Retired Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone has conceded that the church had a culture of hiding abuse rather than being transparent, ABC News reports.
The NSW inquiry into matters relating to the Police investigation of certain child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle went into private hearings on Friday with the former Maitland-Newcastle bishop Michael Malone still giving evidence.
The Commission is investigating Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox's claims that the diocese protected two priests.
Bishop Malone told the public hearings that after a 2004 inquiry by the state's Ombudsman he had 'an epiphany' regarding his inadequate handling of abuse allegations and he was keen to become 'transparent'.
Counsel assisting the Commission Julia Lonergan asked the former bishop if he 'found that difficult because of church culture and its closeted environment'.
He replied 'I did, because that was still alive and well in many sections of the church'.
In other evidence, Bishop Malone told the inquiry he defied edicts from Rome which required clergy to destroy documents associated with priestly paedophilia, the Newcastle Herald reports.
Bishop defied Rome: Inquiry (Newcastle Herald)
Paedophile priest was mongrel to us: Victims (Newcastle Herald)