A priest, aged 85, is in court charged with abusing a boy many years ago

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 3 March 2021

Broken Rites research has ascertained that Max Blumenthal (born in 1936) began his Catholic Church career in New South Wales as a member of the Marist Brothers (a religious order which provided reverend Brothers for Catholic schools). Later (at the age of 38) this Brother upgraded his career by becoming ordained as a priest ("Father" Max). Father Max eventually retired from parish appointments. In February 2021, aged 85, he appeared in court charged by police with having committed sexual offences against a boy in the mid-1980s. The court ordered that Blumenthal be taken into custody to await the next steps in the court process.

The Broken Rites background research was based on church documents, including:

*The Marist Brothers' official list of all Brothers, who have ever worked (as a Marist Brother) in Australia, includes: "Maximus Blumenthal, born 10 January 1936."

*A list of ordinations says that the date when Brother Max became Father Max was 20 April 1974. Father Max's parishes were in the diocese of Bathurst, which covers a number of rural parishes (such as Gulgong and Mudgee) in central western New South Wales. (The cathedral for this diocese is located in the city of Bathurst.)

*According to Australia's annual Catholic directory, Father Max Blumenthal was last listed in parish work for the Bathurst diocese about 1998. Later, Father Max's address was listed as "care of" a Post Office box in Sydney. In recent years, according to church sources, he has served as a chaplain for retired Marist Brothers in Sydney. Also, according to church sources, he has occasionally helped the church during visits to dioceses such as Canberra and Hobart.

On 19 February 2021, police arrested Robert Maximus Blumenthal at a church residence in Sydney. He was taken to Sydney's Waverley Court, where the charges were officially filed with a magistrate.

The offences were allegedly committed against a boy. Many years after these incidents, the alleged victim finally contacted the New South Wales police. His matter is being handled by the Bathurst Detectives Office.

In court, Blumenthal was charged with several incidents of having had sexual intercourse with a child.

The court refused to release Blumenthal on bail. He was ordered to remain in custody, awaiting the next steps in the court process.