Archbishop Mark Coleridge
The Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Mark Coleridge, said an institutional pride within the Church has prevented many from speaking out against abuse, and called for everything possible to be done to stop sexual abuse.
He has told Radio National that although the level of abuse in the Church is small, every incident is appalling, ABC reports.
"No-one now can deny the scale of the problem and the urgent task," he said.
"In the case of clerical abuse of the young, we are dealing with crime. And the Church has struggled to find the point of convergence between sin and forgiveness on the one hand, and crime and punishment on the other.
"True sin must be forgiven, but so, too, must crime be punished.
"What's clear is there will be no quick fix to this problem, the roots of which go deep and wide, we're in for the long haul.
"On that journey, there's a need for cool heads and compassionate hearts, always with our eye fixed primarily on the victims we haven't seen and the voices we haven't heard."
Archbishop says scale of sex abuse can't be denied (ABC)
The Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia