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Australia: Catholic Church in the dock

The relationship between church and society in Australia has always been ambiguous.

Peter Riddell

Figure Image
Cardinal Pell | photo: BBC

In the earliest years of European settlement following the establishment of Sydney in 1788, a fundamental divide existed between the free settlers and colonial officials on the one hand, who tended to be Anglican, and the large numbers of convicts, often Irish Catholics, who were predictably anti-authority and resentful.