Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle - Wikipedia

Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

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Jump to navigation Jump to search

Victims Unknown
Location
Location
CountryAustralia
TerritoryHunter and Mid North Coast regions of New South Wales
MetropolitanArchdiocese of Sydney
Coordinates32°55′24″S 151°45′15″E / 32.92333°S 151.75417°E / -32.92333; 151.75417
Statistics
Area33,757 km2 (13,034 sq mi)
Population - Total - Catholics (including non-members)(as of 2013) Increase 666,292 Increase 159,150 (23.9%)
Parishes50
Schools56 (2015)
Information
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteLatin Rite
Established25 June 1847 as the Diocese of Maitland
CathedralSacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
Current leadership
PopeFrancis
BishopVacant
Metropolitan ArchbishopAnthony Fisher OP
Website
mn.catholic.org.au

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is a suffragan Latin Rite diocese of the Archdiocese of Sydney, established in 1847 initially as the Diocese of Maitland and changed to the current name in 1995. The diocese covers the Hunter and Mid North Coast regions of New South Wales in Australia.

The diocese is considered to be one of the epicentres of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Australia, with scores of priests and religious brothers convicted of crimes against children. Two senior members of the diocese, Father Thomas Brennan and Brother William Wade, have also been convicted of concealing child sexual abuse.

History

Prior to the establishment of the diocese, the Hunter Region was under the administration of the Sydney archdiocese. The Catholic Church defines a diocese as '" portion of the people of God, which is entrusted to a bishop" or as "a community of Christ's faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop".[citation needed] The three most notable priests assigned to the Hunter Region, Therry, Dowling and Lynch, strived to build churches, schools and establish Catholic parishes. Six Catholic parishes established were East Maitland 1835 (the first Catholic church built north of Sydney was the first St Joseph's Church in 1835), Newcastle 1838, West Maitland 1841, Singleton 1845, Taree 1846, Raymond Terrace 1852.

During 1840 and 1845 Archbishop Bede Polding visited the whole Hunter Valley and laid foundation stones for churches at Wollombi and St John's at Campbell's Hill. The foundation stone was moved to West Maitland where St John the Baptist Church opened in 1846.

By a papal brief dated 27 May 1847, the Titular See of East Maitland was created with the Most Reverend Charles Henry Davis nominated as bishop. Bishop Davis was also the auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Sydney and lived in Sydney, never visiting his titular see in East Maitland, therefore the Titular See of East Maitland remained under the administration of the Archdiocese of Sydney until the Most Reverend James Murray was nominated Bishop of Maitland in 1865, taking possession of St John the Baptist Church, West Maitland, as his cathedral on 1 November 1866.

From 1866 the diocese extended to include Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Walgett and Coonamble. In 1887 the Diocese of Maitland reduced in size by exclusion of the Coonamble, Gunnedah and Tamworth districts.

In 1933, after servicing the diocese for 87 years, the original cathedral building became inadequate for the needs of the parish and the diocese. In July 1933, Bishop Edmund Gleeson CSsR officially announced that the Catholic Hall in Maitland would be converted to a pro-cathedral suitable as a place of worship. On 26 November 1933 the Catholic Hall was opened as the pro-cathedral and St John's officially closed.

In 1966 boundaries were again altered to exclude Kendall parish to Lismore but include the parishes of Belmont, Swansea, Toronto, Booragul, Teralba, which are the present boundaries of the diocese.

In 1989 the pro-cathedral suffered damage as a result of an earthquake and was closed. Discussions were then held and it was decided to convert the pro-cathedral to its former use as a hall and to reopen St John's as a chapel for the Central Maitland area. On 24 June 1994, Bishop Leo Clarke celebrated a Dedication of a Church service and thus St John's became a chapel for the area. The 1989 earthquake was also a catalyst to consolidate the diocesan administration offices on one site. This was achieved in 1995 by purchasing the Sisters of Mercy Convent at Hamilton and the former Sacred Heart Parish Primary School, Hamilton.

By papal brief dated 14 June 1995, the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle was created and on 16 July 1995 the Sacred Heart Church in Hamilton became the cathedral of the diocese.

The diocese was the focus of the Hunter Special Commission of Inquiry and case-study 43 in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Bishops

Ordinaries

The following individuals have been elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Maitland:

Order Name Date installed Term ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Charles Henry Davis, OSB 24 September 1846 17 May 1854 8 years, 235 days Died in office
2 James Murray 1865 9 July 1909 44 years, 189 days Died in office
3 Patrick Dwyer 9 July 1909 28 March 1931 21 years, 262 days Died in office
4 Edmund John Aloysius Gleeson, CSSR 28 March 1931 4 March 1956 24 years, 342 days Died in office
5 John Thomas Toohey 4 March 1956 24 September 1975 19 years, 204 days Died in office
6 Leo Morris Clarke 10 April 1976 3 November 1995 19 years, 207 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Maitland-Newcastle

The following individuals have been elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle:

Order Name Date installed Term ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Michael Malone 3 November 1995 4 April 2011 15 years, 152 days Following a 2009 request by Malone for early retirement due to the impact of the sex abuse scandal, which was rejected by the Vatican, Malone resigned in 2011
2 William Wright 4 April 2011 13 November 2021 10 years, 318 days

Coadjutor bishops

Other priests of the diocese who became bishops

Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hamilton acts as both the Hamilton parish church and the cathedral for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral building was opened in 1930 as the parish church of Hamilton and was consecrated by Bishop Edmund Gleeson in 1941, before becoming Sacred Heart Cathedral on 16 July 1995.

