TJHC meets with Bendigo Catholics

Francis Sullivan/ABC

Acknowledging community pain and anger, Truth, Justice and Healing Council CEO Francis Sullivan has said that people were "fronting up and telling the truth" at the The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, ABC News reports.

Mr Sullivan was answering questions about the Church's history of child sexual abuse at a Spirituality in the Pub event in Bendigo, Victoria.

"This issue and the Church's history is very confronting and shameful, and Catholics carry that shame whether they're practicing or grew up Catholic," he said.

He said there were many people in the room who found it personally upsetting.

"Unfortunately for most people they live these silent desperate lives, most people don't tell anyone," he said.

"There's so much anger and rage, and it goes deep."

Following the recommendation of the Royal Commission, Mr Sullivan said would like to see Catholics take responsibility for the Church.

"This isn't up to a bishop, this is up to the Catholic community saying we don't want our Church behaving this way we want people to feel included," he said.

He said most people that had been abused usually asked for two things: To be believed and the need to belong in the community, not the Church.

"Like everybody else, not walking around with some label on their head," he said.

"The days of the Catholic Church investigating itself are over," Mr Sullivan said.

"No-one trusts the Catholic Church to look at itself and sort these things out and I think that's fair enough."

He said an independent scheme for redress and investigation was needed to make sure that standards were kept by institutions including the Church.

Mr Sullivan said governments needed to "back that in."

"Really, as a community we've got to force our political leaders into some action out of the recommendations that come from this Royal Commission," he said.

He said the church would co-operate completely and fully with the recommendations of the Royal Commission and that ultimately, at its heart, the Church wanted to see the "good and the truth".

Mr Sullivan said following the Royal Commission's recommendations the next question to understand was why child sexual abuse occurred across so many institutions, including the Church.


Emotional responses as Catholic Church representative faces community meeting over Royal Commission (ABC News)

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