Catholicism & Paedophilia


Author Peter Fox acknowledges in his book ‘Walking Towards Thunder’  that so many people supported  him, and joined with him, to pressure the then prime minister Julia Gillard to set  up the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses  into Child Sexual Abuse, but there is no doubt that Fox’s  fight to put children’s safety  ahead of the reputation of the Catholic  Church was the catalyst. As has often been stated since, only an atheist, female prime minister would have listened and acted; whatever the truth, the timing was crucial.

What is truly appalling is that a corrupt NSW Police Force destroyed Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox’s exemplary career in order to protect the Catholic Church, its wealth and power in Australia. It’s difficult to fathom that this corruption could even take hold and destroy hundreds of children’s lives in a modern secular country like Australia.

Fox’s empathy for the children abused by Catholic clergy and their distraught families shines through the pages of this book.  The heart wrenching stories are even more soul destroying when no matter what Fox did, there was nowhere to turn to get help for these suffering children, while paedophile priests were shifted around from parish to parish, supported by bishops and archbishops. We now know that paedophile priests passed around the names of children they had abused to other priests so that some children were raped repeatedly by more than one priest and yet the NSW Police and the Church continued to attack Peter Fox and deny this was happening.

Fox’s attention to detail in writing reports and conducting interviews showed him to be an outstanding detective, but this did not save him from the endemic corruption within the NSW police force which allowed the Catholic Church to hide the crimes of its clergy for decades.  Peter Fox writes about the similar ‘brotherhoods’ operating within the Church and police force and how they close ranks to protect reputations at all costs, but these costs were too high for child victims, and for Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox and his family.

The chapter on the NSW commission of inquiry into police corruption with Margaret Cunneen appointed as chief commissioner, will leave readers wondering just how deep corruption is within our justice system. The days of tortuous, seemingly aimless questioning  of Fox, whose health was visibly deteriorating;  a detective  who was doing his job and doing it diligently, is particularly harrowing to read. The intimidation of Fox’s wife in the courtroom during his interrogation is unsettling to say the least; it was devastating for Fox who was well aware of what was happening while he was being interrogated in the dock.

When the Child Abuse Royal Commission was finally announced many had expected the then NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell would abandon the planned  Cunneen NSW Police Inquiry as being a smaller inquiry covering the same matters.  However, the Police Inquiry proceeded.

Around the time the Cunneen Inquiry’s report was being  completed, and the Child Sexual Abuse  Royal Commission was about to begin, George Pell was promoted to cardinal by his Church and a “discreet farewell’ for him was attended by, among other dignitaries, NSW  Attorney General Greg Smith and NSW Premiere O’Farrell, who expressed the “greatest respect” for George Pell and his Church.  One can only imagine how this made the victims and their families feel.  And  then O’Farrell made a statement that surely will go down in history as an indictment on the NSW state government which must have been  well aware of the children reportedly raped by Catholic clergy at the time, and in light of Pell’s later conviction for child sexual abuse: “In Australian society the [Catholic] Church always gets priority and central position.”

In my view, after reading ‘Walking Towards Thunder’ the Cunneen Inquiry appears to have been set up solely to destroy Peter Fox, along with the rape victims’ statements he recorded and other documented evidence he had collected.  Documents and statements mysteriously disappeared and police officers giving evidence at the Cunneen Inquiry claimed that those documents and statements never existed, even though victims, journalists and family members all confirmed Fox’s evidence which he gave under cross examination, which I have already noted was brutal.

These are my own assessments after reading ‘Walking Towards Thunder’ and I have no doubt that history will hold the NSW Police Inquiry up for what it was; a sham! The ABC later reported that the four-volume report, three volumes of which had been released by Commissioner Margaret Cunneen SC, uncovered no evidence to show that senior police ever tried to ensure child abuse offences were not properly investigated. History will not be kind to Commissioner Cunneen. We now know that Police did conceal evidence, destroyed or ‘lost’ statements by victims and witnesses, and police had evidence that the Catholic Church was intimidating witnesses and victims so they would not go to the police with their claims.  These matters were all later revealed during the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission.

It seems during the time covered in Peter Fox’s book, good priests who tried to expose child sexual abuse by fellow clergy were ostracised in their parishes, honest police were leaving the police force and school principals were driven out of their jobs for trying to protect children under their care. Every one of them paid a heavy price, some tragically more than others.

This is a well written book which may have been enhanced with a reference index notating names, important events and dates to enable the reader to traverse the wealth of information contained in the book.

‘Walking Towards Thunder’ will give readers a close up look at how a hard-working, honest police officer fought the powerful Catholic Church and the NSW police force to protect victims of clergy sexual abuse from further abuse and to stop more children being abused in the future. He and his family have paid a huge price. I have no doubt he will be vindicated. It is also a must read for all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. Simply by victims revealing what had happened to them, meant they were vilified by people in their own parishes for tarnishing the reputation of their beloved church.  Most of the books about Catholic paedophilia I have read and reviewed, were written by victims and survivors or their families. Peter Fox’s book gives us a clear view of this Catholic scourge from a different angle, thereby revealing just how the Church hierarchy in Australia was able to coverup the rapes of hundreds of innocent children for decades.

-Anne Frandi-Coory 24 September 2019



Opinion piece by Geoffrey Robertson QC published in The Sydney Morning Herald

1st March 2019

Catholic symbol


News of George Pell’s conviction was a fitting end to a papal summit on child abuse which achieved nothing and began with other cardinals attributing the problem to homosexuals in the priesthood.

red George Pell

The reality is that priests abuse small boys not because they are gay but because they have the opportunity. Most are not even paedophiles, but rather sexually maladjusted, immature and lonely individuals unable to resist the temptation to exploit their power over children who are taught to revere them as the agents of God.

A church that has tolerated the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children – a crime against humanity in any definition – needs to face unpalatable truths and to make drastic reforms.

Cover-ups are no longer an option. The magnitude of the crimes is well-established and the evidence of how the Vatican and its bishops hushed them up in order to protect the reputation and finances of the Catholic Church is fully proved.

By insisting upon its right to deal with allegations under medieval Canon Law weighted in favour of the defendant and providing no effective punishment, the church itself became complicit.

It has allowed abusive priests to confess without fear of any report to police; it has encouraged bishops to withhold information from prosecuting authorities; it has refused to allow Vatican envoys (papal nuncios) to co-operate with government inquiries on the excuse that it is a state [which it is not, according to International Law!] and hence they have diplomatic immunity.


The necessary reforms must begin with recognition that child sexual abuse is a crime, not just a sin, and must be reported to and dealt with by prosecuting authorities.

Canon Law, with its pathetic punishments of prayer and penitence, and its obligations to keep proceedings secret, must have no part in dealing with allegations of sex abuse.

Nor can the veil of confidentiality any longer be allowed to shroud the confessions of paedophiles, let alone the absolution of one priest by another (“Brother, can you spare a crime?”) The confessed abuser must be told to confess to the police or else be handed over to them.

Obviously, there should be zero tolerance for clerics who confess or are convicted. They must be defrocked and certainly not allowed any appeal to the Vatican, which in the past has permitted many to remain in holy orders – the sheep’s clothing in which they have often reoffended.

Even in countries where local bishops have announced that public prosecutors will be told of sex abuse allegations, there is always the qualification “only if the victim consents”.

It is all too easy for young victims and trusting parents to be counselled that their child’s best interests lie in allowing the church to deal with the matter “in its own way” without involving the police. They give in easily to pressure and persuasion that their complaints should be dealt with in secret under canon law.

Abolishing the role of Canon Law in dealing with sex crimes will take some papal courage, but will be relatively easy, beside the radical changes necessary to stop the abuse from happening in the first place.

The reform most often suggested is to abandon celibacy. This would not be doctrinally difficult – Christ’s disciples appear to have been married and the rule was a dogma introduced in the 11th century and almost abolished by 16th-century reformers.

But marriage does not “cure” paedophilia. Moreover, many abusive priests are not paedophiles: their disordered personalities can often be ascribed to conditions that would prevent them from forming satisfactory heterosexual relationships. Abuse happens because they are too weak or emotionally immature to resist temptation.