The Sacred Heart Church's foundations were dug with the physical aid of parishioners. The church was built virtually brick by brick on the dream of Monsignor Victor Francis Peters and through the generosity of parishioners who, in the midst of the Great Depression, bought bricks for an average of twopence each. A donation of ten pounds was the norm and, in total, 700,000 bricks were used.

Monsignor Peters was influenced by the architecture of the cathedral in Thurles in Ireland; the cathedral church of Philadelphia in the US and the brick work in front of the Pisa church in Italy. The foundation stone was laid on 23 September 1928. The first brick was laid on 1 February 1929 and the last brick just ten months later on 1 December 1929.

Sixty years later, the earthquake of 1989 caused considerable damage particularly to the belltower. The original concrete dome was replaced by one of copper and the original dome now stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the earthquake.

Parishes

The following parishes are situated within the diocese:

  • All Saints Blackbutt South
  • Beresfield
  • Blackbutt North
  • Boolaroo-Warners Bay
  • Booragul
  • Branxton
  • Cessnock
  • Denman
  • Dungog
  • East Lake Macquarie
  • East Maitland
  • Forster Tuncurry
  • Gloucester
  • Gresford
  • Krambach
  • Kurri Kurri
  • Lochinvar
  • MacKillop (Charlestown, Gateshead & Redhead)
  • Maitland
  • Mayfield
  • Mayfield West
  • Merriwa
  • Morisset
  • Morpeth
  • Murrurundi
  • Muswellbrook
  • Myall Coast
  • Nelson Bay
  • Newcastle St Benedict (includes Cathedral)
  • Raymond Terrace
  • Rutherford
  • Scone
  • Singleton
  • Stockton
  • Sugarloaf
  • Taree
  • Toronto
  • Wallsend-Shortland
  • Wingham

Child sexual abuse in the diocese

The diocese has been referred to as the "epicentre of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Australia" due to a number of abusive priests and religious brothers with extensive abuse records being jailed since 1997.

Archbishop Philip Wilson

In March 2015, NSW Police charged Archbishop Philip Wilson, then the Archbishop of Adelaide, of "concealing a serious offence regarding child sexual abuse in the Hunter region in 1978" when he was a priest in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. Wilson took leave and issued a statement saying he would "vigorously defend my innocence through the judicial system". Wilson's lawyer attempted to prevent the trial going ahead on medical grounds but this was refused. On 22 May 2018, Wilson was found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended, which Wilson would serve under home detention.

The Pope accepted Wilson's resignation on 30 July 2018. As an archbishop, Wilson was the most senior Catholic cleric in Australia to be convicted of not disclosing abuse by another priest to the police. On 6 December 2018, Wilson was acquitted of all charges.

In September 2021, following Wilson's successful appeal, the fourth volume of the 2014 Special Commission of Inquiry into allegations of cover-up of sexual abuse claims in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle found that Archbishop Wilson was an "unsatisfactory and unimpressive witness" and that he gave evidence the commissioners considered untruthful, self-serving and implausible. They found that Wilson had knowledge of sexual abuse of children committed by Father James Fletcher and Father Denis McAlinden. Wilson died on 17 January 2021.

Brother Christopher Wade

In June 2017, former Marist Brothers Hamilton headmaster Brother Christopher Wade was found guilty of child sex offences against two former students. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. On his release, Wade was charged with concealment offences and faced Sydney District Court on 28 February 2020. He pleaded guilty on two counts of failing to provide information to police during a 2014 child sex abuse investigation into Brother Romuald Cable and Brother Dominic O'Sullivan. Wade was sentenced to four months imprisonment, to be served in the community. In pleading guilty, Wade became the first senior Catholic in Australia to admit to concealing child sex crimes.

Father Thomas Brennan

In 2012, Father Tom Brennan was arrested and charged with two counts of misprisions of a felony, or failing to disclose a serious crime, relating to the alleged child sex offences by his colleague Father John Denham. The offences occurred at St Pius X School, Adamstown, where Brennan was the principal and Denham a teacher. Brennan was also charged with eight counts of sexual abuse and two counts of assault. It was the first time anywhere in the world that a senior Catholic church leader had been charged with concealing child abuse. Brennan died of cancer in October 2012 before the charges could be heard in court.

