The Catholic Church continues to play hardball in its fight against a victim of notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, arguing to delay the civil compensation trial by at least 120 days.
However, the judge insisted the church file its defense by August 16.
The church is refusing to acknowledge its hierarchy knew Ridsdale - arguably Australia's most notorious paedophile priest with past convictions for assaults on more than 50 children - was a serial paedophile when he abused the victim.
The church's defence lawyer David Collins spent much of a hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday arguing about the use of the word "propensity" in the victim's statement of claim.
The court heard that a long list of pre-trial issues were yet to be finalised, meaning a trial set to begin on August 12 could not go ahead as planned.
It remains unclear when the trial will commence, but it could be delayed until 2020.
"There's been quite a few issues raised," Justice Michael McDonald said. "The trial date will need to be vacated."
The abuse victim, who was nine years old when he was raped in a confession box at Mortlake in 1982, is pursuing civil damages through the Victorian Supreme Court from Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird, on behalf of the diocese.
The church has denied any knowledge of Ridsdale's repeat offending before he went to Mortlake in the early 1980s.
It has acknowledged there was a one-off incident involving Ridsdale at Inglewood in 1975 but denies it was ever known he had a "propensity" for offending.
The church's lawyer Mr Collins objected to the use of the word "propensity" in the claim, arguing it demonstrated knowledge that a person's inclination or discretion was well-known or repeating.
The victim seeking compensation claims that former-Ballarat Bishop James O'Collins was told in about 1963 that Ridsdale had abused a boy in North Ballarat. He also claims former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew Ridsdale was a repeat offender when he appointed him to other parishes.
During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the church admitted that Bishop O'Collins told Ridsdale there had been a complaint, that Ridsdale had admitted molesting a boy and that the bishop had warned him that if it happened again he would no longer be able to serve as a priest.
Ridsdale, who was moved across the Ballarat Diocese by church authorities in a bid to protect its reputation, has admitted to abusing hundreds of victims and been jailed four times.