Yesterday’s mass at the Betoota Catholic Church saw an impassioned plea from local priest Father Rocco, asking the congregation to please donate what they could to help the institution hide, protect and relocate controversial clergyman who have been accused of horrific crimes against children
“Please. No gesture is too big or too small” said Father Rocco Spighter.
“Whatever you can give helps us relocate these alleged abusers from their current parish to somewhere quiet like Mt Isa or Tamworth’s outskirts before inevitably putting them on a plane to Fiji or Cambodia”
These requests appear a bit uneccessary after today’s revelations from Fairfax media that finds the Catholic Church has wildly undervalued itself during the Royal Commission.
Numbers reported today reveal the church in Victoria holds assets worth more than $9 billion. Nationally, the figure is more than $30 billion.
It’s the largest non-government property owner, by value, in Victoria, and close to the largest in Australia, rivalling Westfield with its vast network of shopping centres.
Questions around the wealth of the church arose during the infantile stages of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2014 – in particular, Cardinal George Pell’s testimony that the church had spent $800,000 in a legal assault on John Ellis, a former altar boy abused by a priest in the 1970s who was chasing $100,000 in emotional redress for the trauma he suffered at the hands of rock spiders.
However, this cloud of mystery surrounding the wealth of the institution, which is believed to have host over 20,000 pedophiles in Australian parishes over the last 100 years, hasn’t yet reached the Betoota parish.
“Thank you for your generosity” said Father Rocco.
“It will be very much appreciated by our faceless fixers in Victoria”