That temptation arises because the church indoctrinates children at an early age – as young as seven or eight – that the priest is the agent of God. Communion is an awesome miracle performed by the God-priest, and then the impressionable and nervous child is made to confess his sins and seek forgiveness, from God, represented again by the priest.


The phenomenon of children’s unflinching obedience to sexual requests from the priest is induced by “reverential fear”: the victims have such emotional and psychological dependence on the abuser that they unquestionably obey and do not tell for many years afterwards.

It follows that the only reform that could tackle the evil of clerical sexual abuse at its source would be to raise the age at which children are first given communion and confession to, say, 13. Other churches, and the Jewish faith, leave indoctrination and spiritual commitment rituals until teenage-hood. By this stage young people are much more capable of resisting sexual advances and have more courage to report them.

Could the Pope ever contemplate this reform? The Jesuits say “Give me the boy at seven …” and now we know what this has meant. But if such reforms are not implemented, there must be consequences.

One consequence could be to reconsider, not the state, but the statehood of the Vatican. It is, after all, the only religion allowed this elevated status, with diplomatic immunities, expensive embassies and a role at the UN where it condemns programs that help homosexuals or propose family planning or gender equality.

Yet it is in reality no more than a religious enclave in Rome, without the attributes of sovereignty or even an indigenous population (no one is born there, except by accident). If it continues as an organisation that facilitates the abuse of children, it should have no immunities.

Geoffrey Robertson QC is a former UN Appeal Judge and author of The Case of the Pope (Penguin). See my review of his book here:  The Case of the Pope

I have posted this letter on my blog because it encapsulates so much that women like me, who spent all of their formative years in Catholic Institutions, want to say.

Anne in convent clothes

Anne Frandi-Coory  in Mercy Orphanage clothes aged about eight years old

Letter dated 27 August 2018.

Dear Nicola,

Thank-you for your email asking me to donate a ‘voucher, product or service’ to the Holy Virgin Mary Primary School fete.

Unfortunately I am unable to help as, unlike you, I do not support wealthy powerful corrupt international child sex rings. Supporting an organisation that promotes misogyny, homophobia, racism, violence, discrimination, sex negativity, body shaming and hypocrisy is also something I find morally repugnant. But each to their own.

It’s curious you did not mention the words ‘Catholic’ ‘Christian’ or ‘religious’ in your email asking for donations. One would assume these core tenants of your school’s values would be proudly promoted, not excluded, in order to attract donations from businesses that align with abusing children, shaming victims, protecting child rapists and other ‘traditional Catholic values’.

Supporting an organisation that has systematically and unapologetically sexually, physically, emotionally and financially abused children and adults for thousands of years would damage my reputation and impact negatively on my business. Unlike the Catholic Church, I pay tax, rates etc and have not lied to the poor, manipulated the ignorant, stolen from the the powerless, and sucked up to the powerful in order to accumulate immense wealth.

May I suggest if you are running low on funds you approach the Melbourne diocese for cash. Despite grossly and intentionally undervaluing its property portfolio (under oath) to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Catholic Church is valued at over $9 billion in Victoria, over $30 billion in Australia and more than $200 billion worldwide.

These figures are not surprising considering the average pay out to the handful of brave child sex abuse victims who have had the courage to speak out is only $45,800. As you know this pathetic and pitiful amount is due to skilled, expensive and determined lawyers and a victim blaming culture that has indoctrinated followers with a culture of fear, shame and secrecy, which you enable, and are asking me to support. I’m afraid it’s a no from me.

As a feminist I most definitely could not in good conscience donate anything to a school that bases it’s values around a book that considers women only virgins, whores, martyrs, slaves and incubators, but instructs them clearly “Wives, submit to you husbands as to the Lord” Ephesians 5:22.

I won’t keep you because I’m sure you are busy tending to your dozen or so children as a consequence of not using contraception or fertility control, keeping in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Although it’s likely you have slaves to help you run your household, considering not only does the the Bible approve of owning people but clearly instructs how slaves should behave; “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel” – Peter 2:18.

I assume you don’t work either as I can’t imagine it would be easy to find paid employment when the Bible says  “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent” – Timothy 2:12. But perhaps you work as a presenter on Channel Nine.

