Church council will work with Aust. sex abuse commission

Australia’s Catholic bishops have decided to set up a special council — including bishops, religious and lay people — to work with the forthcoming royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse.

At the end of their twice-yearly conference in Sydney, the bishops said they had formed a supervisory group of representatives from the bishops’ conference and Catholic Religious Australia.

They said this group would establish and oversee the 10-member Council for the Royal Commission.

The conference president, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, said the new council would help the Church engage closely with the commission and the community.

He said expert lay people, including those with expertise in the care of sex abuse victims, would be on the council but he did not give any names.

“We need broad-based expertise so that the church together can face the truth, can provide a better response to the care of victims and also make Australia a safer place for our children,” he said.

The bishops’ statement welcomed the establishment of the royal commission.

“It is an opportunity for those who have suffered to obtain a compassionate hearing, justice and further healing,” the bishops said.

“It is also an opportunity for the Church’s processes to be scrutinised with greater objectivity. This will allow further refinements that seek justice and pastoral care.

“However imperfectly, this work has been going on in the Catholic Church for the last two decades. It will continue.

“Once again, we renew our heartfelt apology to those whose lives have been so grievously harmed by the evil perpetrated upon them by some priests, religious and church personnel . . . .

“Our hope is that, in its search for truth, the royal commission will present recommendations ensuring the best possible standards of child protection in our country,” the bishops said.

“Painful and difficult as this might be for the Church, it is nothing compared to the hurt of those who have suffered sexual abuse, particularly by clergy and religious.”


Catholic Church in Australia


Sydney Morning Herald

Image: Press TV

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