Member of Te Rōpū Tautoko offers her resignation


Mrs Rangi Davis has resigned her membership of Te Rōpū Tautoko, the Catholic Church group created to liaise with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions.

Mrs Davis was newly appointed following the resignation of Bishop Charles Drennan last month.

The chair of Te Rōpū Tautoko, Catherine Fyfe, said she had received the resignation of Mrs Davis and accepted it.

Te Rōpū Tautoko coordinates the engagement of the many dioceses, congregations and institutions of the Catholic Church in New Zealand with the Royal Commission.

The bishops and congregational leaders of the Church actively supported the Government’s extending the commission’s original terms of reference from state-based care to include faith-based institutions.

“Out of respect to survivors of abuse and also to Mrs Davis, I will not comment further on this matter,” Catherine Fyfe said.

Davis created controversy last week when her alleged comments to a sexual abuse survivor were made public.

It was reported that a woman who was sexually abused from the age of five by a priest in Northland said Davis justified the abuse to her, by saying the priest was “healing himself” when he had sex.

Abuse survivor Toni Jarvis, who is on the Survivor Advisory Group for the Commission, had said Davis needed “to resign and stand down”.

He said the comments totally undermines the abuse the woman suffered and creates a situation where she feels responsible for it.

“[There is] no place on this inquiry for any person who is going to treat a survivor like that,” Javis said.

Previously Fyfe had said the abused woman, Anne Hill, had been in contact, and that they had offered their profound apologies.

“We have offered to Anne that the member would like to apologise to her directly, but only if Anne wishes that to occur,” Ms Fyfe said in a statement.

RNZ reports that Ms Hill’s spokesperson, Murray Heasley, said she did not want Mrs Davis to resign.

“She would have much preferred that Mrs Davis and others have the opportunity to be fully trauma informed and trauma trained to be sensitive to the needs of survivors,” he said.

Ms Hill wanted a culture change, Mr Heasley said.

“Her wish is for the culture of the Catholic church to be transformed, from one of ignorance, protection of the perpetrator… to one of openness, transparency,” he said.


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