In his letter Pope Francis told Catholics that as an ecclesial community “we were not where we should have been… realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.
“We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” he said, adding that the Church had “delayed” in implementing measures to protect children and to hold those who have abused them to account.
The letter was issued following the release of the grand jury report which revealed that at least 1000 children were abused by Catholics priests across six dioceses in the state of Pennsylvania over a period of seven decades.
In a statement released today, ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said the bishops shared the Holy Father’s determination “to protect young people and vulnerable adults”.
“What Church leaders in Australia have said in the past is consistent with what the Pope has written now: ‘It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others’.
“These are important words from Pope Francis, but words are not enough. Now is the time for action on many levels.
“The Royal Commission has done much good for this country, especially in creating a safe place for survivors to be heard and believed. We again thank the survivors who have so courageously shared their stories,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
The ACBC and Catholic Religious Australia will publish their response to the Royal Commission’s final report next week.
Jump to next article