Several hundred children were taken to Garden Point, on Melville Island, to the north of Darwin. While there, they were wards of the Australian Government and cared for by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, overseen by the Bishop of Darwin.
“I feel strongly that these children should not have been stolen from their parents in the first place,” Bishop Gauci said at the apology ceremony yesterday.
“Those children should have been safe in the care of the Church. Sadly, some of these children were then further abused by some of the very people who were supposed to be looking after them.
“I find this distressing and I am profoundly sad at the hurt done to those children.
“While I can’t undo the wrongs of the past, I pray for ongoing healing and remain available to provide loving pastoral care to the survivors.”
Bishop Gauci said said the Church was contacted on December 9 2019 by lawyers acting for 42 former residents of the Mission. The Diocese acted immediately to reach a formal settlement.
Bishop Gauci’s predecessor, Bishop Eugene Hurley, was unaware of the claims. A mediation process concluded in Darwin in June, when the Bishop apologised in a public statement to dozens of Garden Point claimants.
“Over the past few years, the Catholic Church across Australia and in the Northern Territory has tightened measures to improve its professional standards,” Bishop Gauci said.
“It is my strong belief and practice that any claim of abuse should be properly investigated,” he saidJump to next article