Priests 'most credible links' into the Catholic community

Francis Sullivan

In an address to priests in Sydney, the CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, has called for 'surgery on Church culture.'

Mr  Sullivan has told more than 25 priests responsible for the pastoral care and support of clergy that local parish priests are the most sustainable and credible links into the Catholic community.

Speaking at the National Conference of Directors of Clergy Life and Ministry at the Mary MacKillop centre in North Sydney, Mr Sullivan said priests and clergy need to help parishioners understand what the Church has done and is doing to protect children.

'It is incumbent on the clergy to tell the whole truth about the history and impact of clerical sexual abuse on survivors and on the Church,' Mr Sullivan said.

'It is the parish priests who still have the credibility and the respect of parishioners. You are believed when you talk about what the Church is doing and how we are responding to the Commission.

'Like the continuing strong link the Church has through our schools and in our health and welfare services into the broader community, the link parish priest have directly with parishioners is still strong.

'We need to build on this by being open and transparent, by not sugar-coating the damage and harm that has been done and by continuing to push the Church leadership to instigate the reforms that are absolutely necessary.'

Mr Sullivan said local priests must help the Church 'work through the inertia' and help do 'the surgery on Church culture' so that the Church can face up to the crisis and come through the Commission stronger and more credible.

Meanwhile, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shifted its focus to Swimming Australia, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The former high-profile head of the Australian women's swimming team, Scott Volkers was allegedly allowed to continue working closely with young swimmers as late as 2010, despite multiple allegations of sexual abuse and a tribunal finding that he posed 'an unacceptable risk to children.'

The Commission is examining the decision to drop all charges against Mr Volkers, and the response of various swimming bodies, including Swimming Australia, to the allegations against him and others.

FULL COVERAGE

Truth Justice and Healing Council briefs Clergy Life and Ministry on Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse (TJHC Media Release)

Volkers allowed to work with swimmers despite sex abuse claims: royal commission (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Image: ACBC Mediablog

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