Living Catholic e-News February 2017

Sorrow for victims as abuse statistics revealed


As the 50th case study of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse unfolds, Adelaide’s Vicar General Father Philip Marshall has apologised to all those who suffered directly or indirectly as a result of abuse within the Church.
“There are no words sufficient to express our sorrow for the suffering those children experienced within our Church,” he said in a letter to parishioners.
“To the extent that I can, I offer my apology on behalf of the Catholic Church to all those who suffered directly or indirectly as a result of abuse within the Church. As Pope Francis said recently, ‘it is a sin that shames us’. 
“I promise we will leave no stone unturned in our effort to make our Church in Adelaide safe for children, and to ensure that they will never be at risk of abuse in the future.”
Fr Philip pledged the commitment of the Archdiocese to the Pope’s call for ‘Zero Tolerance on Child Sexual Abuse’. 
Described as “the Catholic wrap-up”, the latest case study of the Royal Commission is inquiring into factors within the Church which contributed to the abuse crisis, and the response to it.
At the start of the hearing Senior Counsel Assisting the Commission, Gail Furness, gave a summary of key results of the Royal Commission's data survey on abuse claims in Catholic Church institutions.
Of priests from 75 Catholic Church authorities surveyed, 7 per cent were alleged perpetrators.
Ms Furness said the Archdiocese of Adelaide and the Dominican Friars had the lowest overall proportion of priests who were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and 2010 (2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively). For several male religious orders, the percentage was as high as 20 per cent and in one case 40.4 per cent.
In a statement to the Commission, Francis Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which assisted the Royal Commission in obtaining the data, said the numbers were shocking.
"They are tragic and they are indefensible. Each entry in this data ... represents a child who suffered at the hands of someone who should have cared for and protected them. As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame,” he said.

Link to royal commission website, TJHC website and Vicar General Father Philip Marshall's letter

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