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John 13:34

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ballarat hearing, Cardinal Pell from Rome, survivors tell their stories and more

Welcome to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council eNewsletter

March 2016
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RC finishes hearing evidence from Cardinal Pell in Rome

The Royal Commission heard evidence from Cardinal Pell for four days via video link from Rome from Monday to Thursday this week. The conclusion of the Cardinal's evidence marked the end of Case Study 35 about the Melbourne Archdiocese. Case Study 28 on the Ballarat Diocese will continue with further evidence from retired Ronald Mulkearns at a date to be determined. 

The community and media interest in the Cardinal's evidence has been extensive with coverage of the hearing both here and internationally highlighting the failure of senior church officials in dealing with wide ranging and extensive child sexual abuse crimes.

Read a selection of coverage of the hearings
Read TJHC updates of hearing
Go to the Commission's Ballarat hearing page
Go to Commission's Melbourne hearing page

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Survivors' meetings in Rome

Last night after Cardinal Pell finished giving evidence tot he Royal Commission he met Ballarat survivors, support people and officials. In a statement after the meeting he said it hard been 'an honest and occasionally emotional meeting' and that he is 'committed to working with' the survivors. 

'I know many of their families and I know of the goodness of so
many people in Catholic Ballarat; a goodness which is not extinguished by the evil that was done,' he said.

Survivors will also meet with representatives from the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors, established by the Pope in 2014. It is understood survivors have sought a meeting with Pope Francis, but it is unclear yet whether or not that will be possible.

Statement: Cardinal Pell meeting Ballarat survivors
3 March 2016

ABC AM - George Pell pledges to help victims of clerical abuse in Ballarat
4 March 2016

Royal Commission focus on Ballarat continues on RN Breakfast
Interview with solicitor Viv Waller and survivor Rob Walsh
Radio National Breakfast - 3 March 2016

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Frankly speaking...

This week has been a dreadful time for the Catholic Church in Australia.

The Royal Commission finished hearing evidence into the Melbourne Archdiocese and all but finished with the Ballarat Dioceses including the Christian Brothers. The hearings culminated with a marathon four-day evidence session from Cardinal Pell via videolink from Rome. By any measure it was a gruelling experience for all.

The interest, commentary and temperature around this past four days has never been greater – both here and internationally.

So what has driven this?

Latest from the Council

Statement: Bishop Bill Wright Maitland Newcastle

The Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Bill Wright says Cardinal George Pell's evidence to the Royal Commission completes a 'disturbing picture' of how the church dealt with child sexual abuse.

Bishop Wright issued a statement in the wake of Cardinal Pell's evidence this week in Rome to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

'This week Cardinal Pell has provided evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from Rome.

'This evidence has helped to complete the disturbing picture of how badly the church performed when dealing with reports of child sexual abuse at the time'.

Statement from Bishop Wright
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Catholic school sex abuse: Finding the courage to confront the past

Currant principals at Ballarat schools caught up in the horrific Catholic sex abuse scandals are taking positive steps to prevent it happening again.

Catholic school sex abuse scandal: Finding the courage to confront the past
The Age February 20, 2016

Spotlight on dark past
The Courier February 18, 2016


Psychiatrist sheds light on offending treatment and behaviours

The third part of the Ballarat hearing in Ballarat last week heard from expert witness, Dr Peter Evans, consultant psychiatrist and former Franciscan priest. 

Dr Evans gave the Commision his expert evidence on issues such as celibacy, the nature of paedophilia and the psychology of Gerald Ridsdale.

Read Dr Evans transcript here
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Loud Fence in parishes

Loud Fence was born from the personal stories told to the Royal Commission by survivors of child sexual abuse. It is a direct response from communities around Australia to the suffering these children endured and a need to show them they are supported.

What is Loud Fence?

Visit Loud Fence Facebook

All Saints Parish Portland

Read more
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Eucharist and Betrayal

The Cathoic Standard in Hobart recently published an article by abuse survivor Peter Kaufman, dealing with the challanges Catholics face in dealing with the abuse revelations coming from the Royal Commission.

'Many people find this challenging to their faith as such behaviour flies in the face of the moral and religious claims the Church teaches,' he says.

'Many people have abandoned their connection with the Church or have modified their practice of the faith. Trust in Church leadership has been eroded and for many people belief in God has been compromised or even lost'.

This article first appeared in the Catholic Standard in Hobart on 5 July 2015.

Read article here
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