Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli says the final document from the Synod of Bishops on youth left out a firm apology for the abuse crisis because not all areas of the world understand the severity of the issue. Source: Crux.
“Certain parts of the Church in the world are [just] coming to understand what it means to take a position of zero tolerance, and the Synod is a reflection of the Church throughout the world,” Archbishop Comensoli told Crux.
“It’s not just Australia, it’s not just the United States, it’s not just Germany, or Chile or where the manifestations of abuse have been most intensely felt,” so the final document had to take this into consideration, he said.
For Archbishop Comensoli, a universal understanding of just how widespread sexual abuse is in the Church and the scarring effect that it has on victims is still a work in progress.
“Particularly for me in my context, zero tolerance is an absolute, and I’ll certainly go back to my own people to talk about this and say that no matter what has been said in terms of the final document, how we operate in the Archdiocese of Melbourne is that any form of abuse – from its very early stages in grooming [victims] through the horrors of physical activity – is not to be tolerated at all.”
On the drafting process of the final document, Archbishop Comensoli also debunked rumours that a text had already been “floating around” before the committee even began its work.
“I can absolutely confirm that that was not the case,” he said, adding that in his view, those responsible for summarising the discussion in texts that were presented to the drafting commission “were genuinely taking into consideration what was being said on the floor of the Synod and in terms of the small groups that were putting forward propositions.”
“These were ways in which we wanted to give expression to what was important. So, it wasn’t just amending a former document, it was what does this Synod want to say,” he said, and pointed to how at the beginning of the gathering, Francis said the Instrumentum Laboris, the original working document for the Synod, had “to be martyred.”