TIM MINCHIN            






Child Abuse Within

the Catholic Church


And the winner is…


Here’s a story.


Once upon a time a young altar boy

of 8, let’s just say in the early 1960s,

is molested by a priest.


Traumatised, he goes home and

tells his parents.


It takes courage.


They yell at him and belt him

for lying.


He tells the truth and he gets



Punished by the ones he loves.


To whom does that kid now turn?


Three of the most important people

in his life, his parents and his priest,

the ones expected to keep him safe

and give him guidance, have let him

down in the worst possible way.


And, when exposed, the Church

tries to cover it up.


Well, not literally the Church, but

people of power within the Church.


Flesh-and-blood people.




Their first thought is to protect

the Church.


Protect the Church and God from,

wait for it, the TRUTH.


Don’t worry about the child or the

thousands like him whose lives have

been irreparably damaged.


Forget about the children who will be

abused in the future.


“We will fix this ourselves.

No one can ever know.”


“We’ll move him to another town and

tell him not to do it again.”


And then, when whispers of the truth

started ripples of outrage, came this.


“We’ll splash a bit of money about

to keep them quiet.”


Please explain to me the existence

of Christianity within that scenario.


This is what Tim Minchin is asking

in his song.

Have a listen.



Do ya get it now?!


This is why Tim Minchin wants

Cardinal George Pell to come home.


He wants George Pell to look into

the eyes of some of the victims and

then explain to them “why”.


Why he didn’t protect the children of

the God he represents.


Why the Church’s reputation was a

greater priority.


Why he can’t shed buckets of tears,

break down and beg forgiveness?


Back to the story.


Now it’s hard to blame the parents

for not believing the child – the child

who has just told them he has been

molested by his priest – as they too

have been indoctrinated in the ways

of their particular religion.


And, in their minds, at that time,

there is no way a priest would

ever do that.


The kid must be lying.


Therefore he must be punished.


Spare the rod, spoil the child.


And now try to imagine the

heartache and pain of those parents

when, many years down the track,

they discover their little boy was

telling the truth.


The truth being a representative of

their Church, of their God, violated

their little boy.


And when their little boy came to

them for help, they didn’t

believe him.


They punished him.




But they can be forgiven.


The Church has no excuse.


The Church knew.


It would appear George Pell has

known for a long, long time.


And when asked to return to

Australia from The Vatican to front a

Royal Commission into Child Abuse,

George Pell gets a note from his

doctor saying he is too sick to take

the flight.

George Pell will now give his

evidence via video link.


So Tim Minchin wrote a song

imploring Cardinal Pell to make

the journey.


Independent of the song there has

been a crowd-funding initiative to

raise money to fly some of the

victims to The Vatican to witness

Cardinal Pell’s deposition.

Feel free to get involved.



All royalties from the song will now

go to that initiative.


There has been a lot of spit and

kafooey that a mere entertainer

could have the audacity to call

Australia’s highest ranking Catholic

official a “pompous buffoon”

and “scum”.


But this is not a “mere entertainer”

jumping on a bandwagon to

increase his own popularity and

cash in on the controversy.


This is a world-renowned lyricist,

satirist and performer who wrote

the score for the hugely successful

musical Roald Dahl's Matilda.


And Tim Minchin has addressed

paedophilia and several 

religion-related issues via a couple

of other songs in the past.


The Pope Song and

Thank You God for example.




There is language in these songs

that many people may consider

to be “from the gutter”.


But like “scum” and “pompous

buffoon”, they’re only words.


And for a whole lot of people the

words are warranted.


Let’s not shoot the messenger here.


How about we clear a bit of the

forest and have a close look at

the trees.


Paedophilia is a criminal offence.


An abhorrent criminal offence.


It now carries a maximum sentence

of life in prison in NSW.


But the Church, fully aware of many

of these offences, chose to deal

with them in-house.


Shuffle the deck.


Move the offenders.


Don’t mention the war.


Don’t tell the cops.


And, from all reports, the bloke who

orchestrated a fair bit of the

shuffling, kept it on the QT and

failed to inform the Boys In Blue

was George Pell.


The buck-stopper.


The Accountability Man now

conveniently stuck in a No Fly Zone

courtesy of apparent ill-health.


Has he not committed a criminal



Has he not aided and abetted

the paedophiles?


Paedophiles who in the real world

would be, and now are, sent to jail.


Should he not be punished for being

complicit in these crimes?


Is he not accountable?


Don’t the victims deserve the right to

ask him “Why?”.


That, in hokey-pokey terms,

is what the song is all about.


What’s your view?


Murray Hugh Hartin – Facebook

@MuzthePoet – Twitter