Bishop Who Spoke at Vatican Sex Summit Investigated for Abuse Cover-Up

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by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 28, 2019   

Abp. Mark Coleridge of Australia at center of controversy over response to abuse claims

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BRISBANE, Queensland (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Australian archbishop who spoke at the Vatican sex abuse summit is now being investigated for his handling of abuse allegations. 

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of the Brisbane archdiocese gave a homily at the close of the Vatican abuse summit about the need for the Church to undergo "conversion" and a "Copernican revolution" when it comes to the handling of clerical sex abuse scandals, saying, "For us, the Copernican revolution is the discovery that those who have been abused do not revolve around the Church but the Church around them."

He noted that Church leaders "have seen victims and survivors as the enemy. ... In that sense, we have been our own worst enemy."

However, Abp. Coleridge is now coming under scrutiny as he is accused of mishandling clerical sex abuse allegations some 13 years ago.

According to reports, a woman says that she presented clerical sex abuse allegations to Abp. Coleridge back in 2006 when he was the head of the Canberra and Goulburn archdiocese. She claims that when she met with Abp. Coleridge to discuss her allegations, he spoke aggressively to her and accused her of being a "gossip." 

In December 2018, both the archdiocese of Brisbane and the Canberra and Goulburn archdiocese were made aware of the woman's claim against Abp. Coleridge. They agreed to have an independent investigation into the matter. Reportedly, this investigation is nearing its end.


Guardian Australia reports it has seen documents confirming that Church officials hired a consultant, Kate Halloran, to look into the allegation against the archbishop.

Archbishop Coleridge strongly denies the woman's claim that he lashed out at her for reporting abuse allegations.

The archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn stated through a spokesman, "Discussions between the two archdioceses led to agreement that Canberra and Goulburn would establish an independent investigation of the allegations."

"Archbishop Mark Coleridge cooperated with the investigation and strongly refuted the allegations," the spokesman continued.

The statement also said, "When the complainant was invited to cooperate with the independent investigation, she chose not to engage with the process."

It adds, "She has instead chosen to take these allegations to the media, which is deeply disappointing."

The woman claims that she did cooperate with the investigation. She also claims that Abp. Coleridge has tried to obstruct and stall the investigation.

On Twitter back in October 2018, Abp. Coleridge appeared to reject the idea of Christ as King. A Twitter user said that some people want Christ as a consultant rather than a king, and Abp. Coleridge replied, "Not too sure I want (or have) him as either."

This sparked outrage and backlash from Catholics online, because the archbishop was apparently rejecting the Kingship of Christ.

One Twitter account stated in reply, "You have no business being an archbishop if you truly believe what you've stated."

Another reply read, "You don't want Christ as King, Your Grace? Does [Pope Francis] know this? Hardly seems a tenable position for a successor to the Apostles."

Still another expressed confusion, saying, "Is this, perhaps, a confession of weakness? 'I wish I wanted Jesus as my king but I know that I'm still reigning in my own life?' That I can respect, though the lack of clarity is rather appalling."

Coleridge issued a clarification on Twitter, stating, "I worship Jesus reigning from the Cross, whose 'kingdom is not of this world' and who 'casts the mighty from their thrones'...I don't favour royalist ideologies 'of this world' which make Christ remote, the Church triumphalist, the Pope and bishops princely etc." 

This tweet included with it an image of a crucifix. 

Some Catholics were still upset by this, with one saying, "What you were presented with was NOT a royalist ideology."

Another Twitter user remarked, "You should recant what you said about not wanting Christ as King."

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