Archbishop Denis Hart leaves St Patrick's Cathedral after celebrating Mass yesterday
The Catholic Church in Melbourne has responded to one of the most tumultuous weeks in its history by urging parishioners to maintain the faith, reports The Brimbank Weekly.
Sunday's services, the first since Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a royal commission on child sexual abuse in the church and other institutions, avoided direct references to the upheaval facing the church.
But gospel readings and sermons drew attention to the impending day of judgment, reminding churchgoers of the strength that can be found in faith during testing times.
Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart addressed a congregation of about 200 people at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne.
He carefully steered clear of courting the kind of controversy that has dogged Cardinal George Pell throughout the past week after the head of the Catholic Church in Australia blamed a smear campaign against the church for public pressure that led to the royal commission.
In a sombre service, the archbishop noted it was a time for believers to ''examine our personal relationship with Jesus Christ''.
Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that 95 per cent of voters backs Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to establish a royal commission into the sexual abuse of children.
The latest Herald/Nielsen poll shows a record 95 per cent of voters support the royal commission, while only 3 per cent are opposed. The Nielsen poll director, John Stirton, said he could not recall a poll issue receiving such universal support.
The royal commission, which will inquire into all institutions, not only churches, has the support of all political parties, state and federal, but some senior members of the federal Coalition are saying privately that the government announced it to try to wedge the Coalition because Mr Abbott is a staunch Catholic.
Catholics urged to keep the faith (Brimbank Weekly)
Record of 95% support for PM's Royal Commission decision (SMH)
Inquiry may include indigenous mistreatment (Australian)