Your offer to promote ‘kind contributions through our Facebook pages, our newsletters (school and parish) and our sponsors’ honour board where business flyers and promotional material can be displayed’ would bankrupt me over night.

As for your assertion that donating to your fete ‘is a great way to get your business’ name out there further in the local community’;  having my support would look great for you but would lead to a total collapse of my business and self worth. I rely on my values and reputation to run my business and sleep peacefully at night.

May I share with you one of my favourite psalms that I am sure, as someone who has read the Bible, you’ll be familiar with,

“Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks” – Psalm 137:9

Peace be with you.

Yours in the fellowship of Satan Prince Of Darkness,

-Catherine Deveny


More about Catherine Deveny here:


Tony Abbott


Dear Mr Tony Abbott,

former prime minister of Australia (2013 – 2015) you’re also a former Catholic priest,  who is still a devout Catholic, who has defended Catholic paedophile clergy, and who has not once stood up and denounced the Catholic Church for its failure to protect children! Shame on you, you hypocrite!

You have stated that “we store up trouble for ourselves by letting in people [Africans] who are difficult to integrate.” It takes at least three generations for immigrants to truly assimilate in my experience and in the meantime we should give them all the help they need to settle in!

I put it to you Mr Abbott, that if African Australians had raped and destroyed as many children as your Catholic clergy have done in Australia, you’d be out there with the rest of your Catholic controlled LNP government either locking them up or deporting them asap! But instead your own government even refuses to deport an Irish paedophile priest because he might get a hard time back in Ireland.

Irish-born Catholic priest Finian Egan was transferred to Australia in 1959, and he soon began committing sexual crimes against Australian children. The Catholic Church protected him in Australia for the next five decades until some of his victims (with help from Broken Rites) succeeded in getting him convicted. A Sydney court sentenced Egan to a minimum of four years in jail, and this sentence expired on 19 December 2017, when Egan was released, aged 82. According to church law, Father Egan still retains his priestly status (but is retired from parish work). In 2018, the Australian immigration authorities tried to deport Father Egan back to Ireland but Egan is contesting this order with support from church sources, including support from his previous superior in Sydney, Bishop Peter Comensoli. In 2018, Bishop Comensoli has become the new archbishop of Melbourne. – Broken Rites.


Saying sorry to all those thousands of Australian children raped by paedophile Catholic priests and brothers just does not cut it prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

malcolm turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull, current prime minister of Australia

It is Catholic clergy who find it so difficult to integrate into normal Australian society; who instead have been sexually abusing Australian children unabated for decades. Catholic dogma decrees that once a child is baptised a Catholic it is owned by the Church, to do with as it wishes! And for centuries the Catholic Church has ripped babies from mothers’ arms, sold babies, kidnapped children from native families whose countries they have invaded, forbidden  “fallen women” (unwed mothers) to have any contact with their children! Give me African immigrants any day over Catholic clergy, Mr Abbott.


UPDATE: As of the 24 August 2018 Scott Morrison deposed Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister of Australia in a coup led by the far right faction of the LNPGovt  which includes Tony Abbott, , Peter Dutton, Kevin Andrews, and Eric Abetz. Time now for Tony Abbott to resign from Parliament, or better still, for him to lose his seat at the next election in 2019.

Angela comments on my Post: Clerical Paedophilia Centuries Old Timebomb…

19 September, 201310:30 am

It’s beyond comprehension to think this religion [Catholic Church] uses a mask of love, trust & honesty where in reality it’s been the most evil establishment on earth for centuries.

I’m feeling sick to the stomach to think we now have a Prime Minister running our country who himself chose to run to the aid of a convicted child sex offender with only one goal on his mind and that was having Nestor’s conviction overturned. After having full knowledge of the charges & having access to the court documents – he turned his back on those innocent little children & chose to support the perpetrator. TONY ABBOTT formed part of that ‘protection ring’….I’m ashamed to acknowledge him as Australia’s Prime Minister!  – Angela


Father Kevin O'Donnell

Paedophile Father Kevin O’Donnell


In my blog post dated 2 July 2013 How Catholic Dogma Aided Paedophile Priests’ I wrote about Chrissie and Anthony Foster’s book in which they describe how two of their daughters’ lives were destroyed when they were repeatedly raped from the age of five, by Catholic paedophile priest, Father Kevin O’Donnell.


