Expectations mount for papal apology over Australian clergy abuse

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Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone and retired Sydney Bishop Geoff Robinson have backed a call for Pope Benedict to make an apology during his WYD trip to Australia for abuse by clergy.

THE Sydney bishop who helped write the Catholic Church's sex abuse policy in Australia has added his support for calls for Pope Benedict XVI to make a public apology to the Australian victims of sex abuse.

But Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, himself a victim of abuse, said it was more important that the world leader of one billion Catholics act on his promise, made first in the United States, to investigate the causes of abuse.

"I hope the Australian bishops will quietly ask the Pope to say something on the issue of abuse when he comes to Sydney," Bishop Robinson said.

"It would be wrong to ask if this issue were to push World Youth Day to the sidelines; nevertheless there would be many opportunities and I certainly hope he raises the issue. It was young people who were abused so it's not irrelevant to World Youth Day. From what I hear the things the Pope said in the United States and especially his meeting with victims did help," Bishop Robinson told the Herald.

The Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Michael Malone, was reported to have raised in private the desire for an apology with his fellow Australian bishops.

Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Michael Malone gave his backing for a papal apology and said the Pope had set a precedent to apologising to victims on a recent trip to the US.

News.com.au reports reports that Church sources say there is a mounting expectation that Pope Benedict will use his trip during World Youth Day in July to express his shame and regret over the church's long-running scandal.

He may also meet some of the victims.

One Catholic source said: "It's hard to believe that after making the sort of apology he did in America a few weeks ago that he would leave Australia without doing the same thing."

SOURCE

Pressure grows for Pope to apologise to abuse victims (Sydney Morning Herald, 8/5/08)

Pope to make abuse apology in Sydney (The Age, 8/5/08)

Bishop supports paedophile priest apology (ABC News, 7/5/08)

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