking in self-control who, if faced with the same temptation, would ALL have no choice but to give into a criminally wicked desire. The true evil is not in challenging the victim; it is in accepting the crime.

In my case, for instance, I understand logically it was not my behaviour that caused what happened, but it must be noted that like all “survivors” I am also aware of my role. This is not a cry for your reassurance of “it’s not your fault”; I totally understand that. It would be wrong of me though not to acknowledge that I did bad things too—granted these things are excusable in the context of the bigger picture—but they are still wrong. I have never asked to be absolved of the responsibility I willingly take for all of the lies and subterfuge I carried out throughout the duration of the abuse, which came at the expense of many guiltless people whose pain I cannot claim to know. My actions are ultimately indicative of the impact of a greater corruption.

It is exactly these ethical nuances that offer crucial insight into the depth of complexity of the crime, and the extent of its wrongness. What baffles me still, however, is the refusal to understand and accept this inevitable moral ambiguity, and worse, the use of it as justification for a thing that is unfit for justification in any given circumstance.

And for the record, I guarantee you, whatever you think you would do, whatever “best outcome” you could plan for, has little power beyond the safe confines of an idealistically imagined scenario. That is why I implore people to refrain from making assumptions and entertaining rumours and encourage instead listening to the accounts of those directly involved in a situation. Because they are not attempts to revel in victimhood, they are opportunities dispel confusion.

Worse than the thing itself, is the feeling that my intention of protecting others has been undermined by the negligence of an institution that is supposed to serve the most important value of life: education.

Not long before divulging the details of the abuse to authorities, I confronted the perpetrator in a fit of boiling anger that in reaching its peak had momentarily surpassed my fear and guilt. I heard myself yelling that I hated them, that I believed them to be a monster, and that if it weren’t for the fact they had children who I wished to spare of hurt, I would expose them.

But upon being met on this first and final stand by a chillingly comfortable remorselessness, I realised at once with shocking clarity that it was neither an evil I had caused nor could contain; one that would not end with me…….. ..That is perhaps the saddest, most revealing clue I can offer you.

I wonder if this article is enough to generate any interest. I wonder if this is close enough to home. I wonder if we all might be brought closer together in the pursuit of true justice. I am not asking for your brief outrage; I am asking for your willingness to continue to learn and make efforts to understand.






To: University of Tasmania (UTas)

University of Tasmania: Students deserve a safe campus!

Campaign created by
Heidi La Paglia

Respect your commitment to improve student safety, by immediately terminating Nicholaas Bester’s Phd scholarship, and banning him from attending any University of Tasmania campus.

Why is this important?

Despite signing onto the Universities’ Australia Respect Now always campaign only last year, and making a commitment to the ongoing Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) project aimed at stamping out sexual assault on campus, the University of Tasmania (UTas) is actively welcoming a convicted sex offender on campus.

Nicholaas Bester, who is currently a PhD student at the University of Tasmania (UTas) Sandy Bay campus, was convicted and jailed in 2011 for sexually abusing a 15-year-old student at St. Michaels Collegiate girls college, where he was head of science.

At the time of his parole, Bester was admitted to UTas as a student and received a PhD scholarship.

In 2015 Bester stated on social media his first crime was ‘awesome’ in a conversation so offensive it was reported to Tasmania Police and resulted in him being charged with producing child exploitation material. He served a prison sentence for this in 2016, during which time he remained a student at Utas.

Despite multiple complaints being made about Bester’s presence on campus, the University of Tasmania has put students at risk by:

– Accepting Bester as a resident in the John Fisher student accommodation complex, where he lived in close proximity to many students.

– Making no attempt to terminate Bester’s student status after he was reported to the police for predatory behaviour at the University gymnasium. At the time, an agreement was made with Bester that he would no longer attend the gym, but Utas continued to accommodate him on campus.

When questioned, the university deputy vice-chancellor for research, Bridgid Heywood said that “there is nothing in the universities’ rules which precludes Bester from continuing his research.”

However, this appears to ignore the university behaviour policy which states that all staff and students have a right to work and/or study in an environment that is free from inappropriate behaviour, including the sexually harassing and abusive behaviours which Bester has engaged in.

