Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou
On Monday 15 March the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care commenced Phase 2 of its Faith-based Hearings which will run until 29 March 2021. This phase of the Hearings will hear evidence from the Salvation Army, the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church, and will focus on the processes for resolving historic and current abuse claims.
Evidence from the Catholic Church representatives will begin on 22 March, with an opening address from me, followed by evidence from Dr Thomas Doyle, canon lawyer (USA). Br Peter Horide (Marist Brothers), Fr Tim Duckworth (Society of Mary) and Virginia Noonan (National Office of Professional Standards) who will present their evidence on 23 and 24 March. On Friday 25 March, I will speak on the diocesan approach to redress, the Catholic Church’s national approach to redress, and developments in redress from the Vatican. These Hearings are livestreamed, and the timetable may be found on the Royal Commission website.
I ask for your prayers at this difficult time; not just for those of us giving evidence, but for the survivors of abuse and our Catholic Church community as a whole. Be mindful of each other and those who may be suffering. As Pope Francis said, “How beautiful it is when people select their words and actions with care, in the effort to avoid misunderstandings, to heal wounded memories and to build peace and harmony.” Let our words and deeds communicate our care for one another.
“Almighty God and Father, you love all people and have sent your Son to heal those who are wounded. In the midst of our world, your Church is called to proclaim your love and kindness. But countless children, youth and adults have become victims of crimes in your Church. Many have fallen silent and could not call for help. Others have spoken, but no one has believed them, or they have been called liars and silenced. This is what we ask of you, the Father of the poor and the friend of life. Open our ears to the message of those who have been violated and hurt in the midst of your Church. Touch our hearts with the pain of those who have been mistreated and abused. Let us recognise the wounds of the people and show us how we must act so that the truth is not suppressed and justice is given to the injured. Do not let our failures cause people to lose faith in you and your gospel.”
Meeting—Protection of Minors in the Church Vatican 21-24 February 2019