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Bishops to focus on Royal Commission

National

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has convened an additional plenary meeting for 2018 to expedite the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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The meeting will be held in Melbourne on August 2 and 3, and will allow the bishops to consider, as a body, the Church’s formal response to the Royal Commission.

“The bishops hadn’t received enough advice at their May meeting to prepare our response to the Royal Commission’s final report,” ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.

“Additional advice, including from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, the Implementation Advisory Group, Catholic Professional Standards Limited, local safeguarding experts and canon lawyers has now been received and is informing the bishops’ response.

“We have also begun discussions with the Holy See about issues that concern the discipline and doctrine of the universal Church.”

Representatives from Catholic Religious Australia, the Implementation Advisory Group and Catholic Professional Standards Limited will attend the meeting.

Archbishop Coleridge said he hoped the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s formal response to the Royal Commission would be released as soon as possible after the August plenary meeting.

“We decided we couldn’t wait until our next scheduled plenary meeting in late November to finalise our response,” he said.

The bishops will also receive an update on the Catholic Church’s participation in the National Redress Scheme and on Commonwealth funding for Catholic schools at next week’s meeting.

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