The more I reflect on where we are on this Royal Commission journey the more I realise what a trap living in the past can be. Let's face it, the scandal of child sex abuse in institutions has been a revelation to the community, a shock for many and a massive wake-up call for most of us. The Catholic Church has been a major contributor to institutional child sexual abuse, but the fact that it has occurred across so many other church organisations, private and voluntary bodies and extensively within government- run and sponsored services has been an eye opener.
Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council joined around 80 people from the Sunbury community in Melbourne's north west this week in conversation about the issue of child sex abuse and particularly the Church's response to victims. Hosted by the Salesians, the quarterly twilight event aims to tackle difficult questions and is open to the broader community around the Rupertswood school, which was the epicentre of the crimes committed by some in the order. Mr Sullivan said while the community has already put in place processes and gathering places centred on healing, there's a heaviness about the history of the place, and that forums such as this are helpful.
Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council was among Church leaders who met in Canberra this week to talk about redress for survivors of institutional child sex abuse. Discussion focused on the urgent need for a nationally consistent scheme and possible mechanisms for how that might happen. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Sullivan said the Federal Government's distance on this issue is concerning.
Pictured: Francis Sullivan (L) and Stuart McMillan, President Uniting Church in Australia
A black line has been put through the name of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale on the board of ordained collegians at St Patrick's College in Ballarat to acknowledge the victims of abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy.
The headmaster of the Catholic boys' secondary school, John Crowley, told 774 ABC Melbourne this week, it just felt right to cover Ridsdale's name out of respect for victims and survivors.
"Over the last 16 months, I've been part of a journey of working with these men to establish trusting relationships, around conversations, around curriculum, and education around protecting young people, and also reconnecting them with the school," he said.