Hell on way to heaven


During the long battle to save their oldest daughter Emma, from more attempts at suicide by drug overdose and self-harm, she was admitted to one psychiatric unit / detox. clinic after another, over the years. Emma struggled, with some success, along with the loving help of her family, to overcome her addictions. It was a one-step-forward and a two-steps-back progress. Try as she might, Emma could not erase from her memory, what Father Kevin O’Donnell had done to her.

Emma was fast running out of psychiatric unit options because of her continual breaking of the units’ rules. However, one day in desperation, her mother found her a placement in a clinic run by the Catholic Church. Although she was hesitant about sending Emma there, she was comforted after being reassured that all the counsellors were professionals. But Emma had only been in the unit for a few days, when she phoned her mother and told her that a woman at her counselling sessions was a ‘practising Catholic and wore a cross’.  Emma was agitated and anxious. This woman was pressuring Emma to admit she was at fault for the abuse she was subjected to. Later that day, Mrs Foster rang the manager of the unit and explained her concerns about what Emma had told her. The manager stated that it wouldn’t have been a qualified counsellor and she had no idea who the woman was. She suggested Emma may have been speaking to a tea lady or cleaning staff.

A few months before she died at 26 years of age, from an overdose of her medication, Emma refused to see or talk to her mother. Chrissie Foster was hurt and bewildered. She was devoted to her daughter’s welfare and recovery, as was Mr Foster and their extended family. In the past, Emma had written many notes and diary entries, declaring how much she loves her family and how supportive of her they always are. But, she adds, her mother is the one she loves the most; she is always there for her.  That’s why Mrs Foster found it difficult to understand why Emma didn’t want to talk to her. She was hopeful that it meant Emma was trying to stand on her own two feet, and this could be a good turn of events.

Following Emma’s death, Mrs Foster had the heartbreaking task of packing up Emma’s belongings from her bedroom in the house she had loved, had decorated and furnished herself.  Loose sheets of paper were lying about all over the place. After collecting them up in a bundle, Mrs Foster sat reading the many notes Emma had jotted down in her neat hand writing.  A few of the diary notes covered her stay at the Catholic unit. She writes about the counselling sessions she attended and how traumatic they were because the counsellor was very critical and angry:  Why had she not run away? Why had she not told anyone about the abuse at the time? Why didn’t she call out?  Emma wrote: I told her I was five or six, he had all the power. Emma also wrote that she was made to feel it was her fault she had been abused. Anyone who has read Chrissie Foster’s book will know how those options would have been impossible for Emma given her age, the school environment in which the sexual abuse took place and her Catholic upbringing.  But most of all, they would have been impossible because Kevin O’Donnell was a paedophile with over 50 years experience. His victims describe him as an old man who was  frightening and angry. He continuously told them they were evil while he raped them.

Mrs Foster could not stop thinking about this ‘practising Catholic’ who was posing, unchallenged, as a psychiatric counsellor.   She believed no psychiatric unit in the 21st Century in Australia should be employing untrained counsellors. The woman obviously wouldn’t believe a priest was capable of sexually abusing children.  The ‘counsellor’ had intimated to a troubled Emma that she held priests in the highest esteem but despised the victims who claimed that priests had sexually assaulted them.

A distraught Mrs Foster phoned the Catholic Psychiatric Unit on a Sunday morning to enquire after a counsellor.  To her shock and horror, the helpful receptionist informed Mrs Foster that there was a nun on duty 24/7 to talk to patients.  So it was a nun who was employed as a professional counsellor at the unit and who was responsible for turning Emma against her mother. Emma had said to another person not long before her death, that the abuse was her mother’s fault, her own fault, and that the counsellor had angrily told her that Father O’Donnell had not raped her.

It becomes clear in Chrissie Foster’s book ‘Hell On The Way To Heaven’ how much Emma’s stay in the Catholic psychiatric unit affected and undermined her inner resolve to overcome her addictions and get her life back on track once again.  The years of addictions and self harm had taken their toll, but Emma was making progress, albeit slow. However, once she was coerced into severing ties with her family, and to rely completely on the unit for all her support,  she had come full circle; under the control of staff who preached Catholic dogma. Her fragile psychiatric condition could no longer put up a fight. She died alone in the house her parents had helped her buy with her share of the compensation money the Catholic Church had finally awarded to her and her family, after years of legal battles.


