Anglican and Catholic churches want to be included in Royal Commission

royal commission

The Anglican and Catholic churches want the Royal Commission into abuse to include their churches.

The Royal Commission’s draft terms confine the inquiry to state institutions.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops and representation from religious orders have written a letter to the prime minister Jacinda Ardern, the Minister for Children Tracey Martin and Sir Anand Satyanand, chairman of the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care.

The letter was signed by Bishop Patrick Dunn, the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and Sister Katrina Fabish RSM, congregational leader of the Sisters of Mercy.

The letter expressed support of the work of the Royal Commission but wanted its terms of reference broadened to include a range of Church institutions.

“We are of the firm view that no individual should be denied the possibility of making a submission to this government inquiry.

“It would be wrong if some individuals felt excluded from this process simply because their path of referral to an institution was different from someone else’s,” the letter said.

Read the letter

Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson says the Anglican Church “needs to collaborate fully with the Royal Commission and we need the terms of reference to be extended in a way that allows that to be possible.”

Richardson said the consensus seems to be that other Christian churches also wanted to be scrutinised by the Royal Commission.

He and Cardinal John Dew have met with the commission chair Sir Anand Satyanand.

A Royal Commission spokesperson acknowledged Sir Anand had met them, adding that he was meeting a wide range of people and was not commenting on the content of any submissions.

She did not say if the public consultation on the draft terms of reference would be extended beyond the end of April or not.

An Anglican General Synod committee is also writing to the Prime Minister and the Children’s Minister calling for an expanded commission.

Richardson said he is asking to meet Children’s Minister Tracey Martin but is keen to leave the government room to move.

“If the terms of reference are not extended, how can the church’s accountability be reflected? And we want to have those conversations with the [political] ministers … we’re really not sure what that might look like.”

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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