After the untarnished delivery of the statistics of child abuse within the Catholic Church at the Royal Commission this past week, it is difficult to know what to say. Perhaps an sombre unnerved disquiet is the most appropriate response. The statistics covered the period between 1950 and 2010. There has been sufficient coverage of the raw data without needing to go over it again; it is important to remember that every statistic represents a human life irrevocably changed. In response to the data, Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Commission which liaises between the Catholic Church and the Royal Commission, addressed the Hearing:
It is a history that must be told and reckoned with. These numbers are shocking, they are tragic and they are indefensible. And each entry in this data, for the most part represents a child who suffered at the hands of someone who should have cared for and protected them. And let’s not forget the ripples of the abuse also felt by their family, friends and carers. These secondary victims need not only to be acknowledged but to be tangibly supported and compensated for the impact on their lives.
Notwithstanding the fact that the average period of time to report abuse is more than thirty years, the figures do show a substantial drop off of reported cases in recent decades. Being involved in Catholic Education, I absolutely believe that our schools are as safe as any educational environment. Being involved in seminary formation, I know that substantive efforts have been made to improve the quality and depth of human development in our future priests. Being involved in parish communities, I know that a number of protocols and processes have been established which serve to raise our awareness of our common responsibilities in regard to child protection. This searing experience of the Royal Commission is important because facing our difficult and troubling history is the first step in walking towards a safer and more faithful future.
|Mar 29, 2017||6 Sunday in Ordinary Time 12.02.2017||Listen||Download|