Bitter sweet day for campaigner’s widow

Nanjing Night Net

itter sweet day for campaigner’s widow State funeral: Chrissie Foster with daughters Katie (far left), Aimee and son-in-law Luke Salkowski at Anthony Foster’s state funeral in early June. 

Fighter: Anthony Foster’s image above his state funeral in Melbourne.

Campaigner: Anthony Hotel outside the Hotel Quirinale in Rome after Cardinal George Pell gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Determined: Chrissie and Anthony Foster in 2008 on their way to Australia to seek a meeting with Pope Benedict in Sydney during World Youth Day.

Charged: Cardinal George Pell in early June. He has been charged with child sex offences but says he is innocent of the charges.

Atmospheric: Storm clouds over the Vatican on the day Cardinal George Pell is charged with child sex offences.

TweetFacebookHell on the Way to Heaven, Mrs Foster wrote about theirfirst meeting with the then Melbourne Archbishop George Pell in October, 1996, and a later meeting where they discussed the devastating impact of the abuse on their daughters with Pell.

In 2008 Mr and Mrs Foster unsuccessfully attempted to see Pope Benedict in Sydney during World Youth Day, and in 2016 they flew to Rome to sit with survivors of abuse during Cardinal Pell’s testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from the Quirinile Hotel.

Mr Foster was honoured with a state funeral for his work supporting survivors of child sexual abuse and supporting the campaign for a royal commission.

Mrs Foster applauded Victorian police for their investigation.

“There’s been complaints by different people and from different places and it’s right that Pellshould answer these allegations in a court,” Mrs Foster said.

She said she would keep an open mind about Pell returning to Australia to answer the charges, but noted his failure to return to Australia to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in March last year, despite making a commitment, under oath, to do so.

The Blue Knot Foundation, which represents child abuse survivors, acknowledged Anthony Foster in a statement after Cardinal Pell was charged.

Blue Knot Foundation head of research Dr Pam Stavropoulos said thecharging of George Pell with historical sexual abuse offences senta powerful message not only to survivors of child sexual abuse but to the whole of society.

“It upholds that no one is above the law, nomatter how high their office, qualifications, or standing,” Dr Stavropoulos said.

“As well as the impacts of the abuse itself, countless survivors of child sexual abuse have struggled with the silence and disbelief of society that adults and respected public figures can be perpetrators of thecriminal act of sexual abuse of children. The charging of George Pell is an enormously important step for community awareness which has been hard fought for and which cannot now be lost.

“While the charges have yet to be tested in court, the act of the laying of them is enormously important at both practical and symbolic levels.

“We at the Blue Knot Foundation are sorry that Anthony Foster – whodied a short time ago and who was a tireless advocate for accountability of the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse crimes, of which his own children were victims – did not live to see this day.”