In 2018, the Catholic Church acknowledged Brennan's abuse. Bishop William Wright sent James Miller, one of Brennan's victims, a letter of apology. Wright wrote "As a Catholic priest, I feel great shame that an ordained priest of the Diocese chose to inflict his sexual desires upon you ... Brennan and all those who harmed children fundamentally betrayed their vocation. I am sorry."

List of convicted priests and religious brothers

The following is a list of priests and religious brothers from the diocese have been convicted of child sexual abuse or had allegations of child sexual abuse against them substantiated by the diocese or their religious order:

Priests

  • Monsignor Patrick Cotter - concealed child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Father Vincent Ryan - spent over 17 years in prison for child sexual abuse. Served another 14 months.
  • David O'Hearn - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John Sidney Denham - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • James "Jim" Fletcher - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Thomas Brennan - convicted of child sexual abuse, concealing child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Albert Davis - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by diocese, deceased
  • Denis McAlinden - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Francis Donovan - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Kenneth Hodgson - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Peter Brock - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Peter Quirk - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased[citation needed]
  • William Cantwell - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Paul Lane - convicted of child sexual abuse

Religious brothers

Marist Brothers

  • William "Christopher" Wade - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • William Francis "Romuald" Cable - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John "Dominic" O'Sullivan - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John "Dominic" Gleeson - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Peter Pemble - convicted of child sexual abuse
  • Terry Gilsenan - convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John "Nestor" Littler - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Donald Newtown - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased
  • Noel "Leon" Mackey - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased
  • Oswin McKinney - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased
  • Thomas "Patrick" Butler - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased

Hospitaller Order of St. John of God

  • Bernard Kevin McGrath - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John Marshall Clegg - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • Daniel John Slattery - convicted of child sexual abuse, awaiting sentencing
  • William Lebler - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Rodger Moloney - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • John Joseph "Bede" Donnellan - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the religious order, deceased
  • Raymond "Richard" Garchow - charged but deemed unfit for extradition to New Zealand, deceased

See also

References

  1. ^ Oriti, Thomas (30 August 2016). "Royal commission to explore child abuse 'epicentre' in Newcastle". ABC News.
  2. ^ "A senior priest covered up other priests' crimes — and he, too, abused children".
  3. ^ a b "History after Marist Brother pleads guilty to concealing serious child sex crimes". 28 February 2020.
  4. ^ H. Campbell, Dean Lynch: laying the foundations for Maitland diocese, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society 3 (3) (1971), 46-61.
  5. ^ "History | Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle".
  6. ^ News, A. B. C. (6 September 2019). "Secret report into alleged Catholic cover-ups identifies credibility issues among top clergymen". ABC News.
  7. ^ "Case Study 43: Catholic Church authorities in Maitland-Newcastle". 29 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2007.
  9. ^ "New NSW Bishop daunted but optimistic". The Record. Australia. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
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  12. ^ Crittenden, Stephen; Smith, Suzanne (17 May 2010). "Archbishop's handling of abuse claims challenged". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  13. ^ "Archbishop was 'shocked' when told of sexual abuse claims in 1970s, court told". 7 December 2017 – via www.abc.net.au.
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  15. ^ "Archbishop sentenced to 12 months' detention for child abuse cover-up". 3 July 2018 – via www.abc.net.au.
  16. ^ "Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson resigns after covering up child abuse". the Guardian. 30 July 2018.
  17. ^ Press, Australian Associated (6 December 2018). "Former archbishop Philip Wilson acquitted of covering up child sexual abuse". the Guardian.
  18. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (6 September 2019). "Archbishop Philip Wilson 'should have reported' notorious priest to police in 1990s: report". Newcastle Herald.
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  20. ^ Kelly, Matthew (30 September 2020). ""His inaction and silence thus contributed to terrible consequences": Marist Brother walks free for concealment crimes". Newcastle Herald.
  21. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (21 June 2017). "Brother Christopher Wade found guilty of child sex offences". The Sydney Morning Herald.
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  23. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (2 September 2019). "How an elderly woman became 'collateral damage' to the Catholic abuse tragedy". The Examiner.
  24. ^ "Paedophile Offenders: Father Tom Brennan | Kelso Lawyers". kelsolawyers.com.
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  28. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (20 March 2015). "Ignoring child-sex abuse is a crime in itself: we need to show leadership to protect children". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  29. ^ McCARTHY, JOANNE (22 September 2007). "Cotter's cover-up allowed Ryan to prey on boys for 17 years". Newcastle Herald.
  30. ^ "Vincent Ryan sexually abused more than 30 children. But he thinks he should remain a priest". 16 March 2020 – via www.abc.net.au.
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  33. ^ "'Burn in hell': Former priest Vincent Ryan to go back behind bars". 7NEWS.com.au. 22 May 2019.
  34. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (6 March 2018). "Priest David O'Hearn facing fresh child-sex charges". Newcastle Herald.
  35. ^ "NSW priest who assaulted victims during wrestling jailed". 22 August 2016 – via www.abc.net.au.
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  53. ^ "The Marist Brothers sheltered this pedophile, helping him to commit crimes against young boys". www.brokenrites.org.au.
  54. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (2 November 2018). "Marist child sex abuser cops loaf of bread to the head in jail". Newcastle Herald.
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  56. ^ "Brother Dominic Gleeson". Moody Law.
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External links

