The bishop-elect of Ballarat, Paul Bird, (left) with the retiring bishop, Peter Connors
The Catholic Bishop of the Ballarat diocese for the past 15 years, Bishop Peter Connors, has retired a year early due in part to the ongoing controversy over abuse by some members of the Catholic clergy, reports the ABC.
"I had some health problems and I had dealt with a lot issues concerning sexual assault cases."
Bishop Connors has met with 30 to 40 victims over the last 15 years. "You notice what a horrible affect the abuse has had on the victim and then you come to realise that the victim has a partner who is confused or upset and also the victim's parents who must have wondered for years what's been happening to their son or daughter."
Bishop Connors has learnt the art of listening to victims and knows how hurt they are. "To go through that year after year has not been easy."
Bishop Connors offered his resignation to the Pope with the process to appoint a new Bishop taking 18 months but he's delighted with Pope Benedict XV1 choice of Father Paul Bird CSSR as the eighth Bishop of Ballarat.
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