Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The Times reports:

A father flying from Britain to confront the Pope in Sydney about the rape of his two daughters by a Catholic priest has reacted angrily to claims by a senior Australian bishop that he is “dwelling crankily” on “old wounds”.

Anthony Foster is demanding that Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s senior Catholic, “beg for forgiveness” over the repeated rape of his daughters by the priest at a Melbourne primary school between 1988 and 1993.

Mr Foster said that his daughters had been severely damaged by the attacks, with the elder, Emma, committing suicide earlier this year aged 26. Her younger sister Katie, who became a heavy drinker, was hit by a car when 15 and now needs 24-hour care.

The Pope, who begins his official duties today at World Youth Day celebrations attended by an estimated 225,000 “pilgrims”, has promised to issue an apology this week to young people sexually abused by priests.

But when questioned about an Australian Broadcasting Commission report on the Fosters’ complaints Bishop Anthony Fisher, the Church’s World Youth Day spokesman, sounded dismissive. He said that he’d not seen the report because he had been at the celebrations.

“Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people,” he said, “rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds”.

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