Anthony and Chrissie Foster

I know full well, from my time as an observant and devout Catholic child, the esteem and reverence in which most nuns hold priests. They too believe that priests are representatives of God himself upon this earth, and can do no wrong. Nuns are true brides of Christ.


-Anne Frandi-Coory 7 July 2013  …  Read more here: How Catholic Dogma Aided Paedophile Priests

Hell on way to heaven

Emma and Katie Foster 

.Updated 2 November 2016

*****Chrissie Foster, author of  Hell On The Way To Heaven has just been nominated for the 2017 Victorian Local Hero award

At the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse, Catholic Arch Bishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, made the astonishing statement that “celibacy has worked well for the Church…… men do not need a sexual outlet…..”

He went on to say that if priests couldn’t cope without sex, they were quickly defrocked.  Why were paedophile priests not instantly defrocked, but sent to poor parishes like Ballarat and Doveton, for instance?


Chrissie and Anthony Foster

Well, I also want to know why thousands and thousands of girls and boys worldwide, over centuries, have been raped by Catholic priests? Celibacy is the biggest joke the Catholic Church has played on us…priests have mistresses, visit prostitutes and rape children!

 Jesus, if he existed at all, was not a celibate; in fact he married twice. Even the most saintly man finds celibacy difficult!

Former PM Tony Abbott, while LNP Leader of the Opposition, a failed Catholic priest, threatened to demolish the Royal Commission by withholding extra funding. It took an atheist female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to set up the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse.


I have just finished reading  Hell On The Way To Heaven by Chrissie Foster.

Mrs Foster’s story was highlighted when there was a push in Victoria for an investigation into the sexual assault of hundreds of children throughout the state of Victoria by paedophile Catholic priests and Brothers, over several decades.

In the book, Mrs Foster describes how the lives of her two young daughters, Emma and Katie, were destroyed by a paedophile priest. They were both raped at around 5 years of age by Father Kevin O’Donnell who was then aged in his seventies.  Emma and Katie were raped repeatedly over several years and eventually Emma killed herself with an overdose of drugs. She had attempted suicide many times over the years.


Father Kevin O'Donnell

Paedophile priest Father Kevin O’Donnell


Katie tried to drown her memories of what Kevin O’Donnell did to her with alcohol and now suffers from severe brain damage.  When Katie was 15 years old she was hit by a car driven by a drunken driver while crossing a road after a drinking binge.  The resultant brain damage left her with no short term memory. The memories of her repeated rape by O’Donnell are the clearest and she lives with them everyday. If that isn’t hell, well I don’t know what is!  The book is harrowing reading because of what a Catholic priest did to these innocent young girls and the hundreds of other boys and girls he raped and sexually assaulted over a period of some 50 years.  There is also evidence that he had young men calling on him in the early hours of the morning for sex. Whether or not he had sexually assaulted these young men when they were boys, we will probably never know.

Mrs Foster blames herself for blindly following her Catholic faith which she believes prevented her from recognising the early signs that her daughters were being sexually assaulted by this beast.  But the really devastating truth about the sexual assault of hundreds of children is that the Catholic Church did nothing to stop it. Over the years several children and their parents complained to Bishops, including George Pell, and other priests, about Kevin O’Donnell’s behaviour, but they were not believed.  Or O’Donnell was shifted elsewhere. One priest told a worried parent to keep her accusation quiet.

Emma and Katie were attending a Catholic school in Victoria when Kevin O’Donnell was the priest in charge of the local diocese. His control was all-encompassing; the local church, local schools, principals and teachers. His commands were law. As Mrs Foster puts it, this was the perfect setup for a paedophile. Without the knowledge of parents, O’Donnell could call into any classroom he liked, request a particular child to go with him on some fictitious errand. Or he would simply walk amongst the children on the playground until he sighted a child who would fulfil his loathsome needs.  He would then take that girl or boy to a locked room at the back of the school hall or a disused Church cottage, and do whatever he liked with them. That was of course after they drank the drugged can of coke he offered them. He was cunning and experienced. To ply these very young children with alcohol would alert their teachers by smell and behaviour, that something was amiss. The children would all have to return to their classrooms after this disgusting excuse for a human being was finished with them. Mrs Foster and her husband, Anthony Foster, never found out what drug O’Donnell used to subdue their daughters, although a doctor did suggest that it was probably some form of valium.