profile pic

Details

Location
CountryAustralia
TerritoryHunter and Mid North Coast regions of New South Wales
MetropolitanArchdiocese of Sydney
Coordinates32°55′24″S 151°45′15″E / 32.92333°S 151.75417°E / -32.92333; 151.75417
Statistics
Area33,757 km2 (13,034 sq mi)
Population
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2013)
Increase 666,292
Increase 159,150 (23.9%)
Parishes50
Schools56 (2015)
Information
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteLatin Rite
Established25 June 1847 as the Diocese of Maitland
CathedralSacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
Current leadership
PopeFrancis
BishopVacant
Metropolitan ArchbishopAnthony Fisher OP
Website
mn.catholic.org.au

Sources

Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle - Wikipedia

Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Victims Unknown
Location
Location
CountryAustralia
TerritoryHunter and Mid North Coast regions of New South Wales
MetropolitanArchdiocese of Sydney
Coordinates32°55′24″S 151°45′15″E / 32.92333°S 151.75417°E / -32.92333; 151.75417
Statistics
Area33,757 km2 (13,034 sq mi)
Population - Total - Catholics (including non-members)(as of 2013) Increase 666,292 Increase 159,150 (23.9%)
Parishes50
Schools56 (2015)
Information
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteLatin Rite
Established25 June 1847 as the Diocese of Maitland
CathedralSacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
Current leadership
PopeFrancis
BishopVacant
Metropolitan ArchbishopAnthony Fisher OP
Website
mn.catholic.org.au

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is a suffragan Latin Rite diocese of the Archdiocese of Sydney, established in 1847 initially as the Diocese of Maitland and changed to the current name in 1995. The diocese covers the Hunter and Mid North Coast regions of New South Wales in Australia.

The diocese is considered to be one of the epicentres of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Australia, with scores of priests and religious brothers convicted of crimes against children. Two senior members of the diocese, Father Thomas Brennan and Brother William Wade, have also been convicted of concealing child sexual abuse.

History

Prior to the establishment of the diocese, the Hunter Region was under the administration of the Sydney archdiocese. The Catholic Church defines a diocese as '" portion of the people of God, which is entrusted to a bishop" or as "a community of Christ's faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop".[citation needed] The three most notable priests assigned to the Hunter Region, Therry, Dowling and Lynch, strived to build churches, schools and establish Catholic parishes. Six Catholic parishes established were East Maitland 1835 (the first Catholic church built north of Sydney was the first St Joseph's Church in 1835), Newcastle 1838, West Maitland 1841, Singleton 1845, Taree 1846, Raymond Terrace 1852.

During 1840 and 1845 Archbishop Bede Polding visited the whole Hunter Valley and laid foundation stones for churches at Wollombi and St John's at Campbell's Hill. The foundation stone was moved to West Maitland where St John the Baptist Church opened in 1846.

By a papal brief dated 27 May 1847, the Titular See of East Maitland was created with the Most Reverend Charles Henry Davis nominated as bishop. Bishop Davis was also the auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Sydney and lived in Sydney, never visiting his titular see in East Maitland, therefore the Titular See of East Maitland remained under the administration of the Archdiocese of Sydney until the Most Reverend James Murray was nominated Bishop of Maitland in 1865, taking possession of St John the Baptist Church, West Maitland, as his cathedral on 1 November 1866.

From 1866 the diocese extended to include Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Walgett and Coonamble. In 1887 the Diocese of Maitland reduced in size by exclusion of the Coonamble, Gunnedah and Tamworth districts.

In 1933, after servicing the diocese for 87 years, the original cathedral building became inadequate for the needs of the parish and the diocese. In July 1933, Bishop Edmund Gleeson CSsR officially announced that the Catholic Hall in Maitland would be converted to a pro-cathedral suitable as a place of worship. On 26 November 1933 the Catholic Hall was opened as the pro-cathedral and St John's officially closed.

In 1966 boundaries were again altered to exclude Kendall parish to Lismore but include the parishes of Belmont, Swansea, Toronto, Booragul, Teralba, which are the present boundaries of the diocese.

