Vatican to Study Royal Commission Report

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
18 Dec 2017

The Vatican has released a statement saying that the final report from the child abuse royal commission "deserves to be studied seriously".

The 17-volume document from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse marks the end of one of the world's biggest inquiries into child abuse.

While not addressing the recommendations specifically, the press office of the Holy See did acknowledge the report in a brief statement.

"The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia is the result of the commission's thorough efforts over the past several years, and deserves to be studied seriously," the Holy See said on the website.

"The Holy See remains committed to being close to the Catholic Church in Australia - lay faithful, religious, and clergy alike - as they listen to and accompany victims and survivors in an effort to bring about healing and justice."

The Vatican statement said Pope Francis had made clear that "the Church is called to be a place of compassion, especially for those who have suffered, and reaffirmed that the Church is committed to safe environments for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults".

In a statement on the ACBC Media Blog, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart reiterated his "unconditional apology for this suffering and a commitment to ensuring justice for those affected".

"This is a shameful past, in which a prevailing culture of secrecy and self-protection led to unnecessary suffering for many victims and their families," Archbishop Hart said.

Sr Ruth Durick OSU, president of Catholic Religious Australia, said religious orders across Australia are committed to continuing the work of recent years to ensure a future in which the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults is paramount.

"We will be taking very seriously the royal commission's report and have commissioned an initial assessment of its findings by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council. We expect the TJHC assessment to be completed early in 2018."

Both leaders said the Church will continue to push for the introduction of a national redress scheme for the survivors of child sexual abuse in which the Church will participate.