The universities decision to support Bester’s PhD status despite his continued criminal and inappropriate behaviour poses a clear threat to other university students, and in particular the underage students whom attend campus for pre-university units.

This is ironic given the university sectors national commitment to creating safer campus environments after the release of the national union of students women’s survey last year which showed that over 72% of women experience some form of sexual harassment or violence while studying.

Sign the petition to demand that the University respect their commitment to improving student safety, by immediately terminating Nicholas Bester’s Phd scholarship, and banning him from attending all University of Tasmania campuses.

*Under Federal and state legislation, universities’ are autonomous self-accrediting institutions. The university has the authority to terminate a PhD student position according to its own policies.



020217 Implications of the Appellate Decision into CS3 North Coast Children’s Home Diocese of Grafton findings used as Evidence in Canon Law Professional Standards Statute 2004 Discipline Removal of “Holy Orders” K Slater. Archival Opinion Post

Opinion  Survivors and friends Closed Group 02 02 17 Historical  ( Final Edit )

Note 11 Dec 2017.

This article was written as part of a hearts and minds campaign and was aimed at a group of readers within the Institutions. I hope to rewrite this article using the strongest possible arguments s we try again to Depose Slater and Combden from Holy Orders subject to internal appeals.

It was written during active Royal Commission hearings and now the Royal Commission is Finalised it is time again to prosecute fully Slater and Combden and fight against the denialist minimisers and their growing faction including Muriel Porter and acolytes within National Synod who attempted to water down Statutes in regards deposition trials.

10 12 2017 required )



Background: After CS 3 Bp Keith Slater although resigned and unlicensed was Defrocked under Professional Standards Statutes 2004 by the Diocese of Grafton in 2015 based on the evidence from Final Findings of the Royal Commissions Case Study Three.

Mr Slater then appealed the decision to the Australian Anglican Appellate Board. The appellate Board upheld Mr Slater’s appeal due to difficulties in the Statute which seemed to indicate that the Statute although written that it held jurisdiction (?) over “Church Workers” did not hold jurisdiction over Retired Bishops.

Therefore even if the decision was correct the Board in Grafton constituted by Bp Sarah McNeil (sp) did not have the power to take action and have a hearing to depose or discipline a Retired Bishop.

This then meant that the action taken was voided and technically Mr Slater could become the Right Reverend again.

Interestingly this decision has affected other Diocese’s across Australia currently so that no retired Bishop can be disciplined in regard to actions taken during their episcopate.

This was written in February a few days after the decision was announced that got widespread media coverage

.It was in my view retraumatizing to the Survivors who bravely advocated for this action to be commenced along with their supporters within the Diocese.

Anglican Church Appellate decision link.

Click to access Slater%20-%20Appellate%20Tribunal%20Decision%20-%20Final%2019%20January%202017.pdf

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse Final Findings Case Study Three North Coast Children’s Home. Anglican Diocese of Grafton.


Title:  Was it worth it?

Timeline post Appellate Decision.

To work in any Diocese in Australia, you must be licensed by the Bishop.
In the Appellate Decision, some recommendations are made regarding the National Register.It looks like unless the National Register can somehow circumvent the Appellate Decision by referring directly to the State Findings the ACA is required by Canon Law to uphold the decision.  I cannot find an appeal avenue to the Appellant Courts decision but am not a Canon Lawyer.

If you are listed on the national register you cannot gain a license so in order for the Appellate action to succeed it required that Keith Slater’s name is removed from the National register as well. I thought that this may have been grounds for appeal but it seems that this action has resulted in his name no longer being indicated on the Register.

For an outsider and I think to the general secular world this action was inexplicable,especially when Grafton had stated that the Tribunals decision was final and unappealable.

(Note the National Register is for Church Workers who have adverse Criminal or Adverse Internal Professional standards findings.)

(update 20 04 17)

It is important to note that the Appellate decision made no findings on the actual evidence of the Diocese of Grafton’s action under Professional Standards Canon 2004 beyond that of a lack of Jurisdiction.

I am no Canon Lawyer and am looking to research further and explain in summary a complex legal argument.

