THE Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (ACBC) and the Archdiocese of Sydney have responded to the Four Corners' story "Unholy Silence," which aired on the ABC on Monday night.
Read the Statement from the Australian Bishops' Conference
Read the Statement released by the Archdiocese of Sydney
Statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference regarding Four Corners’ “Unholy Silence”
3 July, 2012
All Catholics feel shame at the sexual abuse of children by clergy and others.
The loss of childhood innocence and the broken lives that flow from this evil have evoked broad community revulsion and a determination that such criminal abuse of the young has to be stopped.
Since the advent of Towards Healing in December 1996, the Australian Catholic Church has committed itself publicly to a more victim-centred response when evil of this nature became known.
In the years since, the Church’s new intentions have not always been in evidence.
There have been many victims of sexual abuse within the Church who knew that criminal or civil proceedings were not possible or desirable.
Some victims have found that Towards Healing has been a means by which the truth of their story was vindicated.
Apologies and efforts made to express sorrow have helped such victims to find some peace and well-being.
The coming Victorian Inquiry, welcomed by the Archbishop of Melbourne, will no doubt examine some of the tragic stories aired on Four Corners.
The Catholic Church encourages victims of child sexual abuse to go to the police and it stands ready to meet with victims.
For more information about Towards Healing and the Catholic Church’s response, please contact Fr Tim Brennan or Sr Angela Ryan on (02) 9669 6218.
MEDIA STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY
3 July 2012
The former Armidale priest who was the subject of 4 Corners on Monday night was removed from public ministry twenty years ago in 1992 by his then-bishop and laicised in 2005.
The Archdiocese of Sydney is seeking further information about the 1992 meeting which involved two Sydney priests who attended as members of a national panel.
Allegations against Salesian priests were also raised by 4 Corners. However, neither the Archdiocese of Sydney nor Cardinal Pell has authority over any priest of another Catholic diocese or a member of a religious order.
As Cardinal Pell said in the program, if there is credible evidence against a Church figure who is overseas he “should return to face the music”.