Bishop Bird said priests, religious leaders and parishioners in the Ballarat Diocese had welcomed the inquiry and a forthcoming national royal commission as a chance for healing for the church and victims of abuse.
He said the church had changed its practices in dealing with “the tragedy of child sexual abuse”.
“It has been welcomed by many who want an independent look at what has happened, and as an exercise which will bring to light some important lessons,” he said.
“I believe the Catholic Church has for last 20 years or so put in place good and respectful procedures to deal with these kinds of issues, and while considering safety for children in our care, the inquiry can look at this history and draw good lessons.”
Ordained as Ballarat’s bishop in October, Bishop Bird said no priest or member of a religious order who had been found guilty of child abuse or was considered a risk to children was currently involved in ministry in the diocese.
Church keeping community informed about Inquiry
The Church is keeping the community informed about the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child abuse through its website, www.facingthetruth.org.au. Readers can subscribe to receive updates including Fact Sheets and FAQs.
The Catholic Church in Victoria supports those brave victims who come forward to speak at the Inquiry, and also supports and respects the privacy of those who choose not to report their complaint to the police. The Church hopes the Inquiry will encourage other victims to come forward.
FULL STORY Sex abuse hearing comes to Ballarat (Courier)
Bishop pledges to do all he can to help children (Warrnambool Standard)