Addressing the darkness is a long-term project

Nigel Zimmerman

The royal commission is reaching the end of its work, but the work of cultural change has to include all of us, writes Nigel Zimmerman at the Catholic Weekly.

This whole experience is an invitation for the Church in Australia to step into the light, which is defined ultimately by God, shared by God, and made possible by God. The Catholic singer Matt Maher says in his song Christ is Risen:

Oh Church! Come stand in the light!

This is a strangely beautiful turn of phrase. We don't often speak like that. We think of Christ and his light of truth shining above us, or within us. We don't think of the light as something we have to step into, because that implies that we might have been in the dark. How could we be in the dark? We are Christians, baptised into the Body of Christ under the power of the Holy Spirit, who seals us in Confirmation and brings us to the Sacraments for grace and mercy. Could it be that we looked past our own shared responsibilities and allowed some darkness into our midst?

Alas, the royal commission shows us that is precisely what happened. Finding ways to address the darkness will be a long-term and sustained project, and it will require more than a hard look at clericalism. It will need lay people to step up to their responsibilities with a commitment to truth, facts, and evidence. The Catholic faith has always asked this of us, but now circumstance demands it.

The royal commission, and the many years that follow it, is a time of grace because it is a chance to tell truth and face fears, and this is what it means to step into the light. Christ is the light, and all truth can be found in him. But we have to step towards him with some trust.


Church, stand in the light: The Final phase of the Royal Commission (Catholic Weekly) 


Abuse inquiry focus on Catholic schools (9 News)

Royal commission: Brisbane schools 'failed to act' on Kevin Lynch sexual abuse allegations (ABC News)

Child sex abuse royal commission: Lawyers reveal trauma of representing survivors (ABC News)

Brisbane Grammar and St Paul's failed to investigate abuse allegations, inquiry finds (The Guardian)

Former Marist College Canberra headmaster charged with perverting justice (Canberra Times)


THJC Update 133 Royal Commission Case Study 50

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