We now await September for Uniform National Standards. The Royal Commission has indicated to the Anglican Church Australia in the strongest possible Terms, that if these standards are not legislated into National Canon law then the State may intervene with punitive measures such as loss of taxation exemption status. This could be seen as a historical moment in the legislative history of the Commonwealth if the Government sitting at the time of Final Findings chooses to act. 

The implications beyond this one case have implications for many Institutions across Australia.

(end update )

Below text as per 020217.

If it is impossible to block the decision via the National Register Canon by referring to the State decision then technically Keith Slater could apply to a Bishop for a license.

Should any Diocese grant a license to Keith Slater?

The evidence in CS3 in my view was overwhelming. It showed a lack of compassion and empathy towards a group of Forgotten Australians. This was retraumatizing showed  ” callous disregard” for their needs of redress and reconciliation. The Final Findings of CS3 can support this view.

It seems that if Keith Slater did apply for a license the granting of licenses remains up to a Bishop’s discretionary power.

So this may be in a sense a pyrrhic victory for the former Bishop.

What are the National Leadership Team likely to do? +Sarah will consult widely and most likely among the Chancellors and Canon Lawyers for opinions of the way forward.

The Royal Commission hearings open again in March for Case Study 52.

The case study includes
• the responses of Anglican Church authorities in Australia to relevant case study report(s) and other Royal Commission reports;

Certainly what is vital is the relationship the Diocese has with the Adult Children from the NC Children’s Home and their journey of healing and redress.

However, it is likely that the RC will discuss the Keith Slater Appellate decision.

I wonder if Keith Slater may deeply meditate on the matter. He does have a group of supporters and other people who may still admire his ministry in other areas.

How do the needs of Justice create a win-win situation in this case?

Indeed Team Keith Slater his supporters and family will be relieved. But in the long journey of change transformation and renewal does the culture of “Holy Orders” transcend the needs of the Forgotten Australian children who suffered at the North Coast Children’s Home over decades?

I believe that some of the reasons behind this appeal may link to theological issues. If Mr Slater could make a theological leap, he may find that a quiet life as Mr is “just as good” as a retired life as the Right Reverend.

The costs of his appeal regarding the traumatisation of Survivors across the country, the financial costs, the time that  people have to spend in considering these issues not to mention the “acres of ink” spilt in writing on the subject, leaves the question hanging

“Was it worth it?”

compassion to all caught in the storm of the Royal Commission


Ecclesiastical Language/ Justice Opinion/ Comment feed. Group Guidelines


Picture Credit ” Gold Coast Series” Richard Tommy Campion.

Survivor members who have been in the “storm” of Public and Private hearings require sensitivity in regards the use of Ecclesiastical language.

The history of the Royal Commission, testimony in CS50 through CS57  show us theology and ecclesiastical language, used as a “weapon of control and power” is a potent force in the “silencing” of victim/survivors. Expert witnesses gave testimony in regard to the Theological causes of Institutional abuse. Hours of transcription are currently being analysed for final findings and policy development.

Simple Guidelines

Originally Group Guidelines were too “diffuse” unread or not accurately stated

Positive and uplifting insights images music and ideas are welcome to be posted.

If the discussion is in the ” hot zone ”  comments should be from your own viewpoint especially surrounding Justice concepts taken from your own experiential view or opinion. Strong opinions are welcome. This is not shutting down discussion but allowing that strong opinions especially from Survivors need respect and compassion.

Justice concepts are an extreme “hot” zone in regard to Royal Commission “issues”.

Having to argue in regard to Justice topics: ( eg Defrocking/ license suspension ) (restorative justice initiatives) ( public Interest State Trials) and other Justice issues can be exhausting for Survivors.

Opinion and discussion are vital but with the understanding that the strong opinions held within the group are valid for each person.

The group has been made closed to avoid the “vigilante extreme retributive justice wave of opinion in some other Royal Commission sites”. Survivors in this group will/may have different views as to Justice issues. Survivors hold strong opinions in these areas.

These opinions need to be validated and respected.

For Institutional Members 

” I believe” or, I think ” rather than “It is”  “you should”.