If teachers complained about O’Donnell’s behaviour and his practice of taking children out of classrooms during school hours without parental consent, they bore the brunt of O’Donnell’s foul temper and some even lost their teaching positions. If nuns issued complaints to the Church hierarchy, they were ignored. There was nowhere else to turn; Father Kevin O’Donnell had the diocese and parish in his tight grip. Even when some parishioners were told of O’Donnell’s offending, they refused to believe it and so O’Donnell was able to continue sexually assaulting children with impunity.

Mr Foster is an atheist who had promised to bring his children up as Catholics and send them to Catholic schools as part of the marriage agreement with his future wife, a devout Catholic. Mrs Foster believes it was her own upbringing as a Catholic that allowed her to trust so much in priests. After all, weren’t they the representatives of God here on earth?  Weren’t priests placed in the Catholic community to protect children and support parents?  Even when she thought O’Donnell’s behaviour odd, Mrs Foster believed that he was always right in all things. He took his instruction from the pope who was infallible. To disobey a priest was a mortal sin.

You will be in disbelief, as were the Fosters, at some of the tactics used by the Catholic Church to exonerate itself from any blame for paedophile priests, such as the entrenched loophole in the truth called  Mental Reservation, or mentalis restrictio in the Latin. It is a theological strategy dating back centuries.  In effect, the idea of truths ‘expressed partly in speech and partly in the mind.’ e.g. A priest could answer with lies, obfuscation and ambiguity in court, under oath, but then under his breath tell Jesus that he lied to protect the Church.  This follows Canon Law, but not perjury laws of the Australian Legal system. Survivors of Catholic paedophilia who witnessed Pell and other clergy give evidence,  believe that George Pell, his priests and bishops, used Mental Reservation  time and again to protect paedophile Christian Brothers and Catholic priests, including when answering questions at the Melbourne Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses Into Sexual Abuse Of Children.

I have often wondered over the years if my mother had not been such a devout Catholic, would she have been able to overcome her traumatic childhood? She never stopped praying to God and relying on priests and nuns to help her through all the difficult times. And there were many of those.The Catholic Church always seemed to let her down when she most needed its support. Perhaps if she hadn’t been so indoctrinated, so reliant on a non-existent god, she may have sought some other avenue of support, like professional counselling. When you are in the Catholic system, it is very difficult to get off the treadmill. The spectre of committing a sin, with the prospect of going to hell, is a great deterrent for those with a strong faith. If you needed guidance or counselling, you visited your parish priest.  If you were having problems with your children, you sent them to a priest for a talking to.

Mr & Mrs Foster were hopeful of gaining support and empathy when they were finally given an appointment with Archbishop George Pell after numerous letters, and requests to talk to him, were ignored. They asked him to take action against O’Donnell and had prepared a huge file on the suffering of their two daughters at the hands of O’Donnell. But the newly promoted Archbishop Pell was arrogant, evasive and rude, while refusing to believe that O’Donnell was a paedophile. Pell insisted that…  ‘It’s all gossip until proven in court. And I don’t listen to gossip!’ The Fosters would have to go to court before the Catholic Church would give them financial assistance for all the doctors’, psychiatrists’ and hospital bills that were mounting around the disintegration of their daughters’ lives.  Much later they were offered $50,000 for Emma by Pell, but they would have had to sign a confidentiality clause and would not be able to sue the Church. The Fosters turned it down.

