About 500 priests and male religious are registered on a new national database which lets bishops and leaders of religious congregations check the background of clerics and brothers visiting or moving to their region.
The Australian Catholic Ministry Register (ACMR) will, for the first time, provide-up-to-date online information on whether a priest or male religious has a working-with-children check and has been "licensed" to work in a diocese or congregations.
Fr Tim Brennan msc, an executive officer of the National Professional Standards Office, said the new data base is a huge leap forward in ensuring the many priests and religious who move around the country for many different reasons don’t have a black mark against their name.
“This new register is an internal tool Church leaders can use to better understand the history of clerics and religious entering their diocese. The objective of the ACMR is to implement a secure and auditable web-based system that records the clearance status of priests and male religious.
“It will allow Church authorities to check the references of priests and male religious who are visiting or transferring interstate or from another diocese,” Fr Brennan said.
Francis Sullivan (pictured), CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, said the ACMR reflects a new approach to ensuring priests and brothers are accountable for their past behaviours and history. “As this register grows it will become increasingly difficult for a priest or a brother to try and hide past problems by simply moving to another part of the country,” he said.
RELEASE IN FULL