LAST week supporters of the Loud Fence were at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat, replacing ribbons that had been removed from the fence surrounding the church.
One supporter, Mari Ridsdale, claims parishioners removed the brightly coloured ribbons.
“A long time ago our uncle, Gerald Ridsdale (a Catholic priest), chose a very different path,” she explained.
“It drove the family apart, broke my brother apart, broke my cousins apart and goodness knows how many other children.
“We don’t understand this ongoing reluctance of the church to put into place effective victim protective measurements, and admit that yes it happened, and instead of trying to, the parishioners keep cutting down these ribbons and we just keep putting them back up again because the whole point of the ribbons is no more silence.
“This is the main point of this happening (ribbons) – people were silent, they didn’t listen to the children, they didn’t protect the children.” Ms Ridsdale said ribbons were first cut down a couple of days after the royal commission report was finalized and released.
“To us, as survivors and their families and friends, that was all it’s over now, it’s finished now. So we keep putting the spotlight on it (abuse) especially while Pell (Cardinal George Pell) is in Australia and going through the courts,” she said.
“There are some people out there who don’t have anything else to losethey’ve lost everything, they’ve lost their selves, their soul, their family, self preservation, their dignity, it’s a very, very … it’s sad, more than sad and the treatment by the Catholic Church, when its blatantly obvious now what has happened.
“The Loud Fence movement is a huge movement – I just come to do it for my brother, he still struggles every day, as all of them do, and he battles every day but is striding on.” Ms Ridsdale added that some parishioners are living in denial and they need to acknowledge what happened.
“By cutting the ribbons down perhaps they are expressing their right of expression, as we are, but that’s not the way to do it,” Ms Ridsdale said.
“Cutting it down is saying to us ‘shut up now, it’s all over with, its finished’. It will never be finished, ever.
“This happened when our parents were alive and they knew but they are coming out of an era when God and the priest were feared, they were sacrosanct and I think its possibly guilt that drives a lot of their motives because they possibly knew what was going on but didn’t know how to say something ,but the ultimate is the children were telling them that something was going on and they were caught between a rock and hard place, I get that, I’m being a little kind but at the end of this day, at the end of every day, bad was done, gross indecency and no respect for humanity, no respect for the families, for the priest to go in the family home and befriend the parents and then go and do what they did…”