Fury as diocese plans to sell community church to pay sex abuse victims
Judgement day has come for the sins of the fathers.
Tough decisions are being made by religious hierarchies around the country on how they pay restitution to victims of pedophile priests - and for all those lawyers they've engaged.
The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse went on for many years and uncovered a disturbingly high number of cases of abuse of vulnerable children by some members of the clergy.
Now it is time to pay - financially.
So we might be seeing a lot more of what's happening in Carcoar, a village in the central west of New South Wales.
Carcoar is a pretty little place. So much so, the entire village has a heritage order on it because of the number of intact 19th-century buildings that line its streets.
Central to it all is the beautiful St Paul's Anglican Church with its stained glass windows, English-imported pews and active cemetery with graves dating back to the early 1800s.
It is one of the oldest churches in the state and like the village, it can't be touched because of its rich history.
And so when word came from the Anglican diocese that St Paul's was earmarked to be sold to help the church pay the bills for the terrible deeds done by the fathers, there was outrage in Carcoar. Why should they be punished for what others did?
The church says it has to find the money somewhere and small churches with few parishioners are in their sights.
However, the folk of Carcoar will argue their church is active and central to the tourism of the place that keeps the local businesses alive.
What's more, they say the church has a hide to sell the place given the community has paid over $200,000 worth of upgrades to St Paul's over the years including a new steeple and a major overhaul to the organ. The church didn't contribute a penny.
It's estimated by locals the church may fetch $400,000 and be someone's home, a bed-and-breakfast, or perhaps another café. If it does sell the new owners won't get a warm welcome.
The locals would like to see it become a community church, or perhaps find a rich benefactor who agrees with them that we can't lose an important piece of our colonial history.
Whatever happens, the church hierarchy is up for another fight and may have to engage their lawyers once again because the people of Carcoar are not going to let their church be sold from under them.
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