One of the most complex and difficult social issues of recent years has been that of widespread andextensive child sexual abuse linked to churches and clergy.  There has been years of painful reporting and revelation, including the recognition that the Hunter region may have been particularly severely affected.  Lives have been devastated and families and communities torn apart. Nevertheless many victims remain silent, and some ‘non-victims’ still struggle to even talk about “THAT problem.”

For the direct victims, it is hoped that bringing the problem into the open, recognition of harm and suffering, and establishment of treatment and healing programs may bring comfort and resolution.

But what about the indirect victims, and the church(es) involved? The many ‘ordinary faithful’have a painful dilemma – torn between their faith and spiritual need to be involved with the church, but conflicted by the churches inadequacies and failings in dealing with the issue.

The next forum of the New Institute brings together two very different perspectives on this most difficult of issues.  Joanne McCarthy, local journalist, and raised as a Catholic, has been centrally involved in revealing the extent of the sexual abuse problem.  Her many articles and reports have gained national prominence.  Father Geoff Mulhearn is a Roman Catholic priest who struggles to resolve the many questions raised for both his faith, and the future of his church, as a result of the child sexual abuse issue.

Despite their differences, both Joanne and Father Geoff believe that a way must be found to deal with the child sexual abuse issue appropriately.  This is needed for the many victims, for the church itself, and for the ‘ordinary faithful’ who wish to continue to worship within the church.  They are both going to explore these painful issues at the next Public Forum of the New Institute.  The format of the discussion will be highly interactive.

THIS FORUM IS OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC

VENUE: Newcastle City Hall, Hunter Room.

DATE: Tuesday 8th November 2011 TIME: 7.00 till 8.30pm

ADMISSION: $5 Donation

FURTHER DETAILS: www.newinstitute.org.au or Victoria at 0408 588550

The church and THAT problem… What is the way forward?
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