In 1989 the pro-cathedral suffered damage as a result of an earthquake and was closed. Discussions were then held and it was decided to convert the pro-cathedral to its former use as a hall and to reopen St John's as a chapel for the Central Maitland area. On 24 June 1994, Bishop Leo Clarke celebrated a Dedication of a Church service and thus St John's became a chapel for the area. The 1989 earthquake was also a catalyst to consolidate the diocesan administration offices on one site. This was achieved in 1995 by purchasing the Sisters of Mercy Convent at Hamilton and the former Sacred Heart Parish Primary School, Hamilton.

By papal brief dated 14 June 1995, the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle was created and on 16 July 1995 the Sacred Heart Church in Hamilton became the cathedral of the diocese.

The diocese was the focus of the Hunter Special Commission of Inquiry and case-study 43 in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Bishops

Ordinaries

The following individuals have been elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Maitland:

Order Name Date installed Term ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Charles Henry Davis, OSB 24 September 1846 17 May 1854 8 years, 235 days Died in office
2 James Murray 1865 9 July 1909 44 years, 189 days Died in office
3 Patrick Dwyer 9 July 1909 28 March 1931 21 years, 262 days Died in office
4 Edmund John Aloysius Gleeson, CSSR 28 March 1931 4 March 1956 24 years, 342 days Died in office
5 John Thomas Toohey 4 March 1956 24 September 1975 19 years, 204 days Died in office
6 Leo Morris Clarke 10 April 1976 3 November 1995 19 years, 207 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Maitland-Newcastle

The following individuals have been elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle:

Order Name Date installed Term ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Michael Malone 3 November 1995 4 April 2011 15 years, 152 days Following a 2009 request by Malone for early retirement due to the impact of the sex abuse scandal, which was rejected by the Vatican, Malone resigned in 2011
2 William Wright 4 April 2011 13 November 2021 10 years, 318 days

Coadjutor bishops

Other priests of the diocese who became bishops

Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hamilton acts as both the Hamilton parish church and the cathedral for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral building was opened in 1930 as the parish church of Hamilton and was consecrated by Bishop Edmund Gleeson in 1941, before becoming Sacred Heart Cathedral on 16 July 1995.

The Sacred Heart Church's foundations were dug with the physical aid of parishioners. The church was built virtually brick by brick on the dream of Monsignor Victor Francis Peters and through the generosity of parishioners who, in the midst of the Great Depression, bought bricks for an average of twopence each. A donation of ten pounds was the norm and, in total, 700,000 bricks were used.

Monsignor Peters was influenced by the architecture of the cathedral in Thurles in Ireland; the cathedral church of Philadelphia in the US and the brick work in front of the Pisa church in Italy. The foundation stone was laid on 23 September 1928. The first brick was laid on 1 February 1929 and the last brick just ten months later on 1 December 1929.

Sixty years later, the earthquake of 1989 caused considerable damage particularly to the belltower. The original concrete dome was replaced by one of copper and the original dome now stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the earthquake.

Parishes

The following parishes are situated within the diocese:

  • All Saints Blackbutt South
  • Beresfield
  • Blackbutt North
  • Boolaroo-Warners Bay
  • Booragul
  • Branxton
  • Cessnock
  • Denman
  • Dungog
  • East Lake Macquarie
  • East Maitland
  • Forster Tuncurry
  • Gloucester
  • Gresford
  • Krambach
  • Kurri Kurri
  • Lochinvar
  • MacKillop (Charlestown, Gateshead & Redhead)
  • Maitland
  • Mayfield
  • Mayfield West
  • Merriwa
  • Morisset
  • Morpeth
  • Murrurundi
  • Muswellbrook
  • Myall Coast
  • Nelson Bay
  • Newcastle St Benedict (includes Cathedral)
  • Raymond Terrace
  • Rutherford
  • Scone
  • Singleton
  • Stockton
  • Sugarloaf
  • Taree
  • Toronto
  • Wallsend-Shortland
  • Wingham

Child sexual abuse in the diocese

The diocese has been referred to as the "epicentre of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Australia" due to a number of abusive priests and religious brothers with extensive abuse records being jailed since 1997.

Archbishop Philip Wilson

In March 2015, NSW Police charged Archbishop Philip Wilson, then the Archbishop of Adelaide, of "concealing a serious offence regarding child sexual abuse in the Hunter region in 1978" when he was a priest in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. Wilson took leave and issued a statement saying he would "vigorously defend my innocence through the judicial system". Wilson's lawyer attempted to prevent the trial going ahead on medical grounds but this was refused. On 22 May 2018, Wilson was found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended, which Wilson would serve under home detention.

The Pope accepted Wilson's resignation on 30 July 2018. As an archbishop, Wilson was the most senior Catholic cleric in Australia to be convicted of not disclosing abuse by another priest to the police. On 6 December 2018, Wilson was acquitted of all charges.

