A Christian Brothers’ leader has indicated the disappearance of the Congregation of Christian Brothers Catholic order from Australia in the coming years. Peter Clinch, an Oceania provincial leader, said that the order is not looking forward to any applications for its novitiate.
When Clinch was asked if Christian Brothers will become merely a brand on schools in the coming decades, he responded. “I don’t think even the brand will be there,” he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Wednesday. “I think the brand Christian Brothers will be no more.”
Marist Brothers Provincial Peter Carroll said that his order was also getting old and hence was receiving few candidates. Although the Christian Brothers hinted towards their membership decline, they continued to defend Brother Robert Best, a convicted abuser. Christian Brothers paid $1.5 million to defend Best’s crime. The Catholic order was compelled to pay $14 million to 165 child sex abuse victims.
The Catholic order was asked to pay additional amount after the royal commission hearing of 2014 led to reviewing of almost 200 settlements. Out of the compensations paid to child sex abuse victims, Christian Brothers’ abuse victims were paid the maximum amount. Christian Brothers had to pay a total of $48.5 million between 1980 and 2015.
Clinch Gives Evidence at Commission
Carroll and Clinch were among the religious leaders who gave evidence at the commission’s hearing on Wednesday. Clinch, according to AAP, thought that the settlements made had been inadequate. “We thought we were going to be taken to the cleaners, which we could still,” he said on Wednesday. “It was kind of a defensiveness, a reluctance to come and speak with legal people.”
At the royal commission hearing, several data were released. The set of data indicated around 22 percent of Christian Brother members were suspected of sexually abusing children between 1950 and 2010. The commission heard leaders stating what should be done to those members who are found guilty of child sex abuse.
Carroll said that the abusers among Marist Brothers were subject to several ministerial restrictions and inspection. Clinch, on the contrary, said that the Catholic Order would either recommend the one involved in sex abuse crime for dismissal or would ask the one to leave if he found the public perception being against him.