Bishop Finnigan accused of trying to protect himself and the church over compassion and truth for victims of sexual abuse.
Bishop Finnigan is back on the stand.
Told inquiry he cannot hear questions so is offered a hearing-aid but still unable to recall any information about what he knew about a boy who had been abused by Ridsdale.
Fr McDermott is being grilled about disgraced priest Paul David Ryan’s appointment to Penshurst Parish and subsequent leave to go to the United States.
In a document tendered to the commission Ryan voices his desire to escape from “temptation” and travel to America.
Fr McDermott is back on the stand.
Fr McDermott is being questioned about his handling of a complaint from mother BAE who wanted Ridsdale removed from the Mortlake parish immediately.
BAE said she had concerns about Ridsdale being anywhere near children including her son.
Fr McDermott told the inquiry there were no directives or protocols to handle allegations of sexual abuse.
“There were no protocols at this time in the diocese,” he said. “No written directives about how to handle these matters.”
Fr McDermott admits his “faith and belief” in Bishop Mulkearns to take action was “misplaced.”
Fr McKinnon told the inquiry the bishop’s consultors never questioned him.
Admits to the commission that it was a failing on his part and the part of other consultors not to push further.
Fr Mckinnon told the inquiry the idea of celibacy and chastity means priests often miss out on life experience.
“I sometimes wonder whether the fact we’re celibate means that we miss out on the normal incentive to grow,” he told the inquiry.
Fr McKinnon tells inquiry he had an “instinct of dislike” for Paul Ryan.
Also tells inquiry he cannot recall when he became aware of his offending against children.
He is now being probed about disgraced priest Paul Ryan’s resignation in 1991.
The resignation was discussed at a meeting lead by Bishop Mulkearns but Fr McKinnon said he has no recollection if the circumstances surrounding his resignation were discussed.
Fr Mckinnon is being questioned about his knowledge of Ridsdale’s trip for treatment to New Mexico.
He told inquiry he is unsure if he knew why Ridsdale before he left but understand the reasons behind it by the time he returned from treatment.
Fr McKinnon said inquiry into the Catholic Church was needed to change the culture of the church.
“We need people from the outside looking in,” Fr McKinnon said.
“’It’s so hard when you’re part of the culture to recognise what you’re in or what it’s like.”
Fr McKinnon said support groups were held for priests to break down the “isolation of the diocese” during late 1980s and early 1990s.
Next to take the stand is retired Ballarat priest Father John McKinnon.
Fr McKinnon was visiting paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in prison in the lead-up to the commission hearing in Ballarat in May.
Fr McKinnon is being questioned by the inquiry about whether paedophilia was ever raised as a reason why Ridsdale kept being moved from parish to parish.
“It could have been any number of problems other than paedophilia,” Fr McKinnon said.
“Well, certainly he (Bishop Ronald Mulkearns) never gave paedophilia as a reason.”
Justice Peter McClellan told the inquiry by 1988, it was widely know in clergy circles that priests were offending against children.
Fr McKinnon told the inquiry he does not recall if he was aware there was an issue with paedophilia at this time.
“I’m not sure...I just don’t seem to be able to put things in order, whole things in order,” Fr McKinnon told the inquiry.
He said “sexuality” never mentioned or discussed.
Fr McKinnon said after Ridsdale was arrested in 1993 he held a two-day session for priests who wanted to look at the issue of sexuality.
Retired Ballarat priest Brian McDermott was next to take the stand.
Fr McDermott was probed by the commission on when he first became aware of Ridsdale’s offending.
Fr McDermott told the commission it became clear to him that Ridsdale was offending against children in 1980 after a parishioner raised it with him.
“Yes that sort of became clearer when someone, a parishioner from Mortlake who I probably met at a funeral or something like that,” Fr McDermott said. “(The parishioner) started talking about there had been a big meeting and it was about Ridsdale and that it was common knowledge in Mortlake that Ridsdale was (offending against children).
Fr McDermott was also asked to stand down pending further investigations into a transcript of a private hearing.
Brisbane Bishop Brian Finnigan was the first witness to take the stand at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Bishop Finngan was questioned by the commission on a conversation he had with Father Frank Madden in which it’s alleged Fr Madden was attempting to keep allegations of Gerard Ridsdale’s misconduct quiet.
Fr Finnigan denied this was the nature of the conversation and he was asked to stand down by the inquiry's chair, Justice Peter McClellan pending further information which will be obtained from a redacted document tendered to the commission.
He also told the child sex abuse inquiry he had no knowledge of a meeting with disgraced priest Paul Ryan in which he told him he had to leave Penshurst Parish.
He also told the commission he had no knowledge of speaking to him or any other priest about their attraction to “adolescent boys or anyone else for that matter.”
Fr Finngan is also being questioned about evidence tendered to commission from witness BAE.