Church determine to listen, learn and reflect on abuse survivors’ evidence

The Catholic Church is determined to listen, learn, and reflect on abuse survivors ‘ evidence at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care.

The comment came in a statement from Catholic Bishops and religious leaders on the morning of the first day of the Royal Commission into abuse in faith-based care.

“The bishops and congregational leaders asked to be included in the work of the Royal Commission,” says Cardinal John Dew.

“They are committed to working with it, for events of the past to be examined transparently and openly, and to implement the Commission’s eventual recommendations. We acknowledge the harm caused to many and express our profound sorrow.”

Sister Margaret Anne Mills, president of the religious Congregational Leaders’ Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ), praised the courage of abuse survivors who have come forward to share their experiences.

CLCANZ represents 43 Catholic religious entities on Te Rōpū Tautoko,  a Catholic Church agency formed to co-ordinate and manage cooperation between the Royal Commission and the Catholic Church.

“We will be listening very carefully to what survivors have to say, reflecting on their evidence and learning from their experiences,” Mills says.

The Royal Commission’s first faith-based redress hearings began yesterday.

Last week an application supported by the Anglican Church and Salvation Army, the Catholic Church sought non-publication orders about the accused.

The Church says the application was made because there had not been enough time to contact those who would be named, or the families of the deceased.

It also raised concerns of natural justice for those deceased.

At a procedural hearing on that and other applications, which included those accused of abuse and those helping to cover it up, lawyer Sally McKechnie told chair Judge Coral Shaw the church was not seeking to hide evidence.

“It is purely a question of whether the name is publicly used now,” she says.

Some of the people would be named publicly for the first time, McKechnie says.

The delay would give their families more time to process the accusations.

In a decision released Thursday, Shaw declined all but one of the Church’s applications.

Dr Murray Heasley, spokesman for the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, told the NZ Herald they were pleased with the outcome.

The Royal Commission’s faith-based redress hearings will hear evidence first of all from abuse survivors who were in care of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army.

The Royal Commission says these hearings “will investigate the adequacy of the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army and what needs to be done to support people who have been abused or neglected in faith-based institutions.”

However, these hearings “will not examine the merits of any individual claims, nor resolve disputed factual issues relating to those claims.”


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,