In September 2021, following Wilson's successful appeal, the fourth volume of the 2014 Special Commission of Inquiry into allegations of cover-up of sexual abuse claims in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle found that Archbishop Wilson was an "unsatisfactory and unimpressive witness" and that he gave evidence the commissioners considered untruthful, self-serving and implausible. They found that Wilson had knowledge of sexual abuse of children committed by Father James Fletcher and Father Denis McAlinden. Wilson died on 17 January 2021.

Brother Christopher Wade

In June 2017, former Marist Brothers Hamilton headmaster Brother Christopher Wade was found guilty of child sex offences against two former students. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. On his release, Wade was charged with concealment offences and faced Sydney District Court on 28 February 2020. He pleaded guilty on two counts of failing to provide information to police during a 2014 child sex abuse investigation into Brother Romuald Cable and Brother Dominic O'Sullivan. Wade was sentenced to four months imprisonment, to be served in the community. In pleading guilty, Wade became the first senior Catholic in Australia to admit to concealing child sex crimes.

Father Thomas Brennan

In 2012, Father Tom Brennan was arrested and charged with two counts of misprisions of a felony, or failing to disclose a serious crime, relating to the alleged child sex offences by his colleague Father John Denham. The offences occurred at St Pius X School, Adamstown, where Brennan was the principal and Denham a teacher. Brennan was also charged with eight counts of sexual abuse and two counts of assault. It was the first time anywhere in the world that a senior Catholic church leader had been charged with concealing child abuse. Brennan died of cancer in October 2012 before the charges could be heard in court.

In 2018, the Catholic Church acknowledged Brennan's abuse. Bishop William Wright sent James Miller, one of Brennan's victims, a letter of apology. Wright wrote "As a Catholic priest, I feel great shame that an ordained priest of the Diocese chose to inflict his sexual desires upon you ... Brennan and all those who harmed children fundamentally betrayed their vocation. I am sorry."

List of convicted priests and religious brothers

The following is a list of priests and religious brothers from the diocese have been convicted of child sexual abuse or had allegations of child sexual abuse against them substantiated by the diocese or their religious order:

Priests

  • Monsignor Patrick Cotter - concealed child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Father Vincent Ryan - spent over 17 years in prison for child sexual abuse. Served another 14 months.
  • David O'Hearn - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John Sidney Denham - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • James "Jim" Fletcher - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Thomas Brennan - convicted of child sexual abuse, concealing child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Albert Davis - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by diocese, deceased
  • Denis McAlinden - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Francis Donovan - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Kenneth Hodgson - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Peter Brock - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Peter Quirk - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased[citation needed]
  • William Cantwell - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocese, deceased
  • Paul Lane - convicted of child sexual abuse

Religious brothers

Marist Brothers

  • William "Christopher" Wade - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • William Francis "Romuald" Cable - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John "Dominic" O'Sullivan - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John "Dominic" Gleeson - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Peter Pemble - convicted of child sexual abuse
  • Terry Gilsenan - convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John "Nestor" Littler - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Donald Newtown - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased
  • Noel "Leon" Mackey - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased
  • Oswin McKinney - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased
  • Thomas "Patrick" Butler - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by Marist Brothers, deceased

Hospitaller Order of St. John of God

  • Bernard Kevin McGrath - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • John Marshall Clegg - prison, convicted of child sexual abuse
  • Daniel John Slattery - convicted of child sexual abuse, awaiting sentencing
  • William Lebler - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • Rodger Moloney - convicted of child sexual abuse, deceased
  • John Joseph "Bede" Donnellan - allegations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the religious order, deceased
  • Raymond "Richard" Garchow - charged but deemed unfit for extradition to New Zealand, deceased

See also

References

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  2. ^ "A senior priest covered up other priests' crimes — and he, too, abused children".
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  4. ^ H. Campbell, Dean Lynch: laying the foundations for Maitland diocese, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society 3 (3) (1971), 46-61.
  5. ^ "History | Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle".
  6. ^ News, A. B. C. (6 September 2019). "Secret report into alleged Catholic cover-ups identifies credibility issues among top clergymen". ABC News.
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  13. ^ "Archbishop was 'shocked' when told of sexual abuse claims in 1970s, court told". 7 December 2017 – via www.abc.net.au.
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  16. ^ "Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson resigns after covering up child abuse". the Guardian. 30 July 2018.
  17. ^ Press, Australian Associated (6 December 2018). "Former archbishop Philip Wilson acquitted of covering up child sexual abuse". the Guardian.
  18. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (6 September 2019). "Archbishop Philip Wilson 'should have reported' notorious priest to police in 1990s: report". Newcastle Herald.
  19. ^ "COVER-UP: A senior Australian Catholic is sentenced in court for concealing some church crimes". www.brokenrites.org.au.
  20. ^ Kelly, Matthew (30 September 2020). ""His inaction and silence thus contributed to terrible consequences": Marist Brother walks free for concealment crimes". Newcastle Herald.
  21. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (21 June 2017). "Brother Christopher Wade found guilty of child sex offences". The Sydney Morning Herald.
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  23. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (2 September 2019). "How an elderly woman became 'collateral damage' to the Catholic abuse tragedy". The Examiner.
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  28. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (20 March 2015). "Ignoring child-sex abuse is a crime in itself: we need to show leadership to protect children". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  29. ^ McCARTHY, JOANNE (22 September 2007). "Cotter's cover-up allowed Ryan to prey on boys for 17 years". Newcastle Herald.
  30. ^ "Vincent Ryan sexually abused more than 30 children. But he thinks he should remain a priest". 16 March 2020 – via www.abc.net.au.
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  32. ^ "Notorious paedophile priest to return to jail for sexually abusing altar boys". 22 May 2019 – via www.abc.net.au.
  33. ^ "'Burn in hell': Former priest Vincent Ryan to go back behind bars". 7NEWS.com.au. 22 May 2019.
  34. ^ McCarthy, Joanne (6 March 2018). "Priest David O'Hearn facing fresh child-sex charges". Newcastle Herald.
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Introduction

