Archbishop 's Message to the People of the Archdiocese Following the Royal Commission Ballarat Hearings

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
22 May 2015

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP has written to all those in the Archdiocese following the confronting and disturbing Royal Commission hearings in Ballarat this week.

Witnesses told of their traumatic cases of child sexual abuse and the awful damage inflicted on themselves by some priests and religious. They spoke of the consequential damage also to family and friends and of those who have taken their lives.

The Archbishop's letter is to parishioners, priests, staff, volunteers. While recognising the terrible crimes that have been committed Archbishop Anthony says he is determined to move forward with no cover-ups, no excuses and no evasion of responsibility and although more humiliation and purification is ahead he prays the Church will emerge a humbler and more compassionate Church.

In the letter the Archbishop also says; "We now ensure that all victims of abuse at the hands of a Sydney priest or Church worker have someone who will listen to their concerns and help them to obtain support, including financial assistance.

"We try to help victims wherever possible to resolve these matters without litigation, so that they are not put through a gruelling court process.

"Where they wish to seek legal redress, we assist them in identifying the correct person or body to sue and we ensure that sufficient funds are available for compensation or settlement.

"We have also joined survivor's groups and the Royal Commission in calling for a third option: an independent, national redress scheme, for which the Church would of course pay its share but which would allow independent investigation and assessment of needs."

The Archbishop has asked for everyone to remember the victims and their families in their prayers at this most difficult time.

Here is Archbishop Anthony's full letter: