Aussie Archbishop takes survivors stories to Pope's summit on sex abuse
Royal Commission learnings to be shared at the Vatican
One of Australia’s key Catholic leaders will provide Pope Francis’s global summit on preventing clergy sex abuse with lessons learned from the royal commission and survivors’ stories.
“I will go to Rome armed with our understanding gained from decades working to eliminate child sexual abuse and the toxic cultures that allowed it to happen.” – Archbishop Mark Coleridge
“The meeting in February will be no quick fix, but it is a step in the right direction and may be able to suggest to Pope Francis further steps to be taken,” said Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge about the meeting of Catholic bishops (which the Pope announced this week).
“I will go to Rome armed with our understanding gained from decades working to eliminate child sexual abuse and the toxic cultures that allowed it to happen,” confirmed Coleridge, who also is president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the nation’s peak Catholic council.
“I will also go with the stories of survivors in my heart and the many things we have learnt from the Royal Commission [into the institutional response to Child Sexual Abuse].”
The announcement of the global summit to prevent clergy sex abuse and protect children comes as the Vatican responds to another sex abuse scandal. A former Vatican ambassador to the US has claimed Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI, knew years ago about sexual misconduct allegations against a US cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, who resigned last month.
While Coleridge noted how “unusual” the February summit is, he welcomed the opportunity “to discuss the Church’s ongoing efforts to address the immense harm caused by sexual abuse … [It is] appropriate and justified as the Church internationally must stand united to eliminate this evil from our midst.”
“As the Australian bishops and leaders of Catholic religious orders said last month, so must the universal Church say as one: Never again.”