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is a suffragan Latin Rite diocese of the Archdiocese of Sydney, established in 1847 initially as the Diocese of Maitland and changed to the current name in 1995. The diocese covers the Hunter and Mid North Coast regions of New South Wales in Australia.

The diocese is considered to be one of the epicentres of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Australia, with scores of priests and religious brothers convicted of crimes against children. Two senior members of the diocese, Father Thomas Brennan and Brother William Wade, have also been convicted of concealing child sexual abuse.


History

Prior to the establishment of the diocese, the Hunter Region was under the administration of the Sydney archdiocese. The Catholic Church defines a diocese as '" portion of the people of God, which is entrusted to a bishop" or as "a community of Christ's faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop".[citation needed] The three most notable priests assigned to the Hunter Region, Therry, Dowling and Lynch, strived to build churches, schools and establish Catholic parishes. Six Catholic parishes established were East Maitland 1835 (the first Catholic church built north of Sydney was the first St Joseph's Church in 1835), Newcastle 1838, West Maitland 1841, Singleton 1845, Taree 1846, Raymond Terrace 1852.

During 1840 and 1845 Archbishop Bede Polding visited the whole Hunter Valley and laid foundation stones for churches at Wollombi and St John's at Campbell's Hill. The foundation stone was moved to West Maitland where St John the Baptist Church opened in 1846.

By a papal brief dated 27 May 1847, the Titular See of East Maitland was created with the Most Reverend Charles Henry Davis nominated as bishop. Bishop Davis was also the auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Sydney and lived in Sydney, never visiting his titular see in East Maitland, therefore the Titular See of East Maitland remained under the administration of the Archdiocese of Sydney until the Most Reverend James Murray was nominated Bishop of Maitland in 1865, taking possession of St John the Baptist Church, West Maitland, as his cathedral on 1 November 1866.

From 1866 the diocese extended to include Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Walgett and Coonamble. In 1887 the Diocese of Maitland reduced in size by exclusion of the Coonamble, Gunnedah and Tamworth districts.

In 1933, after servicing the diocese for 87 years, the original cathedral building became inadequate for the needs of the parish and the diocese. In July 1933, Bishop Edmund Gleeson CSsR officially announced that the Catholic Hall in Maitland would be converted to a pro-cathedral suitable as a place of worship. On 26 November 1933 the Catholic Hall was opened as the pro-cathedral and St John's officially closed.

In 1966 boundaries were again altered to exclude Kendall parish to Lismore but include the parishes of Belmont, Swansea, Toronto, Booragul, Teralba, which are the present boundaries of the diocese.

In 1989 the pro-cathedral suffered damage as a result of an earthquake and was closed. Discussions were then held and it was decided to convert the pro-cathedral to its former use as a hall and to reopen St John's as a chapel for the Central Maitland area. On 24 June 1994, Bishop Leo Clarke celebrated a Dedication of a Church service and thus St John's became a chapel for the area. The 1989 earthquake was also a catalyst to consolidate the diocesan administration offices on one site. This was achieved in 1995 by purchasing the Sisters of Mercy Convent at Hamilton and the former Sacred Heart Parish Primary School, Hamilton.

By papal brief dated 14 June 1995, the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle was created and on 16 July 1995 the Sacred Heart Church in Hamilton became the cathedral of the diocese.

The diocese was the focus of the Hunter Special Commission of Inquiry and case-study 43 in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.


