CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, Mr Francis Sullivan, has welcomed comments from Cardinal George Pell and the Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart that the Church has been involved in cover-ups and mishandling of child sex abuse in the past.
The comments came as both faced intense scrutiny at the Victorian Inquiry into church sexual abuse which concluded this week.
Mr Sullivan said it is incumbent on the Church to be open and honest about its history of sexual abuse.
“This is the only way that the community can trust the Church will fully embrace these inquiries, including the Royal Commission hearings later this year, fairly and justly.
“There is no doubt that this history of child sex abuse is embarrassing and shameful. There is no doubt that people still remain damaged from this history.
“We must face our history and humbly accept the massive failings and the betrayal of individuals.
“We must sincerely listen to what has really happened to people who have been damaged. We need to genuinely care how their lives have been affected and what reparations are still needed.
“It is incumbent on the Church to be able to demonstrate the changes it has made in the past 20 years that have dramatically reduced the incidence and mishandling of child sex abuse,” Mr Sullivan said.
The Truth Justice and Healing Council has been established by the Catholic Church to help the Church respond to the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Council’s role is to oversee the Church’s engagement with the Commission, to develop new policies to protect young people and to ensure the Church responds to any future complaints appropriately with justice, putting the needs of victims first.
Media contact: Michael Salmon 0417 495 018
Francis Sullivan’s full blog can be read at the following link. ‘Actions speak louder than words’