Eventually the Fosters did receive compensation after many years pursuing the Church with the help of lawyers. It’s a testament to this couple that their marriage has survived the years of suffering they and their three daughters have endured at the hands of the Catholic Church. Their youngest daughter only escaped O’Donnell’s debauchery because by the time she was at school, he had retired from the parish.  He died before the Fosters and police could take any action against him.  The Church would protect its priests and the reputation of the Catholic Church at all costs. It was clearly evident in Pell’s actions and his  treatment of the Fosters, that the welfare of the victims of paedophile priests was of no concern to him.  In fact one of the official excuses that the Church relied on was that it was unaware of the harmful effect sexual assault had on children and that’s the reason they hadn’t taken any action against offending priests! Their role was to support priests and shield them from State Law.

I can relate to Mrs Foster’s claim in the book that it was only in the years following the shock of discovering what had happened to her daughters, and the loss of her faith, that she realised how brainwashed she had been by the Catholic system. Going to church every Sunday, regular confessions even though she had committed no sin, prayers every night.  Of course total obedience to priests was mandatory under Canon Law, which she faithfully inculcated into her daughters, as her own mother had done with her. By the time she could see her past without the blinkers of blind trust, she was 40 years old. I was 17 and had just entered the workforce when I began to suspect that what I had been taught in all the Catholic institutions I’d lived in, on and off for the previous 17 years, was not based on reality. But it took much longer to throw of the yoke of indoctrination,

I too had it so clear in my mind, that when I went out into the world, I would be looked after by God because I had been such a good Catholic girl. This is what religious brainwashing does to you. You believe everything priests tell you, even if it overrules what your parents tell you. Or even what common sense might tell you!  I can still remember when I was a little girl in class asking the nun if I had to love God more than my own father. She had just told us that we had to love God more than anyone else in the world because he was our true ‘father’. She insisted that was the case. I never stopped thinking about it and even believed I was committing a sin because I didn’t think I could love God more than my father. But I still trusted in God for everything in life.

Through all that the Fosters were suffering, Mrs Foster researched the way paedophiles groom children for their own sexual gratification. She was part of a group that wanted to alert other parents to the dangers by giving them information to help identify the signs children might exhibit if they were being sexually assaulted. Meanwhile the Catholic Church did nothing to inform parents that O’Donnell may have sexually assaulted their children and to seek help if they had any suspicions.  Mrs Foster also used her daughters’ recollections of how O’Donnell was able to lure them away from safe environments. She tells us that no child can know how to protect themselves from a determined paedophile, and Father Kevin O’Donnell was a paedophile with 50 years’ experience.

Mrs Foster did her best while O’Donnell was still alive, to urge Archbishop Pell to defrock O’Donnell so that he could never use his priesthood to harm other children. But Pell would not hear of it, even though O’Donnell had recently been convicted for several counts of past sexual assaults on young boys. At the time O’Donnell was convicted for these particular sexual offences, the victims were grown men. The police informed the Fosters that these were representative charges only as there were so many it would have taken years for them all to be processed and heard in court! The police were anxious to do what Cardinal Pell & his church would not do; get O’Donnell behind bars where he could no longer sexually assault children. The Fosters’ other concern was that when O’Donnell was released from prison, the fact he was still a priest  would enable him to use his position of trust to go on offending.

When O’Donnell was retired he was sent to live in a unit close to St Mary’s Church in his former parish of Dandenong. He began officiating at Mass on Saturdays. When complaints were made to Father Noel O’Brady that children were visiting O’Donnell at his unit, he took those complaints to the archdiocese.  The ‘appropriate authority’ instructed Father O’Brady that  ‘It’s not happening on Church property…we’re not responsible.’  O’Donnell was supported and protected by the Catholic Church until he died.  It couldn’t have done this if he had been laicised. Obviously the Church knew what O’Donnell had been doing for decades, and right up until the end of his life, his welfare came before the hundreds of children whose lives he had totally destroyed. Many have committed suicide, many will never come forward, most continue to suffer.

I urge all parents who send their children to a Catholic school or intend sending their children to one, please read Chrissie Foster’s book ‘Hell On The Way To Heaven’ if only to be aware of the telling signs that your child might be vulnerable to sexual assault and to ensure that what happened to her beautiful girls will never happen again.

Think clearly and make sure you know what is contained in the Catholic Catechism the schools use to instruct the children in Catholic dogma.

-Anne Frandi-Coory … read more here about ‘Hell On The Way To Heaven’ 


Visit: Royal Commission Into Sexual Abuse Of Australian Children

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