Report harrowing and humiliating: Fisher

Archbishop Anthony Fisher

Ashamed. Humiliated. A kick in the guts. They're some of the words Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP used to describe his reaction to the extent of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Archbishop Fisher admitted that he and other clergy felt ­contaminated, betrayed and demoralised by the paedophiles in the Church.

He understood why Australians felt so angry.

"We knew (the report) would be bad, but it's humiliating, it's harrowing," he Fisher said.

"It really has hurt me and it has hurt a lot of priests and bishops, but that's tiny compared with how it's hurt the survivors."

Commission staff were still crunching numbers last Saturday, and senior bishops were not told the final figures until late on Sunday night ahead of their Monday release.

"I felt – probably this will be pretty universal among the bishops and the clergy – quite winded," ­Archbishop Fisher said of the ­moment he saw the figures.

He has since spoken to many ­clergy and they are "feeling ­betrayed, demoralised by it", he says.

Community reactions have ranged from defensiveness among some Catholics, to such disillusionment towards the Church from nonbelievers that, for some, the word priest has become synonymous with paedophile.

Archbishop Fisher said that, in a sense, they are both right.

"This is so awful that you lose perspective on everything else. On the really good things, the schools for poor kids, the orphanages, the hospitals where there were none, the ­wonderful things the church – and not just the Catholic Church – did in building the social infrastructure of Australia," he said.

FULL STORY

Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals: Sydney Archbishop tells of legacy of shame and disgust (Daily Telegraph)

RELATED ARTICLES

Vatican under pressure to speed up abuse investigations: Royal Commission (Illawarra Mercury)

Catholic education system under a cloud after child sex abuse commission findings (The Age)

Catholic Church bans disgraced Adelaide priest, father John Fleming, after High Court verdict upholds guilty ruling on child abuse (Adelaide Now)

SUMMARY

THJC Update 130 Royal Commission Case Study 50

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