Walk with and together not upfront.

“No pulpits.”

Share a faith journey as it applies to your own experiential and spiritual experiences. Respect diversity of understanding and viewpoints.

No theological wars or “dogmatic pronouncing.”

Discuss spiritual, and theological conceptual frameworks compassionately, with sensitivity, the discussions coming from a place of equality with compassion are honoured and welcome.

We respect the fact that within institutions many great people exist who are on side with the goals of the Royal Commission and dedicated to the cause of advocacy for Victim/Survivors.

We need to keep an atmosphere of safety in the group understanding each other’s positions and view without value judgements. We have Agnostic Anglican Atheist Buddhist Catholic Humanistic  Jewish Uniting Church, United Methodist,  Zen Buddhist, and other worldviews among our members.

Understand the issues surrounding sectarianism and ecumenicalism so when referring to other institutions avoid demeaning comparisons in regards theological standpoints or sectarian language that could alienate. Institutional members should use caution in this regard.

compassion …… to all caught in the storm of the royal commission

image attrib “Gold Coast Series” Richard Tommy Campion  Copyright RTC.


Handling Conflicts of Interest

Handling Conflicts of Interest

Institutional Members and Survivors.

How do we as group members handle ourselves when Conflicts of Interest arise?

The friendship networks and professional networks of connection, often mean that when confronting the Royal Commission we have our social networks, old friendships and professional relationships challenged. The evidence that confronts us means that we look at people’s shadow sides.

Members of the Hierarchy are often part of Institutional members friendship lists.

The magic of the new world of connectivity allows our social networks to combine in ever increasing myriad ways but when we find ourselves confronted with the searing eye of the Royal Commission and the huge waves of online public opinion towards people we know either as colleagues, friends, or casual Facebook acquaintances, who do we chose?

Given the Social networks, I always thought that a model such as this was doomed to failure. No survivors would trust enough to share, and Institutional members would also have huge issues.

However, given the lack of clergy education into the Royal Commission and the culture of denial, I believed that this model could still work in beginning to break that culture.

For Perth Diocese it has been a huge time of shock as social networks are frayed. For Ballina,  Grafton Diocese and Newcastle Diocese, the same shock is reverberating.

I have been on this journey for twenty years. For some of you, this group may have been the first time you have actively engaged with serious long-term deep discussion and reflections on the Royal Commission.

What I ask of all of our members is no matter the “friends” list, no matter how we connect, this issue is above individuals.

This is a systemic issue.

If one of your friends is mentioned adversely, remember it is a systemic problem we are confronting: we are advocating for transparency and massive change.

Most survivors are not into retributive justice: we require to be heard and acknowledged.

We now must be central to all decisions and share a seat at the Conference table and in the “ Board “rooms”  Councils and Tribunals walking with the Leadership teams together.

Power and Control lead to abuse. Joint communication listening and confronting together the past is vital.

So when your friends are mentioned, and you would rather walk away from the shadows revealed in the searing testimonies, please stop a moment. This is not about respondent  X or Y or Z… this is about acknowledgement, reformation and rebuilding.

All of our Institutional members bring to this group a remarkable set of skills. If your Social Networks collide with the revelations and evidential pathways that you are reading, please also remember this: we want to see Justice we want to see the Institutions acknowledge the past.

If one of your facebook friends faces adverse findings and even the possibility of severe state charges, please rest assured that Survivors want only to see the history acknowledged.

I made this group knowing that this situation was inevitable. What I ask of all of you now is that you keep open minds and know that it is the systemic issues that we are confronting.

For survivors and friends

When I say, “Survivors are not usually into retributive justice” I mean this:

A power broker once said to me “ you cannot require the Institution to do anything “. This seared in my memory.

  • Survivors require the Justice system to work.
  • Require absolute acknowledgement with no denial or minimisation
  • We do not want offenders or those complicit in cover up to suicide;
  • Require an acknowledgement of the harm done redress and restoration.
  • Require that the crimes of the past will not be repeated.
  • The vast majority of Survivors require full State trials of Offenders and those complicit in Cover up.
  • The vast majority of Survivors require the full deposition from “Holy Orders” of all Offenders and those complicit in cover up.
  • Forgiveness without Justice is a cheap grace ( Bonhoeffer Letters and Papers from Prison) No survivor should be required to forgive as every survivor’s path is different. Theological pressure for forgiveness is ‘re abusive.
  • Survivors require institutions to take on board and be proactive in all recomendations and Issues papers from the Royal Commission and to apply all Final Findings expediently.

