Cartoon: Paul Rigby


If the Catholic Church were a corporation it would have been closed down decades ago, with many of its officials serving long jail terms.

The degree of human misery created by years of child sexual abuse in the Church is incalculable, leading to suicides, drug abuse and thousands of lives shattered and ruined – and that’s just in The Lucky Country.

The  Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has revealed almost one in 10 priests in the Perth Archdiocese is accused of abusing children. (How many more victims were there, who perhaps couldn’t bring themselves to come forward or are no longer around?)

To think so many members of a Christian organisation have been repeatedly sexually abusing the innocent and vulnerable over the years, is beyond shocking.

The history of denial, cover-ups, and protection of serial abusers at the expense of their victims, is gut-churning; unprecedented in any other part of society.

The Benedictine Community of New Norcia takes the cake with the news that a staggering 21. 5 per cent of priests between 1950 and 2010  allegedly abused kids. It would appear that those beautiful buildings north-east of Perth harboured what must have been akin to a torture chamber for the youngsters unfortunate enough to be there.




Chillingly, it has also emerged that the pious Church hierarchy was often fully aware of priests’ and monks’ transgressions, yet covered up the abuses and simply moved the perpetrators on to new parishes – and new victims.

The excuses, obfuscation and spin are now, hopefully, finally at an end.. Let’s see how the Vatican reacts to the news of  4444 alleged incidents of abuse in Australia reported to Catholic Church authorities between 1980 and 2015 , with the child victims largely ignored or even punished.

Many signs have been held outside the current hearings stating ‘Jesus is Weeping’. If this were so, perhaps He’d also be ready to send a mighty lightening bolt down on this tragically flawed. earthly institution that lives off His name.




On a cheerier note, WA’s newest outdoor film festival has opened, down by the sea. On Saturday night, The Cottesloe Outdoor Film Festival had them flooding into the glorious Civic Centre grounds for a screening of the Academy Award nominated Tanna.

Night movies will screen at the Civic Centre western lawn during February. They are Paper Planes (Saturday, 11 Feb), Embrace of the Serpent (Saturday,18 Feb) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Friday, 24 Feb).



Meanwhile our film reviewers have been enjoying the great summer line-up of PIAF outdoor movies at UWA Somerville. Margot loves the touching, quirky Italian film Like Crazy and Ros gives a big thumbs up to the wonderfully ubiquitous French actress Isabelle Huppert in Things to Come.

Get lean, stay lean – the eternal quest for many of us! In this week’s Yum section Dr Joanna McMillan shows us ways to do it while enjoying some absolutely delicious dishes.



Her new book Get Lean, Stay Lean – The 6-Step Program for a Happier, Healthier Body for Life (Murdoch Books) offers up some really super recipes designed to provide optimum nutrition while beating the bulge at the same time. Now that’s our kind of book!

Margot also headed off to the Fringe to check out Djuki Mala, originally known as the Chooky Dancers, the exuberant group of indigenous performers from Elcho Island in North-East Arnhem Land.


It is turning out to be an outstanding season for the arts in the old town!

We are off to the dominion of kiwis, hobbits and twitchy sheep this week to do a Starfish road trip around the North Island.



We’ll report on our New Zealand adventures when we lob back in a couple of weeks, however keep an eye on the Starfish Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and pictures from the rolling road!

Peter Rigby




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