Mulkearns would have known it was a crime to rape an adult but didn't know it was a crime to rape an child?
And to IT, sorry to hear you have been abused. I know people who have been and it's highly distressing.
And for the record I wasnt abusing you, and apologies to you that you took it that way.
The people in the church who put the church first and victims last need to take a second look at their position.
As for Mulkearns, he did what you said and resigned his position. He has admitted he acted poorly. I praise him for that bit because everyone else (like Pell) are trying desperately to cover their arses while he has fronted up and confessed to his pathetic and woefully inadequate actions. More should do the same.
We also need to understand the times, not as an excuse, but to comprehend why some of these people acted that way.
Sex was a 4 letter word and sexual abuse was even more shameful. No one talked about it, no one even considered it, neither in the public nor in the clergy. Also people like Mulkearns were indoctrinated by the RCC; it is all powerful, infallible (never wrong) and you NEVER EVER do anything to shame the Church in public. So people like Mulkearns are taught to always follow the rules set out by those above them. These rules included such things as "moving" priests who do something wrong well outside their current area of influence and sending them to "counselling" to fix their problem. The last thing that he would be able to do is go to the police and if he did, well, kiss his job goodbye. Whistleblowers were not acceptable and, this is an important issue, confession could never be violated (terrible terrible process that absolutely flies in the face of what the Bible actually teaches).
I am not excusing him, moral courage was required and he failed on that score horribly, but I can understand why it happened the way it did. I just hope that this RC can highlight this and bring even more change to the RCC and other religious and non-religious institutions so this sort of thing can be limited.
How long will it take society to realise that children are our greatest gift and highest responsibility? With the profligation of child pornography I fear we are losing this battle and the outcome will not be pretty.