We acknowledge that “ cover up” is tantamount to abuse and that allowing offenders to continue to offend makes those that had the chance to prevent the cycle of offending criminally responsible for the damage done to victims.

Historical arguments about the “culture of the time’  are arguments that current researchers across the disciplines put less weight on than the actual dynamic of awareness of the particular situation.

We have to break the culture of denial. those in the hierarchy who are now facing the consequences of adverse findings of “Cover Up” should in some way find pathways that allow for Justice.

I believe a magnificent gesture and a small step in reformation and renewal is those in the hierarchy with adverse findings voluntarily handing back their religious and secular orders and or positions and acknowledging the harm done genuinely.

This voluntary handing back could be done, not before Findings from the Royal Commission or before Internal Board Hearings, but after the case is decided.

Such actions in mitigation would show genuine contrition.


Easter Sunday Reflection 16 04 17


Photo Credit: Richard Tommy Campion “Old Church NSW” Copyright RTC.

A house divided cannot stand.

I finished my 2016 Christmas Reflection  with this

“Christmas Day surrounded by beauty the last of the Carols echoes, the season’s decorations’ smiling families, the sumptuous, richness of the facade.Perhaps colour shines through a Stained glass window.

Perhaps CKA was a man in tears on this Christmas morning. Evidence states he “may have” been Shouting.

No doubt he was distressed and stood very much alone watching as the Dean of the Cathedral in all his finery turns his back and walks away”

Today some of our Institutional members will be in Robes and Preaching, some robed, others simply preaching in civvies.

Those of us outside the walls have a holiday or work or carry on regardless.

Here are some of the reactions from Survivors to Easter.


Easter is not a good time for many it’s just another day now

You aren’t the evil one – they are, as you did nothing wrong.

I have to tell you straight! Mate, you’ve gotta let it go, let it all go because when you get down the baskets of pure evil continue to win….and laugh at your pain.

And who is it we are supposed to ‘tell’ when some of us have ‘told’ many times over the years? Not only ‘told’ it but have yelled & screamed it, have pleaded with them to help. They never listened back then, they still do not listen & they still do not do anything.

Glen F

Its so hard to be a father or r just to be me

When I’m so consumed with anger

Living life with PTSD

I’ve given so much

To make what’s wrong right

If it costs me my life

I’ll never surrender the fight

So many children

To many have died

I could fill up a dam

With the tears that have cried

Glen F

A House divided cannot Stand

A group member shared this with me.

And the light does shine. Always has. Always will. I love a line from Leonard cohen “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. If only the church hierarchy could understand this, and allow the light to get in rather than being in denial.


A house divided cannot stand.

When I was confirmed as an Anglican in the 1970s  it never occurred to me that forty years later I would be writing this piece.

Today you celebrate a festival that in its metaphorical images talk about love light truth peace and Joy.

Witnesses to the Royal Commission spoke of darkness lies corruption conflict and profound sorrow.

A house divided cannot stand!



Abuse Hearings End ” I’m Done”

Steve Smith, who was sexually abused by an Anglican priest ­between the ages of 10 and 15, wiped away tears as both he and the six commissioners were ­applauded at the end of its 57th and final public hearing.

“I’m done,” Mr Smith said after the hearing. “I’ve been through the criminal justice system. He (the abuser) is dead. I’ve been to the highest legal auth­ority — the royal commission. I gave the last evidence. It’s over.”


Issue: Prayers for The People. Recognition of Victims/ Families/Community effected when Bishop under Preliminary Adverse Findings


Photograph “Gold Coast Series” Richard Tommy Campion. Copyright RTC.

Compassion. …for all caught in the storm of the Royal Commission.

The Diocese of Perth is in a difficult Event Horizon.

