Expert panel to conduct Church governance review

The panel will present its final report to the ACBC and CRA in early 2020 (Bigstock)

A panel of experts has been convened to conduct a national review of the governance and management structures of Catholic dioceses and parishes. Source: ACBC and CRA.

This will include issues of transparency, accountability, consultation and lay participation.

The review was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse after the commission concluded that the governance and management of some dioceses and parishes contributed to the child sexual abuse crisis.

Among other organisations, the review will consider the approaches to governance of Catholic health, community services and education agencies – as suggested by the Royal Commission.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the review of governance will examine how Church structures – some of which were devised centuries ago – can be improved.

“We cannot ignore the wisdom that the Church has handed down through the years, but we must also be mindful that some of our practices fail to acknowledge and draw upon the best practice of other large, contemporary organisations,” he said.

Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ, president of Catholic Religious Australia, added: “The Royal Commission uncovered some practices that could have exacerbated the abuse of children and hampered the response to that tragic reality.

“The establishment of this panel is another step in our serious response to the Royal Commission and will help establish a way forward for the Church into the future.”

The members of the panel are: Pauline Connelly (Adelaide Archdiocese); Rev Dr Brendan Daly (Good Shepherd College, Auckland, New Zealand); Jack de Groot (St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, Implementation Advisory Group); Sr Professor Isabell Naumann ISSM (Catholic Institute of Sydney); Justice Neville Owen (Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors); Adjunct Professor Susan Pascoe (Australian Council for International Development); Professor John Warhurst (Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn).

The panel produced a progress report for the presidents of ACBC and CRA today and will produce an interim report by the end of October. A final report should be provided to CRA and the ACBC in the first half of 2020.

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Respected leaders named to conduct Church governance review (ACBC and CRA)

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