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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

It seems that the child abuse scandals that have dogged the Catholic Church simply will not go away.

New incidences of horrific abuse have arisen in Australia, Chile and Switzerland.

In Chile a bishop who was accused of abusing children has resigned at the same time revealing that the Vatican was investigating him under canon law.

In Australia a new inquiry into child abuse caused Victoria state police has launched a scathing attack on the Catholic Church, accusing it of deliberately impeding its investigations into child abuse.

In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by churches, signed by Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, police recommend that some of the church's actions to hinder investigations be criminalised.

The submission lists a number of ways in which the church has hindered the criminal justice process, including dissuading victims of sexual crimes from reporting them to police, failing to engage with police and alerting suspects of allegations against them, ''which may have resulted in loss of evidence''. Read more about it.

Meanwhile, the hardline Cardinal Joseph Pell was accused of being present when a boy complained that he had been raped by a priest. The Cardinal did nothing to help and the boy was beaten mercilessly to shut him up. See full story at the Brisbane Times.

Read some of the newspaper reaction here: The Age: Catholic Church's lying about child abuse has left its credibility in tatters. National Times: Sex abuse is a crime for the police to deal with, not the church.

In Switzerland, thousands of children fell victim to violence and abuse in Catholic boarding schools up until the 1970s, according to a recent study decrying "sadistic" practices resembling "torture".

"There was always this incredible fear, fear, fear, fear," recalled a former student of a Catholic boarding school in the German-speaking central Swiss canton of Lucerne. Read the full story here.