Resignations, due to Abuse and Boundary violations in Australia have a timeline that closely matches the waves of awareness as community understanding and concern grew and matured.

The Hollingsworth resignation in the 200s led to the resignation and defrocking of Bp XYZ ( insert link )

The brave advocacy of  Steve Fisher (Advocate and Survivor Beyond Abuse) Rev Dr Don Owers and Rev Andrew King in Adelaide and others resulted in the resignation of Ian George in 2005 ( Case Study 36 ) (insert link)Most Group members will be familiar with Case Study Three  that lead to the resignations of  (Bp)  K Slater and P Combden as we covered CS 3 after the Slater appellate decision

(Most Group members will be familiar with Case Study Three that lead to the resignations of  (Bp)  K Slater and P Combden as we covered CS 3 after the Slater appellate decision.) edit required.

This after the heroic, resilient,  years of struggle of Survivor “Hero” Tommy Campion and the other Children from the North Coast Children’s Home who bravely stood firm strong and brave in the face of formidable opposition and callous disregard from  Bishop Keith Slater, Diocesan Legal Advisors and (Rev) now Mr Pat Combden.

Ann Hywood at that time Professional Standards Director now the most senior in the National Synod proved her mettle by as soon as she found the files and state of play taking decisive action.

Insert links Resignation, Slater Resignation George

(requires checking for accuracy of timeline )

Both AB George and  Bp Slater resigned quickly  AB George resigned within days once events reached critical mass. Due to these sudden resignations, the Liturgical Questions were never required. The Royal Commission Case studies now completed the only currently serving Bishop facing adverse Findings is AB Herft.

Note Bishop Herft has officially ” retired” from his role as the Archbishop of Perth stating that this was to honour survivors. The effect of the retirement seems to imply that he is no longer serving sources show that Parishes are still publishing Prayer sheets according to BCP POA that calls for prayers to be said for him. (as per 010417) This writer does not have an opinion on whether this is theologically morally or ethically correct in isolation but without an acknowledgement, for the reasons stated for the early retirement this can cause an ethical and moral dilemma if these reasons are missed and Survivors friends family and the community affected by his acknowledged failures are not honoured in prayer at the same time.

The Liturgical Questions and dilemmas.

BCP POA.        ( Book of Common Prayer Online )


Prayer is offered with intercession for

The Universal Church, its members, and its mission
The Nation and all in authority
The welfare of the world
The concerns of the local community
Those who suffer and those in any trouble
The departed (with commemoration of a saint when appropriate)

Form 3 is flexible

Form III

The Leader and People pray responsively
We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;
That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and

Form 2 adds the name of the Bishops

Form II

In the course of the silence after each bidding, the People offer their
own prayers, either silently or aloud.

I ask your prayers for God’s people throughout the world;
for our Bishop(s);………. for this gathering; and for all ministers
and people.
Pray for the Church.

Form 1

For our Bishop, and for all the clergy and people, let us pray
to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

Victims advocate that given that Form 2 of the Prayer requires the naming of an individual Bishop, that in the future those facing adverse findings and or State charges regarding CSA or Boundary violations,  when their names are prayed for that a Mandated Prayer of acknowledgement for Victims and families is made at the same time.

In an ideal legal and Ecclesiastical landscape when the possibility of Adverse Findings becomes evident a liturgically legislated prayer is also added.   

This is a unique situation for the Anglican Church in Australia. Some precedent may transfer from the RCC ( Roman Catholic Church)  Diocese of Adelaide, but the situation is different as their Archbishop is awaiting trial. Therefore, the presumption of innocence applies.

Preliminary Final Findings have been put forward by the Royal Commission SC and defence responses from AB Herfts legal team that implies that presumption of innocence still applies until Final Findings are made.

The timeline now means that until July, when AB Herft retires, during the Liturgy it is mandatory to pray for him in a formal structure.

This leaves a gap where it may occur that Prayers are said for an individual Bishop, but prayers for those affected by his actions ( victims families and the Community ) are not formally mandated and perhaps not always acknowledged in the “Prayers of the People”.