Bishops

Ordinaries

The following individuals have been elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Maitland:

Order Name Date installed Term ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Charles Henry Davis, OSB 24 September 1846 17 May 1854 8 years, 235 days Died in office
2 James Murray 1865 9 July 1909 44 years, 189 days Died in office
3 Patrick Dwyer 9 July 1909 28 March 1931 21 years, 262 days Died in office
4 Edmund John Aloysius Gleeson, CSSR 28 March 1931 4 March 1956 24 years, 342 days Died in office
5 John Thomas Toohey 4 March 1956 24 September 1975 19 years, 204 days Died in office
6 Leo Morris Clarke 10 April 1976 3 November 1995 19 years, 207 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Maitland-Newcastle

The following individuals have been elected as Roman Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle:

Order Name Date installed Term ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Michael Malone 3 November 1995 4 April 2011 15 years, 152 days Following a 2009 request by Malone for early retirement due to the impact of the sex abuse scandal, which was rejected by the Vatican, Malone resigned in 2011
2 William Wright 4 April 2011 13 November 2021 10 years, 318 days

Coadjutor bishops

Other priests of the diocese who became bishops


Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hamilton acts as both the Hamilton parish church and the cathedral for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral building was opened in 1930 as the parish church of Hamilton and was consecrated by Bishop Edmund Gleeson in 1941, before becoming Sacred Heart Cathedral on 16 July 1995.

The Sacred Heart Church's foundations were dug with the physical aid of parishioners. The church was built virtually brick by brick on the dream of Monsignor Victor Francis Peters and through the generosity of parishioners who, in the midst of the Great Depression, bought bricks for an average of twopence each. A donation of ten pounds was the norm and, in total, 700,000 bricks were used.

Monsignor Peters was influenced by the architecture of the cathedral in Thurles in Ireland; the cathedral church of Philadelphia in the US and the brick work in front of the Pisa church in Italy. The foundation stone was laid on 23 September 1928. The first brick was laid on 1 February 1929 and the last brick just ten months later on 1 December 1929.

Sixty years later, the earthquake of 1989 caused considerable damage particularly to the belltower. The original concrete dome was replaced by one of copper and the original dome now stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the earthquake.


Parishes

The following parishes are situated within the diocese:


Child sexual abuse in the diocese

The diocese has been referred to as the "epicentre of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Australia" due to a number of abusive priests and religious brothers with extensive abuse records being jailed since 1997.

Archbishop Philip Wilson

In March 2015, NSW Police charged Archbishop Philip Wilson, then the Archbishop of Adelaide, of "concealing a serious offence regarding child sexual abuse in the Hunter region in 1978" when he was a priest in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. Wilson took leave and issued a statement saying he would "vigorously defend my innocence through the judicial system". Wilson's lawyer attempted to prevent the trial going ahead on medical grounds but this was refused. On 22 May 2018, Wilson was found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended, which Wilson would serve under home detention.

The Pope accepted Wilson's resignation on 30 July 2018. As an archbishop, Wilson was the most senior Catholic cleric in Australia to be convicted of not disclosing abuse by another priest to the police. On 6 December 2018, Wilson was acquitted of all charges.

In September 2021, following Wilson's successful appeal, the fourth volume of the 2014 Special Commission of Inquiry into allegations of cover-up of sexual abuse claims in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle found that Archbishop Wilson was an "unsatisfactory and unimpressive witness" and that he gave evidence the commissioners considered untruthful, self-serving and implausible. They found that Wilson had knowledge of sexual abuse of children committed by Father James Fletcher and Father Denis McAlinden. Wilson died on 17 January 2021.

Brother Christopher Wade

In June 2017, former Marist Brothers Hamilton headmaster Brother Christopher Wade was found guilty of child sex offences against two former students. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. On his release, Wade was charged with concealment offences and faced Sydney District Court on 28 February 2020. He pleaded guilty on two counts of failing to provide information to police during a 2014 child sex abuse investigation into Brother Romuald Cable and Brother Dominic O'Sullivan. Wade was sentenced to four months imprisonment, to be served in the community. In pleading guilty, Wade became the first senior Catholic in Australia to admit to concealing child sex crimes.

Father Thomas Brennan

In 2012, Father Tom Brennan was arrested and charged with two counts of misprisions of a felony, or failing to disclose a serious crime, relating to the alleged child sex offences by his colleague Father John Denham. The offences occurred at St Pius X School, Adamstown, where Brennan was the principal and Denham a teacher. Brennan was also charged with eight counts of sexual abuse and two counts of assault. It was the first time anywhere in the world that a senior Catholic church leader had been charged with concealing child abuse. Brennan died of cancer in October 2012 before the charges could be heard in court.

In 2018, the Catholic Church acknowledged Brennan's abuse. Bishop William Wright sent James Miller, one of Brennan's victims, a letter of apology. Wright wrote "As a Catholic priest, I feel great shame that an ordained priest of the Diocese chose to inflict his sexual desires upon you ... Brennan and all those who harmed children fundamentally betrayed their vocation. I am sorry."

List of convicted priests and religious brothers

The following is a list of priests and religious brothers from the diocese have been convicted of child sexual abuse or had allegations of child sexual abuse against them substantiated by the diocese or their religious order:

Priests

Religious brothers

Marist Brothers

Hospitaller Order of St. John of God

Sources