2 February 2003


Today's lesson: How not to lose a foot!

Stem cell sensation: Adult marrow breakthrough at St Vincent's

Sr Sue moves from refugees to Rome

Caritas and the 'Gospel edge'

Tsunami greeting for Sr Margaret

Schoolgirl passion rewarded

Deployment may put UN efforts at risk

Art as a measure of talent

Counselling for victims of drought

Vinnies survey to reveal real extent of poverty

Families excited but wary over Manila

Housing estate dwellers face job, life hurdles

Torchlight tours - dinosaurs in the dark

Embryonic stem cells - now States vote

Bishop's plea after priest convicted

Divine Word graduate to fill world Vinnies post

Neighbouring Canberra parishes hit

Archbishop pledges prayers, practical help

Pope sends his prayers

Editorial: Victory for ethics

Letters: Importance of rosary to a world in crisis

Conversation: Greg Magirescu, Catholic songwriter, musician - Music won Pope's stamp of approval

Hey! It's not so cool to be Catholic

Face Saddam, but in a 'just' cause only

Morality of war - the need to be informed

Australia Day Honours - Accolades for principals and principles

Pivotal role in caring for young

Sr Mary hated limelight

Life Ascending 'opens the Word of God to people'

St Mary's on the floor of St Peter's


Bishop's plea after priest convicted

The Bishop of Bunbury in Western Australia, Bishop Gerard Holohan, expressed shock and sorrow upon learning that one of his parish priests, Fr Adrian Van Klooster, had pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges.

But the bishop added a plea of his own - do not forget the good work of the majority of priests.

Fr Van Klooster, 60, was convicted of four counts of indecently recording children under the age of 13 and one count of possessing child pornography, on January 21 in the WA District Court.

The charges relate to his actions over two weekends last February.

"It is clear that these convictions are a violation of the ideals of the Catholic priesthood," Bishop Holohan said.

"They also violate the professional standards of Catholic clergy and religious as outlined in the Integrity and Ministry document - the official Church handbook of principles for public life and ministry.

"I am distressed that children have been innocent victims of crimes by a Catholic priest.

"I express my deepest sorrow to the victims and their families.

"My hope is that people will be fair-minded and not make negative judgements about the thousands of faithful priests because of these events.

"The priests of our Bunbury diocese continue to give their lives in service to others, often in relatively isolated and physically difficult situations.

"They serve people of all ages - the sick, the troubled and distressed, the dying and their families, those preparing for marriage, seafarers and many others.

"May the service of the overwhelming majority of priests not be forgotten because of the offences of a few."

Bishop Holohan said that he and the bishops of the other dioceses in which the priest had worked had never "heard the slightest hint of any kind of behaviour of this nature" before last February when Fr Van Klooster was arrested and charged.

"The period since the charges were laid has been a trying time for many people, but especially for the families of the victims," he said.

Fr Van Klooster, suspended from duty last year, will be sentenced on May 12.