Legally the argument may be made that it would be “unfair”  to the Archbishop to insert a formal communique requesting “Prayers of Acknowledgement” at this stage. Tactically this action would be seen as damaging to the reputation of AB Herft. It would amplify in Parishioners minds the Royal Commission findings that will be Finalised in later 2017. (Most likely June).


Balancing this after Final Findings are made a Diocesan Recovery process is likely to be required. At that stage, Rev Herft will be formally retired.

Last week the   Preliminary Final Findings were released by SC Naomi Sharpe.

On a Public Relations level for the Diocese, this was positive as the “splendour” of Easter would have lessened any parish level feedback.

As the Final Findings are likely to be released after the retirement date of AB Herft the issue may not become live.

Given this, it is unlikely that a request for Formal Prayers of Acknowledgement of Victims and families by the Administrator would be successful.

Again this is an example of how Legal timelines have in this case proved positive for “Team Herft”.

It then becomes up to Individual Parishes as to how this situation is handled.

Again this shows that Resignation rather than early retirement avoids the difficulties Liturgically that an early retirement created.

My understanding was that after an early Retirement during the Prayers for the People that Prayers are said for  The Administrator rather than the early retired Bishop.


Compassion. …for all caught in the storm of the Royal Commission.

Original FB Group Description

Support for those affected by the Royal Commission Supporters and Friends.

Survivors and Friends

Posts to Main News Feed Moderated
Private Posts here
Send msg to Mod for access invite if not already linked.

News Feed advocacy and opinion group assisting with all of our personal journeys through the Royal Commission as Survivors, Institutional members, friends, professionals advocates or supporters.

This model is a small test to see how Survivors friends and supporters and also those from institutions can communicate and support each other.

We respect the fact that within institutions many great people exist who are on side with the goals of the Royal Commission and dedicated to the cause of advocacy for Victim/Survivors.

We need to keep an atmosphere of safety in the group understanding each other’s positions and view without value judgements. We have Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, United Methodist, Atheist, Zen Buddhist, agnostic humanistic and other world views among our members.

We are non-political and accept all sexual orientations.

Please be aware that ecclesiastical/religious language outside of personal posts can be challenging for victim/survivors.

We have a balanced team of Moderators including survivors, family members, advocates, clinicians and institutional members.


Group Guidelines

Group Guidelines and a list of moderators are on the Moderator List in the file section.
Conflict of Interest Guidelines is in development. Draft 1 is available from file list.


This is a closed group for the protection of all members, we need to reach out to anyone interested in this issue and members from across the disciplines and institutions.

We warmly welcome victim/survivors to join the feed.

Institutional members are also warmly welcome.

We also welcome Media and Researchers from all areas.

We welcome those studying in Theological Institutions and have Academics from various countries as members.

We also have a group of Priests Clergy Ministers Pastors and are reaching out to other Religions.

Please invite anyone would assist the group or appreciate the News feed.

If you wish to invite people to the group find a moderator and they can send a group invite.


Standard Media Clinical and Ministerial Ethical codes apply.





Episcopal Standards AB Aspinall CS 52 Complaints Conflicts of Interest gaining uniform agreement.

AB Aspinal (Ret ?) Brisbane ex-Primate on Episcopal Standards. CS 52 Day x 

ARCHBISHOP ASPINALL: Well, we’ve had several attempts, two or three attempts in my time as Primate, to put in  place uniform episcopal standards legislation. There do  need to be grievance processes or complaints processes,  where people in a diocese can say, “My bishop is acting  unfairly.” The difficulty is that you then provide an avenue for a whole lot of vexatious and trivial complaints, and we haven’t found a way yet, really, to strike that balance and to get in place uniform standards.

One key issue is that – there is quite a body of  feeling in the church that bishops must be held accountable by a body external to their own diocese; the accountability
has to be held that way, cause most of the key people within a diocese are either personally known to the bishop, so there are conflicts of interest or have been appointed by the bishop, so there are conflicts of interest. So there needs to be an external body.

But there are others in the church who say there is no way we are going to give an external body power over our bishop. So we have this impasse, really, which has prevented the implementation of a uniform episcopal standards regime.

( Note Transcript Pg to be added ).

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